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To Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Or Not

Updated on March 28, 2017

Remember, Mary Poppins? Remember the part where she sings about that long word that starts with "super" and ends with "docious"?

As a kid, my twin sister and I would walk around the house singing that song after we watched the movie. Our favorite thing to do was see who could say it the fastest. Yes, we had interesting ways of entertaining ourselves.

I recently looked this word up to see how it was spelled - recent, as in right before writing this post. Next to the definition, the lyrics were outlined and I made a new discovery. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a word to use when one does not know what to say, or when one doesn't have anything to say in a given situation but still wants to appear smart. Who knew? I think it's safe to make this application to the art of writing. One doesn't know what to write or doesn't really have anything to write. So we "fake it until we make it" and put something down on paper (or electronically, if preferred), without regard to the rules of writing.

The next trick, after trying to say the word the fastest, was trying to spell it. But that's another story!

Let's break this down further, beyond subject matter. Let's look at words. So, you are writing content and in the middle of the process you find that you're repeating yourself; or maybe you've hit a brick wall in how you want to express something. In that moment you must quickly decide if you are going to keep the writing interesting, yet accessible to the reader, or have a "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" flash of brilliance. While it's tempting to choose this route, oftentimes the better path is to stay the course of interesting, accessible expression.

This serves two purposes: 1) keeps the content true to the personality and style of the writer; and 2) you retain authenticity with your audience. These qualities are much more important to the reader. These qualities keep your audience coming back for more. Some easy tips to remember:

1. Read. Whether for pleasure or information, reading is one of the best ways to keep one's writing fresh. You are absorbing various writing styles, learning new vocabulary, and broadening your understanding.

2. Stay informed. If your content is not random - it pertains to subject matter of special interest - stay current on what's happening in your field of interest. Become a subject matter expert so that talking and writing about your speciality is second nature.

3. Keep things simple. Leave the "deep" stuff to the academics and technicians. Your audience is more concerned with the information you are bringing to them. They want to be able to read and process quickly.

Writing is a wonderful way to explore, create, inform, expand and grow. It's the gift we share with our audience, who in turn, share it within their particular spheres of influence. So, relax and enjoy the process.


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