Winsome and Worrisome Words by Elena Chevalier

This a featured guest post entry by Elena Chevalier for the Freelance Writers Academy Blog Carnival for August 2013. Please welcome her and tell us what you think by posting your comments below. Thank you Elena for this great entry!


What is the best or worst thing about being a freelance writer?



Words. Absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt, words are the best and the worst thing about being a freelance writer.



Words! I love them when they draw me along on endless journeys and show me a world of wonder and laughter. They flow gently along like glistening streams. They sing enticing melodies like birds on an early spring morning. I read the sweet words again and again for the sheer joy of their creativity under control.



Yet, I hate them when they elude me and tease me for no good reason. They frustrate my senses with their relentless capacity of unpredictability. They’re masters of the masquerade and many a time they’ve messed me up by pretending to be a “there” when they’re really a “their”.



Words! On some days they play in my mind and run willy nilly down the hill from my head to my keyboard where they skip over the creek and frolic in the meadow of possibilities. I holler for them to come back and stand in a line like good-little-words, but they cavort and cajole each other into playing leap frog over my outline. Inspired by their winsomeness, I follow their direction and join them in play.



After a while, I glance at the clock and gulp. Taking stock of any reasonable possibilities of meeting my deadline, I demand immediate obedience. Fun becomes forced labor for the worrisome words, but they obey. One by one they lay straight on the page, holding hands in camaraderie, rooting for the writer who holds their life in her hands.



With a collective sigh I hit submit and nod good-bye to the perfect piece.



Until the day the newspaper arrives, that is. And there on the top front page I see my manuscript perforated by the editor’s knife. In the process of his perfunctory editing, a sentence about library walls newly painted lilac, transforms the walls to “lical”, a color I do not like.



Words are moody and don’t like to be embarrassed, so they hide. The next time I call for them to come play with me at my keyboard, they won’t. They hide behind some dusty insecurity or former forts of fear left in the layers of my mind. I coax them and bribe them. I demand they come to work. I plead and I beg them to come help me out. But they dig in their heels and blow strawberries in the wind.



Frustrated, I leave. I leave them all alone for a while and busy myself with other work. They don’t like this and conspire to begin a novel in my mind in the midst of a most important meeting that’s supposed to demand my undivided attention. I make faces at them playing for without my approval like that, and the director of the meeting scowls at me.



Yet in spite of it all, I love those pesky, playful words. They’re like people. You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.


Elena Chevalier is a word-tamer, by trade. From the glorious White Mountains of New Hampshire, she writes features for the local paper, and sundry other stuff. Word-taming is a dangerous job, but someone’s gotta do it.

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