THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WORD ‘BLAH’

  • The definition of ‘BLAH’ according to the Oxford Dictionary: ‘Used to refer to something which is boring or without meaningful content.’
  • The definition of the word ‘BLAH’ according to me: ‘A highly meaningful word used to refer to a multitude of words/phrases when, as a writer, you hit a blank.’   My favourite part of writing is the initial creating. You know the feeling, when you find yourself in deep conversations with your characters, when you sadistically throw them head first into a gruelling plot and see how they handle it, when you have so many ideas exploding in your brain, your home, your car and your workplace become a wallpaper of sticky notes.

Yep, just love it. I believe it is the best, craziest, painful, exuberant time in a writer’s life. It’s when I feel alive the most.  However, when I am hastily scribbling ideas, I can’t always think of the right word. Call it writer’s… um… blah. [I know the word I want; it’s on the tip of my tongue and all that]. 
Chapter one of my book Forgotten is an example of this.  I had already mapped out the basic story in my head but I knew the first chapter needed to grip readers from the start.  [Small note: If you haven’t read The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, I highly recommend it. It’s an easy read and full of great advice for writers.] Anyway, the first chapter also had to be relevant, introduce my major character, Claudia Cabriati, and throw her into a challenging situation where readers get an immediate sense of her persona.
Ideas grew like mould in my mind, not discriminating where I was or what I was doing.  I knew I had to jot the thoughts down immediately before temporary dementia kicked in and I had lost the ideas entirely.  Thus, I would grab the nearest  object to me, the serviette at the restaurant, the street directory in the car, the television guide, the tissue boxes, oh so many tissue boxes and… well… blah… blah… blah. I think you get the picture. And as it was usually when I had very little time, I’d jot the main thought only; the rest fell under my loyal sidekick… ‘blah’.
Now, I’m sure many of you have your own similar equivalents of ‘blah’. But on the off chance you don’t, you are most welcome to use it. [I really don’t have copyright on the word!] I would also love to hear your ‘blahing’ versions or any of your experiences when suddenly hit by a great idea.
As a result, I think my first chapter achieved my goals. I am certainly very happy with it. If you decide to read my first book ‘Forgotten’, I promise that all ‘blah’s have been accounted for and replaced with seriously considered alternatives.
Happy writing, reading and blahing.

Comments

Converting what is going on in my head to what is down on paper are 2 different things. Writing is mechanical/labour intensive, while thinking is in it's own world. Hitting that wall of getting something down on paper instead of saying I'll do it later means being committed even if changes need to be made. Being committed to writing is a relationship I always struggle with. My philosophy is "some effort is better than none" even if it is a paragragh or sentence.