It’s hard to write a book. It’s even more difficult to write a book well−the perfect word at the right time. No filler passages. No fluff words. Only specially crafted sentences created to maximise effectiveness and get the message across.
Sometimes, it feels impossible.
Because, no matter how hard we try, bad habits start to creep into our writing. For me, this is usually in the form of crutch words. You know, those harmless words that are entirely unnecessary but start infiltrating your text. Just. Only. Well. So. Actually.
I first noticed I had a crutch word when I started seeing the word ‘just’ running rampant through my chapters. At first, it didn’t seem like a huge deal. What’s wrong with a couple ‘justs’ in a chapter? What harm could it possibly do? Out of curiosity, I searched the word ‘just’ in the manuscript. Over a thousand hits.
In other words, a problem.
This happened about a year ago, and since that moment, I ruthlessly removed ‘just’ from my vocabulary. I went as far as refusing to write it in emails, texts and messages. I went cold turkey. And it worked. For the most part, my writing is now just-free.
Unfortunately, a couple months ago, I found a new crutch word: So.
I’m not sure when I started using it, but suddenly it was popping up all over the place. The start of dialogue, randomly in the description of actions. Everywhere. So, I have been trying to scrub it from my lexicon…it’s a work in progress.
The key thing is, I’m aware of it now. And, I can keep an eye out for it.
Identifying your personal crutch words is an important step. Because, once you know about it, you can fix it.