Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Weight of Words

I think of this often; I wonder if most writer's do--or if it is a cause and effect thing?  Is there a catalyst that brings this concept to mind: we write the words, we release the words for public viewing...then we reap what the words have sown.

When I was younger, I gave little thought to the impact of my words, let alone those of anyone else.  I believed that my words had impact only if I intended it to be so. Naive...ignorant...a little of both, or maybe even a lot of both.

Age has brought many things with it; an inescapable caution about my words is one of them.

Sometimes, when I am ready to click "publish" right here on this blog, I waver.  Should I? Should I not?

There is no bringing them back once they are cast to the virtual universe.  And...I don't want to go the fight with people who disagree with me-- and have limited word skills when it comes to "voicing" their disagreement. Perhaps, once so naive and ignorant, I am just now older and tired? :-)  <-----  That smile was not a typo.

But...that is a small risk in compare to having written words that offend people.  The weight of words...  And offense is small in compare to lowering someone's self-esteem, or to have them view themselves in a bad light--over something a writer has released to the public.

We can't always avoid our words being harsh--sometimes harsh is needed, but not often. We can't help but occasionally offend people, or caus them to have a bad day.  It happens.  Sometimes the words are a needed wake-up call.  But, it is a pretty good practice--to weigh and measure the words we choose to  wake up people.  You do get better mileage out of other ways, other words. 

I have a hard copy of the manuscript of the very first book I ever wrote. It is on a shelf, wrapped up in brown paper, unopened since the day I sent off its twin via media-mail to a publisher.  I also saved the rejection letter that soon enough followed the nearly ceremonious mailing--well, it felt sort of ceremonious to me.

That was five years ago.  I think I might never open it...so ashamed I am of the writing quality.  I hope that editor didn't write my name somewhere, or enter it into a file that reads "Reject any ms. sent from Teresa Cypher."   The weight of words...

Those words were awfully heavy.  I made so many rookie mistakes.  By the time I mailed it off, I had been polishing it for two years. I was pretty sure that it was a showpiece.  Little did I know...

I was just standing at the threshold of enlightenment...the weight of words.

Since then, I have spent five years learning the craft of writing, and have learned so much I could write a book about it *attempt at humor*. Of all the things I treasure from my years of learning, practicing, reading, writing--and the opportunity given to me by that wake-up call a wise editor sent to me under the guise of a rejection letter, is this:  I think I understand the weight of words.

Fiction, non-fiction, memoir, essay, poetry, emails, facebook posts, tweets, and the list goes on and on and on...all words. And the words all have weight.

Where are you on this path to literary enlightenment--do you have a good grip on  the weight of your words?


  1. Well said Teresa. Every writer's tool is his words;when he knows how to use his tools well only then his craft excels! Gibran once said: "All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." You have come a long way and have excelled at communication using the best of words. and your words carry weight as the're sincere!!

  2. Awe, thank you so much, my friend... That is a beautiful quote. And to have you add that my words carry weight because I am sincere? *blushing* I am humbled and joyous at once. Thank you :-)

  3. Yes. I feel the weight of words, too. The other day I made a joke that agents see me coming and think how many more bloody MS is this moron going to make me suffer through! But! Then I get a good response and relish in their sweet powerful words.

    Open that MS one day, if nothing more, just to see how far you've truly come. (I did this with a MS that had sat for 10 years, and rewrote it from a romance to a fantasy thriller. It was fun!)

  4. Lol...thank you for that, Tanya! It is good to know that someone else suffers under their weight.

    Read the old manuscript??? Oh, my. Maybe, someday...I might even share it with a few others. It could serve as a cautionary tale about jumping into things without the necessary knowledge to keep from looking quite *foolish* ;-)

    Thank you for stopping by and giving this a read :-)

  5. I cringe when I think how free I was to hit people with words when I was an impetuous youngster! But rereading old words is mostly hilarious, as long as you're in the right mood :-) I like this post a lot!

  6. Lily, lol, I so know what you mean. In a way, I kind of envy that person. Not bearing the weight of my words. But I am older, wiser...and better for it in so many ways. Thanks for visiting!