If you think you’re not smart enough to play words with friends you’re wrong. You’re too smart. I read that somewhere right after I started playing WWF. I was a scrabble player and so I went into WWF with that style of thinking. But WWF was some underworld thug style word game. WTH were half of these words people were playing against me for like 100+ points? I didn’t know and I was losing like a professional.
I was annoyed and I felt stupid and I was ready to quit playing. I’d go back to civilized and elegant Scrabble. Then I read that article and I got it. In the article the writer talked about their elitely educated friends reveling in throwing up letters on the board until a word was found. So I tried that and behold I had unlocked the WWF key. If you’re struggling to play and win the game and you think it’s because you’re dumb, no, my good friend, it’s because you’re not playing dumb enough.
I don’t play WWF as much as I used to. Once you figure it out it isn’t as much fun. I can’t say it has expanded my vocabulary like Scrabble (or even my thesaurus) has. I like knowing words, having them at the ready, but not always using them. Being too garish with big, smart words looks like what it is, insecurity.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone the speech he gave was judged by linguists to have been accessible by a 3rd grader. Why would he do that? My thoughts – because he was introducing a revolution and those are hard to understand even for members who embrace the chaos of that sort of thing. Most people like the even keel of life and big changes like the smart phone are uncomfortable and unwanted. Making his talk about this technology accessible by not burdening it in unnecessary pomp maybe made the adoption of this idea that much easier. It did catch on like a bat out of hell, I think we can all agree.
Sometimes when I write if feel like I’m falling back on big words and other times I think I’ve swung too far in the opposite direction. I can always feel when I’m on target. It’s like the flow of the idea and words are washing in and out on the shoreline of my story. It’s not an easy balance to achieve and one I will continue to work toward. Some of my favorite novelists are so elegant with description that it doesn’t feel burdened at all. Every time I try that sort of flowing description I feel (and sound) like a kid writing my first creative writing piece. I would like to change the sparse nature of my writing style and I attempted to in my upcoming book.
Let me know if you think I did (when I finally get it out that is!). ps should be out by February – I’ll tweet.