What Happens When a Writer Loses the Words?

nancy hendrickson writer

Writers of a certain age face a stressful challenge: what happens when they can’t retrieve a word? ¬†Everyone experiences an occasional memory lapse, but for a writer it’s terrifying not to be able to conjure up a word. Worse yet, without the *right* word, writing can become mind-numbingly pedestrian.

Where once “fled” instantly sprang to mind, now “ran away” appears; gone are the curmudgeon, the jubilant and atonement, replaced instead with the grouch, happy and sorry. Do you think it’s because the simple words were the first ones learned, that they’re the first ones that come back to the mind?

For me, losing the words is so scary; does good writing now mean the thesaurus is my constant companion?

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