I have these awful words that plague me. I call them crutch words.
‘Crutches’ are pesky words that appear when I am in the zone writing a first draft.
They creep like monsters at midnight into my work…over and over and over again. They are an annoyance, an irritation, a PLAGUE on my prose!
The most frustrating thing about crutches is that they are ‘go to’ words. By that, I mean, I don’t even realise I am using them, they are salient in my mind so throw themselves at my metaphorical stage like school girls at a Take That concert. UGH.
So how do you fix them?
Until recently I spent hours trawling through my work to ensure there aren’t dozens of repetitions littered through my text.
I’ll be brave and confess my crutch words. Although, I have to say, they do change depending on what I am writing. But a recent piece included things like: Look, eyes, so and deep.
Do you have crutch words? Do you know what they are? If so, what are they? Tell me in the comments below.
Sadly, I have only recently discovered this crutch related mishap. I realised when I was using a nifty little tool called wordle.
You paste any text you like into Wordle and it counts all the times you repeat particular words. It then creates a visual image depicting all of the most repeated words.
In the picture the words that are repeated most often are the most prominent. So, the larger the word, the more repetitions there were.
And in true Blue Peter style, here’s one I made earlier:
I used a character exploration exercise I did a few weeks ago for this wordle.
The benefits of this tool are fivefold:
- It highlights your repetitive crutch words and therefore repetitive description
- It highlights NEW crutch words
- It shows you your text visually – which demonstrates whether you are getting your message across – it’s a visual of your texts meaning
- They look neat, and you can mess about with the colour schemes and layouts
- Once you have done a wordle and can see all the repetitions you can go back to your word processor and use the find and delete mechanism to remove those pesky words
Here’s a wordle of this post:
Try it out, let me know what you think.