Anxious Authors or not, we all tend to overuse words in our work that don’t do our writing justice. Words like so, suddenly and just (which is my personal Achilles heel) end up peppered through our manuscripts far more than we intended. Sometimes we wonder if we actually wrote them at all and if some literary ghost hasn’t added them in to taunt us from the beyond.
To write quality work that is enjoyed by most (besides the inevitable sliver of 1-star reviews destined for all authors), we need polished manuscripts. We need to sparingly use our habitual terms and only when necessary. So, when our fingers naturally start typing our filler words, us Anxious Authors might feel the familiar pinch of inadequacy.
Now listen here, Anxious Authors, doubting what we do every step of the way might be a habit we just can’t shake. However, we should never doubt recklessly writing up a first draft with plenty of the filler words we know we shouldn’t include. If you’re breathing a sigh of relief but still need justification, here are three good reasons:
No Flow Interruption
The biggest issue I find being an Anxious Author is the sense of inadequacy. Forget comparing ourselves with other authors, even just reading back our own work can have us feeling like we aren’t good enough. The first draft is the best place to keep these feelings at bay. First drafts are supposed to be rubbish.
If we disregard the need to make sure we don’t use too many of our filler words, we will write our books faster. Speed isn’t everything but in the grand scheme of things, it will help us feel a little more productive. Goodness knows that feeling of productivity and accomplishments helps in spades when dealing with anxiety.
Let the first draft be an exercise in banishing anxieties, not dwelling on them. That starts with embracing our filler words!
Filler Words Are Editing “Place Settings”
When we self-edit our manuscripts, we go in knowing full well there are probably hundreds of our “trademark” filler words in there. While we might feel like we are faced with an arduous task of removing them all, we have actually done ourselves a favour.
Whenever we see a filler word, we have to make sure it really doesn’t fit by reading the sentence/paragraph/page at least 20 times. Anxious and on the search for errors, we will surely find something wrong that’s completely unrelated to our filler word dilemma.
Rinse and repeat and the results is a solid self-editing effort. Although it’s also wise to obsessively read the whole manuscript beginning to end several times, just in case we missed something!
We Are Human And Allowed To Make Mistakes
Anxious Authors forget this a lot. We hold ourselves to very high standards, sometimes impossible standards. Making mistakes is part and parcel of life, not just writing and as such, we should allow ourselves to make them. Too many filler words is just one of many mistakes we’ll make and the only wrong way to deal with that is to not address it.
It’s important we pick and choose our battles in our writing. Sometimes it’s a case of waiting until it’s an appropriate time to fight that battle. Trying to win too many at a time means losing them all.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!