Originally posted by Heather Lee on January 29, 2013.
During my time as an information developer in the oil and gas industry, I was lucky to work with an outstanding writer and editor who also became one of my best friends. We share a love of words, especially creating new ones, and it was she who dubbed us verbivores. In an industry where many people would be hideously bored, we were endlessly entertained. How could we not be when presented with words like “appurtenances” every day?
Being a verbivore is a big part of why I became a writer. It’s also what makes my editing and content projects so much fun. I’ve been writing creatively since I learned the alphabet (my mother has the proof), and importing that creativity into technical projects is a critical component of the way I work. For example, we all know documents need to convey information to a target audience. Sometimes the best way to do so is to present that information differently. This is where the verbivore steps in.
Now I’m not advocating making up your own technical words willy-nilly, or even rooting through the thesaurus to find the most esoteric synonyms known to man. Just keep your mind open to the available options. Do look at your thesaurus when a paragraph reads so dryly you think your message might get lost in the dust. Do consider rewording when a sentence sounds too much like something from another document. And above all, do have fun with your composition, even if you don’t keep all of the fun bits.
By the way, I’m thinking of adding Chief Verbivore to my next batch of business cards. What do you think? Tweet your vote to @VerbForge or leave me a comment on LinkedIn and I’ll post the results here next week.