Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Annie Dillard’

Use word-gathering to become a better writer

Writing a poem or a paragraph is like solving a puzzle. I seek the perfect word not just for its meaning but also for sound and rhythm. In the process, I stumble upon other words that draw my attention and, before I know it, I’m off on an adventure. Words are like gems, sparkly and seductive in their power.

Priscilla Long, in her book, The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life, says she knows writers who have worked hard for years that do “pretty good work” but have never made the transition to great writing. The reason? Often, these writers—though hard workers—approach language passively. They only use words they grew up with or use in everyday language. Long doesn’t mean that we should suddenly spout elongated Latinate words but that we should become word gatherers, seeking out words that call to us with their sound, texture, rhythm, or meaning. Read more