Create Your Own Word Notebook – Day One

24 Nov

So, did you make your lists? Did you check them twice? If not, go back and use Create Your Own Word Notebook – Pre-Work to get them together.


Let’s start with your overused words.  I ran HealaDoc on my pre-edited manuscript and here’s a sample of my words:

The first grouping was: The, To, Her, And, You, I, She, Of, His, and He.  Obviously articles and pronouns are going to be at the top.


Scanning down, the first words I found that were too high on the list were: Will, Do, Are, Then, Out, Back, Were, All, Know, Up, Eyes, Been, See, Here, Like, Turn, Said, Think, Around, Down, Than, Wish, Come, Never, Behind, Only, About, Even, Go, Thought, Little, Just, Upon, Perhaps, Should, Came, Still, Tell, Look, After, Beside, Long, Must, Told, Glanced, Moment, Nodded, Pulled, Small, Looked, Some, Much, Saw, Smiled, Toward, Believe, Felt, Many, Very, Began, While, Sat, Since, Seen, These, Nothing, Watched, Most, Stood, Off, Already, Good, Open, Past, Speak, Those, Such, Moved, Thing, Called, Hear, Going, Spoke, Low, Feel, Continued, It’s, Raised, Fell, Under, sit, Truly, Finally, Any, Which, Put, Tried, Seemed, Entered, Waited, Large, Passed, Started, Went, Laughed, Closer, Above, Gently, Suddenly, Quickly, Lovely, and Probably.


I know what you’re thinking: WOW! That’s a long list and she has a lot of bad, overused words. Keep a couple things in mind. (1) This is off my first draft – I write long, not clean. (2) Not all these words are at the top of the list. Some are nearing the bottom, but they aren’t strong words and deserve to be looked at regardless of where they fall. This is where you want to grab your words b/c this is how you WRITE. Editing is what makes you a writer 🙂


If you didn’t run the adverbs list, do that also. Remember, adverbs are a clue you need to strengthen your verbs. So, even if the adverb isn’t at the top, it’s good to highlight your adverbs and search.


So, you have your list, get another piece of paper and make sections for: Overused Words, Weak Verbs, Weak & Overused Actions.

So, for example, a short version of my list would be:


Overused words: Little, Perhaps, Moment, Thought

I put words like “thought” in there because typically when I use words like thought, saw, listened, etc it’s me pulling back out of POV and I need to just drop the “He saw” at the beginning to get back in.

Weak Verbs: Went, Called, Come,

Weak & Overused Actions: Turned, Nodded, Laughed, Smiled


Some of the words are going to be in more than one list. I’d recommend running the process for more than one manuscript to get a good cross section of your work.

What’s on your list? Huh? Huh? Huh? 



Who did the movement homework? (If you’re reading this months after it’s posted, play along anyway!)

I did, but need to keep going. Here’s a few I thought were things I’d never used before the activity — Ok, I’ll admit, some of these are from doing it this past summer. Don’t forget, they aren’t weird or surprising movements, although you should try to find some of those also. They’re just movements you don’t remember to write into your work.

  • Rubbing lower back
  • Pulling earlobe
  • Cracking knuckles
  • Cross and uncrossing legs
  • Rub eyes
  • Stand with one leg propped up like the Pilates stance
  • Fans money and slaps it impatiently against other hand

Those are just a few I saw. I liked the last one. You can see it and hear it and KNOW the person is probably standing in a slow moving line getting agitated and trying not to say anything.

What did you find?


Wednesday, we’ll work on the lists that we separated out. Be ready!

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