A to Z: Niggle

Niggles. As in those little thoughts that eat away at you, that interfere with normal, everyday mental processing and do a tap dance on your emotions.

Yeah, those niggles.

Everybody has them at some point or another, and if you say otherwise, you’re a liar. But why would you deny them in the first place?

They can motivate us to do better, push us to be stronger and just plain encourage us to examine the world from another perspective.

As a writer, I get niggles all the time. Are my characters flat? Is my plot filled with more holes than Great Aunt Melba’s handmade doilies? Will readers like my writing style? Will I ever finish the dang novel?

I’ve learned to use these niggles to my advantage, carefully weighing their worth and using them to push me past expectations.

I hope my speechies can do the same as they face the State Speech Competition this weekend.

And now for the Letters I missed:

  • H is for hypothetical. The great What-if? can jump-start our creativity, but even in fantasy or sci-fi, we must stay grounded in some sort of reality. If we don’t, we risk losing our audiences.
  • I is intense. Yeah, life can be intense. Sometimes the bad seems to pile up, up and up. Yet when we write, we need  pace our characters emotions, providing a balance between light and dark. We need some peaks and valleys to appreciate the full range of character growth. And if we forget to write it in–our readers will be exhausted for never having a quiet moment to collect themselves.
  •  Joy. When something goes our way–“hey, I got a book deal” (really, I did)–we need to be gracious with our exuberance. Jumping up and down in front of our competitors is never a good idea. I saw this at Section Speech this past weekend when a senior received fourth place. She smiled and accepted her medal with a polite nod and a thanks. Had she placed in the top three, I guarantee you she would have done exactly the same thing, smiling and nodding despite the joy of being able to advance to state.
  • K is for kitschy. While we want our writing to appeal to the masses, we should strive for something more than tasteless drivel. Personally, I prefer niche-y. As in quality that appeals to a select population. A big population would be nice, but a discriminatory one.
  • L is to languish. Or, actually, not to languish. Often, we writers concentrate so heavily on one story we can languish in a holding pattern that keeps us from growing and honing our craft. My advice is to get moving. Write something new. Check out a different genre. Write a short story or an article to get over the hump.
  • M is for mediocrity. It’s easy to settle for less. As writers, we can be so driven by our goal to succeed that we lose sight of the true purpose behind our dreams. Personally, I want my words to impact my readers. I want them to come away from my writing in a way that makes them contemplate their lives and drives them to reach their potential.

Which of these letters are you guilty of? Which ones drive you to reach your goals?

Curious minds want to know.

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2 responses to “A to Z: Niggle

  1. I get these same kind of niggles. I know there is something I need to do, but just don’t stop long enough to take care of it and it will niggle me again until I do.

  2. Eventually they will get you motivated to do the things you need to get done!

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