Ever sit staring at the screen trying to remember that word, the one that would make the sentence perfect? It might be a verb describing the action or an adjective that sums up the thought. When building an essay I come across this all the time. Suddenly a full steam ahead writing session is stopped short because of that word you can’t quite remember. It will probably pop into your head at any second so you just hang on putting letters together in your brain on an invisible Scrabble board. You even try to google it in a sentence and see if the word triggers something–see if it drops into your brainpan.
I’ve found the best way to deal with those annoying words hiding just under the surface is to use a substitute word. Don’t worry it doesn’t have to mean the end of the search for your special word. It just means take a break from scanning and focus on something else for a while. This allows the mind to reset and focus on the whole piece of writing. By diverting into these mental cal de sacs, we get stuck going in a circle wasting time. We spend hours picking furniture before the house is built.
The substitute word option supports the larger task at hand, writing the article. The special, perfect word will come to you at some point and you can insert it later. By taking the long view and finishing up the whole piece first it allows the writer to properly align tasks and keep a type of order to the process. There is a time to write silly, passionate and even nasty things and let the creativity flow. But there is also a time to edit and cut out extra words that don’t quite fit with the material. Make sure you know which is which.
Get comfortable NOT having all the perfect words at your fingertips during the first draft phase. Instead, concentrate on getting the core message of that swirling idea down in print. Don’t worry about poor grammar and spelling; you have an idea that needs to be shared dammit! so write guilt free and clean it up later. Besides who knows how many other words you might find that fit the sentence even better.
No matter what keep writing. It gets better.