One of my tweeps recently tweeted a link to this article identifying the 10 Most Overused Words on Wedding Blogs. The post got me thinking about the craft community and our buzz words that seem to crop up unnecessarily often. So I made up a little list of my own.
Each of the words on this list can AND should be appropriately used. However, any word that is used too often begins to lose its power. Like a beloved stuffed animal, these words may be safe and snuggly, but they are becoming worn and frayed and are starting to develop a peculiar funk.
So, put up your feet, dust off your thesauruses, and join me in expanding our vocabularies.
Disclaimer: This list comes from a desire for mutual growth, not a place of judgment. I count myself as a member of the craft blogging community, so I am equally responsible for the proliferation of these words. I am guilty of using just about all of the terms on this list, and I hereby solemnly vow to take my own medicine and to try to minimize my use of them in future posts.
“We all judge. It’s our hobby. Some people do Arts & Crafts. We judge.”
Stanford Blatch (Sex and the City, Season 5)
Unless you are actually using vintage materials, refrain from describing a craft as vintage. Just because it has a picture of a rotary phone on it, doesn’t mean it’s vintage.
Try these instead: classic, bygone, nostalgic
This is a good example of a word that became trendy and consequently took on a new connotation. If you check out the actual definition of the word… well, it’s not so positive. But, if you are determined to describe your project as run-down, seedy or dilapidated, at least mix up your adjectives now and then.
How about: worn, tattered, frayed
Chic is a French word that is an adaptation of the German word “schick” meaning skill. That origin makes it an appropriate word to use when describing attractive handmade goods. But not everything needs to be chic.
Replace it with: fashionable, current, swank
Sex and the City made its mark on popular culture in a myriad of ways, including instigating the wide-reaching overuse of the word “fabulous.”
As a writer, take the time to choose your words carefully. Is that potholder really fabulous? Really? Really.
I thought not.
Let’s lay our proverbial cards on the table. There is the tiniest bit of pretentiousness in the craft blogging world. It’s that inner voice that tells myself, “I’m not just randomly hacking at this table with a piece of rebar. I‘m distressing it.”
I think our community could benefit by eliminating the need to say you gave your project a treatment. You wiped on a glaze. Cool! Be okay with that!
Less highfaluting options: method, procedure, application
5. Absolutely/totally/incredibly, etc.
Stephen King wrote, “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
One of the loveliest characteristics of the craft blog community is our ever-present desire to compliment each other’s creations. I know I have felt that to really emphasize my admiration of an idea I need to throw a few superlative adverbs into my description of it.
The truth is that adverbs make little difference on the overall impact of your message. Nine times out of ten, you can eliminate them from your post and not miss them at all.
If the embroidered onesie is adorable, call it adorable and leave it at that.
Did you know that the primary definition of the word crafty is “skillful in underhand or evil schemes; cunning; deceitful; sly?” While that might be an accurate description of all my Pottery Barn knock-off posts, I don’t think that is how most craft bloggers usually use the word.
More accurate substitutions: arty, imaginative, inventive
As with “chic,” describing a craft project as “inspired” may well be dead on. This is certainly the case if your project was inspired by another piece found elsewhere. But, just for diversity’s sake, give one of the word’s many synonyms a day in the sun.
Give these a shot: influenced, motivated, sparked, prompted
I like saving money. I do. I appreciate bloggers who make an effort to create beautiful or practical items on a budget. But, I am ever so slightly sick of reading the word “frugal,” especially when it’s so much more honest to say what we really mean: cheap!
Also acceptable: thrifty, economical
A vignette is a story, an illustration. A well-styled décor display might tell a story if the pieces are meaningful and complementary. However, a bunch of tchotchkes sitting on mantel does not a vignette make.
What other words you do feel are overused in the craft blog universe?
About the Author:
Good morning/afternoon/evening/night, I’m Jessica Hill, the slightly-unbalanced blogger from Mad in Crafts. I used to spend my days teaching Shakespeare and Longfellow to high school students; now I spend my days saying things like, “Try to make some potty come out.” I am a stay-at-home wife, mommy of two little munchkins, and caretaker of one stinky basset hound. I am also addicted to television, ichthyophobic (look it up, kids), and almost 30. On Mad in Crafts, I exercise my creativity by writing craft tutorials and exorcise my inner schoolmarm through my Mad Writing Skills series. This series tackles writing issues faced by bloggers, especially craft bloggers, and suggests specific, practical strategies for dealing with those challenges.
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