The Power of Your Words

  A lot of writers tell me that they like playing with words. Moving them around. Picking the right ones. Making sure that what they're trying to say comes across as they meant to say it.

Makes sense. Getting your message to resonate with someone else is pretty powerful. But sometimes we get so focused on the words we string together that we forget about the ones we use with ourselves. 

Have you ever taken a step back to look at the way you talk about writing? Perhaps you call it your work. Maybe you refer to it as a hobby, or something you "just do" when you have the time.

What if you could change the energy you bring to your writing by simply changing the words you use to describe it?

I recently listened to an interview with Ellen Langer, a social psychologist who studies mindfulness, and she says that the words we use shape our experiences. If we call something play, we will experience it differently than if we call it work.

In one study, she asked a group of house maids--who are on their feet and active all day--to call their jobs exercise instead of work. They didn't change the way they ate or their exercise routines, and lo and behold, they lost weight.

Imagine the implications for your writing. If it feels like a chore or something you need to avoid, could you call it play? Or if it feels daunting to produce something good, could you call it an experiment? What if, for one month, you changed the words you use to describe your writing? What kind of changes might you see? Play around with it and see what happens. And when you have time time, do check out the interview---it's filled with so much goodness, it's good for more than one listen.