Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The almost right word and the right word...

By: Kristi Hartman

Ever since I was a child I have loved listening to music.  I would sit on my bedroom floor, legs crossed, pushing the rewind button on my cassette-tape player over and over so I could listen to my favorite song repeatedly.  

My taste in music has changed over the years, and certainly the technology has as well.  But one thing has not changed, and that is my love for music.  One of my all-time favorite things to do in life is drive in the car and listen to music, while I attempt to sing along.  I remember after getting my first car in high school, carefully selecting the CD's from my collection and sliding them into the sleeve of a case logic cd holder, and driving around town listening to my favorite jams. No one was there to tell me my taste in music wasn't cool, or that my singing was bad. It was just me, my car, and my tunes.  

Fast forward an undisclosed number of years and things haven't changed much as far as my love for music. The car rides, however, have changed drastically.  I often listen to a variety of music, but now I have 2 and a half people in the backseat who always have a constant opinion about what's on the radio.  Being the music lover that I am, I try to have them listen to a variety of songs and artists, just so I'm not stuck listening to Kidz Bop or Disney on Pandora constantly.  
Most of the time, it works... 

Part of the reason I love listening to music so much is I love to listen to the lyrics.  Songs tell stories in such a short period of time, that I love to listen for the message or story they are trying to tell.

One artist in particular whom I have listened to ever since my case logic days is Sarah McLachlan.  
I was lucky enough to see her in concert about 3 weeks ago at Red Rocks amphitheater in CO, and let me tell you, she gave me chills the whole time.  Her talent for singing amazes me, as well as her ability to write and craft words together beautifully.  Song writers like her are such an inspiration to me as an aspiring writer, because they have so much to say in so little time, that when combining the right music and words something awesome happens.

It is a constant reminder to me that we don't need thousands upon thousands of words to have a great story to tell.  Sometimes it's just a matter of using the right words.

Mark Twain once said:

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter- 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.

Have you ever had that experience, where you suddenly think of the perfect word and BAM! It's amazing.  The sentence shines off the page in all its glory like the sun among the stars.  

Unfortunately for me, that experience doesn't happen all the time.  But, the few times it does, I soak it up and think to myself, 'Yep.  I can do this.'

We don't need to worry about hitting so many thousands of word counts all the time (although that really helps get our creative juices going), sometimes we just need to find those right words to help us tell with our story.

Have you ever had those sun-shiny moments of writing?  How do you keep it going?


  1. Yes, I have those times when I write something that is just a jewel and mostly I just say, “Now why can’t ALL my sentences be that amazing??” LOL! Practice, practice, practice, I suppose. :-)

  2. Yes, and you're right: the difference can, well, make all the difference! Obviously I'm not getting the right word right now, but you get my meaning. ;)

  3. Great post! That Twain quote is wonderful.

  4. I do love those moments too, but mostly I'm usually just happy to get any words written at all. :)



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