I recently saw an ad for an app that helps YouTube pros hunt down and eliminate filler words from their speech. You know…um, uh, well and…you know.
As someone whose own dialogue is replete with Valley Girl-isms a là “Like, it’s like, I mean,” this sounded like the app for me.
Except for the fact that I’m not a professional YouTuber.
I am a professional word-stringer-together-er, though, and I’ve discovered the hard way that I have favorite filler words. Like, a lot of them.
In addition to “like” (see above), I’m over-fond of a host of verbs including pad, nod and spin. I seem to have a special thing for “spin.” In my last manuscript, my editor highlighted so many incidents where Maggie spun around, I’m surprised she didn’t ask if my protagonist spent the majority of her time on a lazy Susan.
I also find that my characters grin, shrug and forget to breathe. It’s like they’re trapped in a never-ending game of charades during which they fail to provide the correct clues to their autonomic nervous systems. “One word…sounds like leave…”
And don’t get me started on filler words in my everyday/real writing life. I can’t stop using “just.” I’m always “just” checking in, or “just” asking or “just” wanting to know. The word has an inherent apology that sounds as if I’m fawning and scraping through my emails.
Then there’s “evidently,” a word that I evidently enjoy using, “really,” which really goes with anything, and overcompensating adverbs that make me sound like a gameshow host describing the prizes behind Door Number Three.
Great! Fantastic! Awesome! Amazing!
I do steer clear of my own bête noire: prepositional phrases that sound like police report about a stolen bicycle (at the present time, in the course of, in order to), but that’s about it. I’m as dependent on fillers as an aging Hollywood starlet.
But there is a word I use far too often that I refuse to abandon: love.
I love books. I love posts. I love insights. I love photos. And that’s because I love creativity, I love art, I love people, and I love the imperfection, disaster, beauty and madness that is life.
I love early and often, and I’m not going to stop loving anything that moves my heart. I’m okay with that. After all, couldn’t the world use a little more love?
Friends, are there words or phrases that you can’t stop/won’t stop using? Please share! I’d just love to hear about them! (See what I did there?)
Photo courtesy of Johnny Briggs via Unsplash.com.