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Words Matter Week Wraps Up

The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors would like to thank the many people who participated in this event on social media and on the NAIWE blog!

We enjoyed reading the many responses to our daily writing challenge questions. Here is another response we greatly enjoyed, this one from Marisa Keller!

Day 1: If you had to eliminate one word or phrase from the English language, what would it be? Why?

One of the wonderful things about English is how many words it has. With its mix of Germanic and Latinate heritage, it offers multiple options for almost every concept. Here’s a small sample:

Germanic:        Romantic:

thoughtful        pensive

lucky                fortunate

answer             response

seem                appear

sight                 vision

big                   large

end                  finish

Nor is there only one option in each category—besides finish, for example, we also have the Latin-root conclude and complete.

For writers, this plethora of synonyms is good news. All these options give English an amazing creative flexibility. We can repeat a concept without having to repeat a word. We can choose a word not just for its meaning but also for its sound. And we can play with the fine distinctions between synonyms.

A writer needs to be able to choose skillfully. Digit may be synonymous with finger in some respects, but that doesn’t mean it will work to write “she caressed his cheek with her digits” in your first-kiss scene.

There’s a subtle difference between chair and seat—a king may sit on a high seat, but better not put him in a high chair. The season autumn has a more poetic, elegant feel than the season fall.

Often there’s a hierarchy to synonyms that we aren’t immediately aware of. One may be more general than the other: A house is a kind of structure, sure, but calling the place you live a structure changes the emphasis—suddenly we focus on the material of the walls and roof rather than on who lives there. Or one synonym may have a more formal or old-fashioned feel than the other: think tresses for hair. Nobody nowadays has tresses; the word lingers in our lexicon with a strong flavor of a fairytale princess in a tower.

Every word came into being because someone wanted to use it to express themselves, and the existing words just wouldn’t do. In order for writers to accurately represent the world, in order for writers to create characters that express themselves realistically, we need all those words. Every single one.


Since the point of this exercise is to choose a word to eliminate, I’ll pick really. It’s one of the biggest crutches in writing, a word we use to add emphasis without having to think (and it shows). I know I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else. But we’d all really be better off finding more original ways to emphasize our points.

Marisa D. Keller is a writer, editor, and lover of subtle differences.

Webinar: Building a Content Promotion Strategy to Promote Your Message and Sell More Books!

We wanted to get to know Brian Schwartz (NAIWE's Self-Publishing Expert) better, so last month we sat down with him. Here are some thoughts he shared with us.

What has been your most rewarding marketing avenue, and how was it rewarding? Self? Monetary? Clients?

I’ve had a client sell artwork (to the tune of over $30,000) to someone who discovered her through her books. The buyer also led her to get a deal to get artwork featured in a Broadway play. Another client is being paid to blog for a company. Many have books that led them to paid speaking gigs and workshops. For a non-fiction author, a good book can become their most effective marketing tool. For myself, I appreciate the opportunity to share what I know with people who have a shared interest.

Like Content Promotions, Managing Finances, Training in Tools of the Trade on Facebook

You can join in this conversation and develop a toolkit to amplify your marketing efforts on April 25, at 7 pm ET, when NAIWE will host a one-hour overview of getting your book found by creating content that gets clicks. The cost for NAIWE members is $10 and $30 for non-members.

To register for this webinar, please send an email along with your name and telephone number. An invoice will be sent to you for the amount owed.

May Webinar: Fine-Tuning Your Freelance Finances

In May, we will be chatting with Jake Poinier, NAIWE's Freelancing Expert, on the important topic of managing your finances.

Part of the enjoyment of freelancing is working with great clients on interesting projects—but let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun when the compensation matches our efforts. In this webinar, Jake “Dr. Freelance” Poinier will discuss the big picture of freelance finances as well as specific steps to help your business become more profitable:

  • Shifting your business mindset
  • Pricing and estimating for better results
  • Creating your safety net

Jake Poinier made the leap into freelance writing and editing in 1999 after a decade of positions in the publishing industry, giving him key insights from both sides of the desk. As the founder and owner of Boomvang Creative Group, he has worked with a diverse array of Fortune 500 and small businesses, consumer and trade magazines, and independent authors. Jake is committed to helping freelancers improve their businesses and shares his knowledge and experiences frequently as a speaker at industry conferences, through webinars, and on his blog.

The cost for NAIWE members is $10 and $30 for non-members. To register for this webinar, which will be held on May 14 at 7 pm ET, please send an email along with your name and telephone number. An invoice will be sent to you for the amount owed.

March's New & Renewing NAIWE Members

Kim Autry (Fort Wayne, IN); Deborah Bates (Pocahontas, AR); Cathy Burns (Portsmouth, NH); Norma Jeffers (Cincinnati, OH); James Johnson (Dayton, OH); Laura Long (Irvine, CA); Sigrid Macdonald (Weston, FL); Alice McVeigh (Orpington, Great Britain); Julie Nicodemus (Galena, IL); Christy Okie (Garve, Great Britain); Judith Reveal (Greensboro, MD); Christine Robbins (Spring Valley, CA); Rhonda Shore (Bethesda, MD); Kate Strassel (East Bridgewater, MA); Pamela Van Loon (Troutdale, OR); Frederic Widlak (Nowy Sacz, Poland).

Be sure to post on your NAIWE website, and we will link to it when you renew!

NAIWE Conference Trains Professionals in Tools of the Trade

Whether you are new to freelancing or are already established and looking for ways to enhance your marketing efforts, techniques to find (more and better-paying) clients, help with tools of the trade such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat, networking resources, tips on making the most of social media, or advice on buying new equipment, the 2019 Be a Better Freelancer® conference can help you on your journey to a more successful freelance business and career.

Registration is now open, and NAIWE members receive a significant discount! The non-NAIWE member price is $175 (one-day), $250 (2-day), or $400 (3-day), but the NAIWE member price is $125 (one-day), $200 (2-day), or $275 (3-day)!

So sign up for a NAIWE membership ($99) first for over $100 in conference savings!

Why Should You Join an Association?

Your membership in an association demonstrates commitment, credibility, and professionalism. NAIWE seeks to provide the place where you can come and receive a warm, personal touch that you deserve as you develop your career.

From CMOS Shop Talk

Q. I’m wondering about omitting the periods for US Department of Energy. On its site, it’s U.S. Do we follow the department’s preference or Chicago style?

A. The name of the organization is the United States Department of Energy. When you follow Chicago style to write “US Department of Energy,” you are abbreviating the fuller form of the name. The abbreviation at probably follows the GPO Style Manual, published by the US Government Publishing Office. GPO style uses periods in “U.S.” (and “U.K.” and the like), and those periods are a matter of government style. But unless you’re writing for the government, it is safe to omit them.

Member Benefit

You have the opportunity to be a featured member of the month on the NAIWE podcast and blog and in the monthly newsletter. This benefit has great PR potential, as you can post the recording of your interview on your own site, and it will be archived on the NAIWE website for as long as you remain a member of NAIWE. Each interview will provide an opportunity for you to share your story with readers or potential clients and network with other members. This is the kind of positive press that can build your career!


"Opportunity doesn't knock at the door; she answers when you knock."

—Walter L. Hays


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