Effective Words Affect Me

by AM Grout

When I pick up a pen, I consider if the words are worth writing. I make this decision by how the inspiration and the influences that surround the idea of writing them affect me. Some ideas appear in dreams like the one in which I was running military-style to give a message to the man running in front of me. Because both of us were running military-style, I could not reach my hand to touch his shoulder. Yet, when he turned the corner in his dress blues, I recognized his profile.

When a dream affects me to the point that I must sit and write, I set a timer for twenty minutes and do it. I seldom pause when writing with a pen in hand. Therefore, the scribbles are most likely only legible to me. I once tried to learn shorthand so that I could write faster, but the dashes and slashes and symbols were too foreign to understand.

The cool thing about handwritten drafts are that I can use a private symbol or abbreviation such as “ELAB” or “R” when I want to elaborate or research more for the typed version of a story. Typing the rough draft is easy; editing not so much. When typing the words, I slow down, seeing the edits that need to be made such as punctuation, verb tense, and spacing. However, I often begin to rewrite, which wastes time. Once I spent two hours editing only to realize I had already edited it and saved it under a different file name.

Being me has made it difficult to hand editing over to others, but the feedback has helped to clarify my words. However, I am still the one to make the final edits, something I need to let go of. When editing, I can get sidetracked with the aesthetics of the layout. Playing with fonts, margins, and sizing is fun, but then the urge to just finish reminds me none of that is important. The truth is stories need to be more complete than just the visual effects of the words on the page.

I believe every story brings a piece of peace when it ends. But the reality is that even the most effective words only affect readers who understood the story. When I wrote “Dear Baby, Get Out!” my hope was to share the final days of pregnancy in a humorous story so that the reader, hopefully an overdue mom-to-be, would be able to relate.

My stories are inspired and influenced by moments reflecting what ifs, whys, and what would I have done in that circumstance. In “An Angel’s Journey,” the reader contemplates if there is more to life after death. There are stories in the air that certainly have affected me, or I wouldn’t have picked up a pen.

""Author, florist, and mom, AM Grout sees family, flowers, and faith as the core of her existence. Sharing thoughts, dreams, and experiences inspires her to write. Often a quest for answers creates “what if” scenarios that fuel her imagination and her pen.

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