There are a few small things that bother a very specific subset of people.
You don’t usually know it until you unintentionally do the thing that bothers that small selection of people. Or you’re one of them.
Sometimes they let you know you have committed some sort of invisible crime.
And often, they don’t.
Writers are amazing. I can say that because I belong to this very odd segment of the population (and I’m proud of it!). But sometimes, we’re weird. And obnoxiously particular about our pet peeves.
Isn’t it … interesting … how much we have in common, despite our differing opinions, creative preferences, and the like?
No, not really. It’s fascinating. Thought-provoking. But it’s certainly not interesting.
It’s one word. But for some, it’s like a thorn in the side. Nails on a chalkboard. I’m using cliches on purpose, because of course, I hate those.
There’s nothing wrong with the word itself, but instead how many people overuse or misuse it. Or interpret it, for that matter.
For the record … I don’t really care. My feelings aren’t hurt if you call something I write “interesting.” I get what you mean.
But you know how the internet is. People feel the need to act like everything offends them.
Yeah. You can offend someone by calling something they wrote “interesting.”
It makes sense why. But still.
“Interesting” has become the word people use when they don’t want to outright say that something is strange or 100% not at all interesting to them.
So even if that’s not how you use the word, when some writers read your comments about how “interesting” you thought their work was, there’s a chance they’ll get the wrong impression.
Actually, there’s a good reason why you shouldn’t overuse it besides the fact that someone might think you’re trying to be nice when really you hated a thing they said or wrote.
Here’s the good news: You’re a writer. You use words for a hobby/living. You can do better than that.
Don’t say something is interesting. Say it was or wasn’t helpful. Was or wasn’t insightful. Say why you did or didn’t like it.
Don’t be lazy with your words, because that’s just not a good reflection of who you really are — or who you have the potential to be — as a writer.
It’s something I need to work on too — being more careful about the words I choose when publishing things online, I mean. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively is a skill you do develop over time, but like many other things, it needs constant refinement no matter how long you’ve been a writer.
Go forth. Read good content. Analyze it well, and choose your words wisely.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.