Word choice and good writing – how do you think of it?

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A recent blog post by Laura Hale Brockway on Ragan’s PR Daily website, “10 words worth collecting and how to use them” got us thinking about words and writing.

Her post focuses on 10 words that Brockway loves – words like “nonplussed,” “acquiesce,” and “indefatigable.”

One of my favorite words is cleave.  I like that it has two meanings, and the meanings are opposite of each other. You can cleave something apart or cleave something together. It also reminds me of “cleaver,” a tool a former editor used in helping me tighten my writing.

Brockway ledes her post with a quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne – “Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

As PR professionals, we take pride in knowing how to combine words to raise public awareness for our clients. They expect us to get their message out to their target audience, and words are our tools.

How do you like thinking of that act of combining? I rather like to think of writing as being similar to baking bread – the words are your ingredients and you have to measure them carefully. But there’s also an art to it. For me, that’s like the yeast. Use the right words, in an artful way, and your writing will rise. Otherwise, it falls flat.

Do you have a favorite word? Or an interesting way to think about writing? Add a comment and let us know.

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