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carrielynn's avatar

How do you find the words to express yourself?

Asked by carrielynn (131points) February 12th, 2011

l mean when writing songs, poems, journal entries, etc. I feel lots of emotions, but I don’t have the words to describe them. How do you learn to put creativity to paper?

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16 Answers

BarnacleBill's avatar

Reading generally helps writing. It expands your vocabulary, so you can develop more succinct meaning, and gives you exposure to how language can be used.

ilana's avatar

I agree with @BarnacleBill The more you read the more you expand your vocabulary.

You need to absorb as many different texts, opinions and novels as you can. The mind is like a sponge, the more you pour, the more it soaks in, until you pour so much the sponge drips everywhere and pushes out what’s already there. :P

marinelife's avatar

Practice writing down your feelings. Practice helps you learn to write.

Pattijo's avatar

I am a member of a poetry group and I have found that speed writing is really helpful , you have three minutes of continuos writing , you do not stop at all , just pick a title such as ” pride ” and go from that word , don’t stop to think about what your writing , just write . Set your watch/clock and dive in , you will be amazed of what will come from doing this .

tranquilsea's avatar

Get a thesaurus. That seriously helps with finding stronger words or just slightly different words to describe what you want to describe.

thorninmud's avatar

To really convey emotion, you need metaphor. Emotion is basically ineffable; there are usually no words that perfectly describe it. But many other people will have had a similar emotional experience. What you need to do is somehow call that experience back to mind for them, so that they get what you’re talking about. That’s what metaphor does.

Put yourself in the mind of someone who’ll be reading your words. Imagine what that person might have some experience of that would have given rise to the same feeling you’re trying to convey. Writing is an empathic exercise, really. We have to hear our words as they will sound to another. We have to use the reader’s own library of symbols and experiences, or the meaning will be lost.

ilana's avatar

Wouldn’t it be incredible if neuroscientists could find a way to transmit our feelings to someone else? Not the thoughts, but just the actual feeling you’re having. I have real trouble expressing what I’m feeling, simply because there sometimes are no words at all. It’s true when they say our language is very limited. I wonder how the world would change.

“I don’t know how I feel about you…”

“Why, what do you mean?”

** Places fingers on either side of head **

“Ohhhh, I see…”

CaptainHarley's avatar

I’ve been a voracious reader ever since I was about five years old, and as a consequence, I know how other people think and the types of words they use to express their thoughts. From there it’s simply a matter of converting my own thoughts and feelings into the correct words.

Cruiser's avatar

Go to and cut and paste anything you need! ;)

Soubresaut's avatar

I agree with what @thorninmud said about metaphor. You have trouble finding the words, (or at least I think this is why, because this is why it’s hard for me,) because emotion is way more complex than “I’m happy” “I’m sad” “I’m angry”, and you ‘re knowing that. So instead of searching for words that convey the emotion, find something that can represent or evoke the emotions, and describe it instead.

Or: When you’re feeling, joy, say, what does that experience feel like? Are parts of you tingling? Feeling like they’re floating? Does everything get sharper, clearer, or soften at the edges? And when your sad, where do you feel that? In your chest? Your teary eyes? Does it consume your body? Try switching your focus slightly, and maybe that’ll help, is what I’m trying to say. Instead of describing the emotion, describe what it does to you?

Also, maybe it would help to try to express them in a different medium, at least to begin with. Sometimes something that doesn’t fit in words would fit in a picture, or a melody, or a movement, etc etc. Maybe that will help open the door to other ways of expressing it, and when you see it outside of you in another form, perhaps the words will come then?

john65pennington's avatar

Its called quietness and having a brain free of other thoughts. Being focused is the key. This is the way I study for a big test.

I can hear a song one time and play it (the drum portion) by heart. I do not read music, but that has not stopped me from using my gifted talent.

This is the recommendation I make for you and your creative writing. I would only attempt to write, when the mood and that particular subject, hits me.

The world needs more good songwriters. I think most of the other have died, compared to the music I am hearing today. I say go for it in your own style and only yours.

Jeruba's avatar

There’s no better way than reading: reading good writing, some new, some old, and some very old. Read to yourself and also read aloud and let yourself be read to.

@thorninmud is right about the power of metaphor, but I must add that it takes some skill to wield metaphor effectively. Good poetry will point the way.

Thinking of a visual image that symbolizes or embodies your feeling is one place to begin.

Another useful device for expression is the phrase “as if.” Instead of saying “I feel happy” you can say “I feel as if my heart were a bird soaring in the sky” (but don’t, because that one’s a bit trite). The hitch there is that “as if” technically requires the subjunctive form of the verb (“were” in my example), but I’m afraid that even many educated writers are letting the subjunctive slide into the indicative by using “is” in its place.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I agree with the above responses, but also don’t be afraid to edit what you’ve already written. Very few works spring from the mind fully formed, and minor improvements add up to major improvements. Also, editing is yet another form of practice.

Haleth's avatar

Like @BarnacleBill , @ilana , and @Jeruba said, reading is the place to start. For one thing, you’ll see written examples of all the emotions you’re feeling. You’ll get a feel for how other writers handle the same emotions. Reading also gives you more control over words and language. You’ll be able to write more fluently and you’ll pick up on subtle differences between similar words.

“Thinking of a visual image that symbolizes or embodies your feeling is one place to begin.”

Carly's avatar

Constantly have acute awareness of how everything is connected in the world. Then you’ll start feeling like snow falling.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

i listen to music. and draw the emotion im feeling… and do the same with lyrics

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