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Books Social anxiety

Stuck for a Word

Being stuck for a word is something I’m used to amongst company. It has a lot to do with anxiety. Even simple words can get lost in the jumble that my mind becomes while I’m trying to ignore interruptions from my inner critic, the voice in my head – the one who says, “Shut up. They don’t want to listen to you.”

When I write, I don’t always think of the best words to express what I want to say. I expect that’s normal. This is one reason why I like to write with a pen on paper; I’m not tempted to keep leaving the writing to search for the right word. So I underline the substitute word or phrase and carry on, leaving the word search for the next stage.

While I type up my work, and also when I’m blogging or writing something online, I sometimes ponder over a word. Often I give up and start searching a thesaurus but, more often than not, exactly as I query the thesaurus, the right word comes into my head. As if the pressure of needing to think having been lifted enables me to think clearly. “Of course,” I think, wondering why I always go through this circuitous procedure. (And I did that just now starting with the word “complicated” and ending with “circuitous”.) Will it ever get easier and faster? I expect not.

I could always give up writing and go and lie in the sun. Relax in the sun? Bask in the sun? Arrrggh!

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life.

7 replies on “Stuck for a Word”

When I talk, I go over the same subject numerous times, saying the same thing but using different words. My husband says that’s because I edit myself as I speak. It works well for writing, but in conversation, not so much! I have to force myself not to edit myself out loud.

I suggest that sadly it will get worse as we become more mature. What surprises me sometimes is to come across something I wrote a while ago and be impresed by how good it sounds.
I still prefer pen and paper because I write better than I type. I have had to do at least 6 corrections in this short text that I wouldn’t have had to do if I was writing

Hi Miriam,

Thanks for this blog! I too, find myself editing as I write. Even when I’m supposed to be writing a simple stream of consciousness that will be heavily edited into something else later, I’m still constantly correcting my spelling and changing words, something that I don’t feel the need to do quite so much when using a simple pen and paper. It’s good to know that others prefer the ‘old fashioned’ way of writing too, for the same reasons!

I tried not to edit this post, but have already corrected three typos before posting! Hmmmm….

I type directly on Microsoft Word. The thesaurus is right on top, so when I have an approximate word, I check what options they give me. Sometimes I click on a choice to read that definition, and so on. I may hope four or five times to get that perfect word.

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