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Wordsmithery - what's in a name?

Updated on April 11, 2012

After 10,000 hub views and 18 months of hubbing - more like 11 months of hubbing, and 7 months of not-quite-hubbing - I felt it might be an opportune time to explain my choice of tag, and discuss why I think it's alright to be outrageously pretentious.

When I was deciding on a moniker for HubPages it took me a while to settle with 'Lady Wordsmith'. As soon as it popped into my head I loved it, and giggled at the nerve of me, and texted my mum to ask 'what d'you think of this?' and anxiously awaited her reply, which came back 'I love it!'. I giggled again, and said to myself, no, you can't use that, it's just not true, and you'll just look like a prat when someone comes along and says 'huh! Wordsmith! You?! I don't think so!'. But, as is usually the case once an idea has firmly lodged itself in one's brain, I can't see past it. Wordsmith wouldn't budge, and Lady stuck firmly by its side. And if I'm honest, I was pleased. It has a nice ring to it, trips off the tongue, sort of thing.

Did I earn the right to use it straight away? Well, I'll be perfectly honest again, no, I did not. The first few hubs, on hubbing and introducing myself, were not great, not enthralling, not really at all interesting. But we all have to start somewhere, and let's face it, none of us knows what this place is really about when we first get here, do we? 'What? I can write about anything?', followed by puzzled look, bewildered look, then frightened look; smug look comes much later.

But let's look at my name:

Lady Wordsmith

It does look a bit pretentious, sitting there, preening itself, wearing ermine and pearls, sitting down the table from Henry VIII, gnawing on a ham hock and throwing the bones over its shoulder, grease dripping down its chin, its cheeks flushed from too much mead and mulled wine.

But if you break it down, it's not such a lie: I am a lady. There's no disputing that - I've got all the right bits. I suppose, by capitalising Lady, I might have implied that I'm landed - but that's not quite a lie either, since I have a nice sized back garden, and am the boss of my house.

Wordsmith? Well, there are better wordsmiths than I, no disputing that either. But my name doesn't say 'Lady World's-Best-and-Most-Witty-Wordsmith'. It just decribes what I like to do: I take some words, I put them roughly where they should go, I jiggle them about a bit, make sure they fit together properly, check for sprues*, and then publish. If you're a blacksmith you are entitled to use that name whatever your level of experience, I think. You do not have to wait for your work to have won Best Sword at the Just Jousting Awards**, or until you have been smithing for twenty years before you can call yourself a blacksmith. I have not won anything at all - oh, unless you count my ten very prestigious and very rare HubPages accolades? - and I have only been writing for four years. But working with words is what I do.

But even if I did choose the name to big myself up - I might have done! - is that so bad? Are we on HubPages to have our work read? Do we want to come across as talented and humorous, knowledgeable and witty? Or just average and in fact possibly a bit mediocre? Well, of course, we want to play to our strengths, and if we don't give ourselves airs in the first place we might well go unnoticed for many months!

I gave myself that name being fully aware of how pretentious it sounded, hoping that it would challenge readers to come and have a look and find out if I was a wordsmith, or, indeed, a lady. It worked for a while - but you have to put in the hubs for it to continue, which is why I've just come up with this drivel!

And do I now think that I live up to my name? Not at all, but it still trips of the tongue nicely.


noun a channel through which metal or plastic is poured into a mold.• a piece of metal or plastic that has solidified in a sprue, esp. one joining a number of small molded plastic items.

And used here to mean, bits and bobs that look unsightly and need scraping off!

** If you're feeling finicky, I know that they didn't use swords for jousting, but there were sword-fighting events at jousting tournaments. Alright?

What do you think your name says about you?

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