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January 02, 2008


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Although I like the connotations of hammering away at words, which is often what it's like, I agree that "wordsmithing" is mostly used by non-writers as a sort of "well, how hard can it be?" thing. The problem is the image of this kindly village smith who makes some little horseshoes. It's too country-kitsch benign.

How about wordforging?

No one wants to go to a forge. Forges are hot and smelly and if you don't know what you're doing they can fuck you up something serious. That's more what writing's like, in my experience.

I've never been offended by being by being called a 'wordsmith'. To me a smith is a skilled craftsman, rather than a tinkerer. Many of my ancestors were smiths in my home town of Sheffield, hand-making knives, scythes, and other edge tools that were exported world-wide. I'm very proud of them.

I will continue to use 'verbiage' to describe the wordy and pretentious conference speech written by the Sales Director -- before I get my hands on it and, as a wordsmith, reduce its length by half.

Oh, and by the way, the main tool of a smith is a forge.

Maybe, once again, we're looking at the Atlantic divide?

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