When Right Words Just Look So Wrong

Someone posted this in the How to Make, Market, and Sell EBooks Facebook group the other day, and it immediately sparked a blog idea for me. It happened to come at just the right time, too. I was wondering what to write about and running out of ideas. This blogging daily (or almost daily) thing is just not that easy – not even for a writer!

But this statement instantly resonated with me, and I don’t think it’s all that uncommon with writers and editors. I mean, we live with words all the time, and if you live with something all the time, eventually it can begin to look rather strange to you.  Am I the only woman who’s ever looked at her husband and wondered why in the world he looks like some alien being from another planet (when he usually doesn’t)? It’s not that I don’t love him. It’s not that I don’t think he’s attractive. I think he’s one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met in my entire life. It’s just that sometimes he seems a little strange to me. “Familiarity breeds contempt,” as they say. And I think this can very easily apply to words, too.

I still remember, quite a while ago, when I wrote down the word, “beginning.” I stared at it. And stared at it. Wondering if I had spelled it correctly. It couldn’t possibly be right. I had to look it up on Dictionary.com. And then I wasn’t quite convinced by that online source, so I looked it up in an old Random House dictionary. Yes, I certainly had spelled it correctly, at least according to those reputable sources. But it still looked so wrong. And “beginning” isn’t even one of my most commonly used words!

So what do you do if you’re faced with a correctly spelled word that just looks too wrong to be possible? Use it, anyway. Keep writing until you’re done. Put that piece away and look at it another day. I promise that the offending word/husband/food/whatever-it-is will look so much better in the morning.

Now I want to know: what commonly used word(s) have you had this experience with before?

 

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