writers / writing

#IWSG May–The Power of Language

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity – What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Honestly, it took me a long while. For years (and years), writing was quite simply about following rules. I didn’t realize that you avoided adverbs and used an active voice to give the story power. I think that first came to me when I started teaching. Being knowledgeable wasn’t enough. I had to be an entertainer. Kids would only learn if they wanted to. The way I presented the lessons was as important as the content.

Then, it clicked. That was true in my writing also. All those rules made the story interesting.

Once that cornerstone chunked into place, I moved on to voice. That’s a whole different discussion.

More IWSG articles:

A Wish

My Book Launch!

Am I creative?

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Fall 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

74 thoughts on “#IWSG May–The Power of Language

  1. Pingback: #IWSG July–Personal Traits in My Characters | WordDreams...

  2. Teaching is definitely a way to become an expert. The more you go over something more embedded in your mind it becomes. Thanks for visiting my blog and your comments about GOG so appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually agree with that. I’m a lifelong learner so I really enjoy the process of learning but most people around me are more content with their world. Both are fine don’t you think?


  3. I agree that teaching helped teach me about writing too. I also saw how difficult it is for many people to put voice in their writing. My principal at one time thought 5th graders should have already mastered voice and we had quite a disagreement about what an advanced skill it is. He obviously wasn’t a writer. 😉 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Teachers do have to engage their students, and words are such a big part of doing that. I guess that’s why I studied Linguistics. It was so fascinating to learn about languages and cultures and consider how they were similar and distinct from each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “The way I presented the lessons was as important as the content.” I like that! That sparked my attention for the writing presentations that I do. How we present something is important, even for adults. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I struggled with the words when I was too young to edit a college magazine but that was a good learning experience. Then I had to organise creative writing workshops and edit the school magazines when I was teaching. Words taught me to flow with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. An outstanding observation, Jacqui. So interesting that you learned you had to entertain as a teacher – something good teachers do every day, but it wasn’t exactly taught in ed classes – and then applied it to your writing. Otherwise a novel is just a textbook. And a classroom of students is just a rowdy bunch of kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I learned about finding your writing voice, but I never really appreciated how important it was to a story until my first publisher emailed me with a contract and said they “loved my voice.” I’ll never forget that email. It was never something I consciously examined or perfected. It’s just me. Happy IWSG day!
    JQ Rose

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That was only one of many mistakes I struggled with. I had never thought of being a writer and just started one day. Of course, my main character was a perfect middle grader who didn’t need to grow at all. Ha! Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wise words here, Jacqui. When I start a session of my Creative Writing lessons, one of the first things I tell my adult students is that my exercises are meant to help each of them find their “voice” in their writing. Once they find that, their stories will practically write themselves. (haha, we only wish). But seriously, finding a voice for each of our characters is such a joy. And yes, the rules are important, but finding ways to ‘change’ the rules is quite fun too (she says with a wink and an adverb…)

    Liked by 3 people

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