Verbs are where it’s at

Feather Falls, California

In college, I had two creative writing professors. I took creative writing seriously.

I’d rank Speech and Creative Writing as the top one and two most important courses in college, respectively.

Whether you like it or not, you need to learn how to talk. Humans are a social species. Like high school, those who can speak well will be the popular ones. Those who can’t? Well…

The same applies to the corporate world. Whether we like it or not, corporate jobs won’t go away any time soon. Sure, everyone would love to be an entrepreneur. Good luck! Most can’t pull it off.

Now, if you do, more power to you! But you know damn well you’re in a minority.

So definitely learn to speak. Second though, learn to write.

The exercise

Anyways, the first creative writing Prof had us close our eyes and reach into a bag. We had to describe in several paragraphs what we felt.

The catch? She forbade you from using the verb to be in any of its forms.

It’s a great exercise. Try it.

Then try replacing to be in your writing as much as possible with more interesting verbs.

You’ll hear pretentious writers use big ass words all the time. Yet, that only attracts other pretentious writers.

The average reader prefers feeling something. And nothing makes you feel like good verbs. Verbs move. Verbs make things alive. Verbs are where it’s at.

So try it. Next party trick, get a plain brown bag. Put something in there. A rock. A piece of fur. A dildo. Whatever. Put something in the bag. Have your friends close their eyes, reach into the bag, then write several paragraphs about what they felt in the bag. But forbid them from using the verb to be in any of its forms.

Then steal their best ideas for your next short story.

About the featured image

That’s Feather Falls, California. It’s a three hour hike each way and you can actually camp over the falls.

I shot this back in 2013.

Just make sure you eat tons of garlic because the mosquitoes love those who don’t.

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