The Effective Author: The Joy of New Words
© 2018 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved. kebba.com
Attention, all writers: words should be fun! To play with words is a writer’s delight.
Recently, I was driving along a familiar major street, thinking familiar thoughts, when my gaze was diverted by the single word: WORKUITY. It was emblazoned on the side of a new, plain grey building, with no other clues as to what went on in that building. I enjoyed puzzling over this delightful new word all the way home. It reminded me of work (of course) and acuity. It also reminded me of the joy of new words: terms that arise because we need a better way to describe something. Once out of traffic, I was able to research this lovely new word. It turns out to be flexible office space, subtitled, “Extraordinary Workspaces for Extraordinary Companies”. It is associated with a group called LiquidSpace, which also is a fun new term, so descriptive of flexible workspace locations.
The first new word I ever saw was hassle. Time Magazine used it in the mid-1960s, to a combination of readers’ delight and disdain. For those who loved this combination of haggle and tussle , the word was out! Suddenly, it was being widely used. Language always changes over time. Ever try to read a document in Old English? When hassle broke loose in English-speaking culture, many cocked their heads with pained frowns. How dare people use an unfamiliar term! But many of us loved this new word, and it is now mainstream.
Careful media watchers will note that new words evolve with some frequency. Recently, the Word Spy featured one I had not noticed—yet. The Word Spy, Paul McFedries, is a software engineer and author who clearly loves the spontaneous appearances of fresh terms for new, or newly noticed, phenomena. When he sees a word used 3 times in media, he documents how and where it was used, and he shares it with his list and on his website. This week, Word Spy shared this delight: procrastibaking, a combination of procrastination and baking. Apparently, there are many people who, faced with a deadline, proceed directly to the kitchen and start baking something. The Word Spy found procrastibaker used on Twitter (2006), procrastibaking in Spoon University (2016) and Hopeless Thunder (2017). Most recently, procrastibake showed up in none other than The New York Times. (2018).
In my own work as a writer of encouraging material, I sometimes shift words to augment their meaning. I say we are in uplift/meant. We are meant to be uplifted. I use the slash so people don’t think the spelling is a misspelling or an accident. The thrust of my work is encourage/meant. The writing is meant to encourage.
Are there new words you use privately, because they fit your thoughts more precisely? Is it time to bring those words into your writing? New words target meanings more specifically. New words surprise and create joy. And they are fuel for further creativity for The Effective Authorsm
Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, plus Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com. Kebba’s newest book is the full-color Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and Inspire, also available through her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: firstname.lastname@example.org.