Word Vomit: Stress Replacement

I’m a fervent believer that each human being possesses his or her own individual limit for stress, and he or she spends a lifetime finding ways to withhold, mitigate and delay it. I think of this stress limit as a threshold, like an incline of varied steep or shallow degrees, and stress is pushed upwards along it in a cart with round or square wheels. The stress cart battles against gravity and friction, also-known-as your metaphorical powers of stress resistance.

Why circle or square wheels? Some stress is quick-to-hit, while other stresses are slow, plodding marches to doomsday.  A quick circle versus the clunk, clunk, clunking of the slow-but-steady square. The image is amusing, but the square stress cart eventually reaches its destination.

Both can end in the same result: threshold reached… ka-boom.

So are you a ninety degree stress threshold bearer, forty-five, twenty-two-point-five, or perhaps only nine? Does it vary? What happens then as the stress cart reaches the top? And the ultimate question: how does stress reflect in your writing?

My stress pitfalls, as reflected in my writing…

Word replacement. Typing fast is a useful ability in many accounts, but it is a bane if your WPM  speeds along by the cracking of stress’s merciless whip. For me, words that are similar phonetically or grammatically but otherwise bear no semblance to one another end up interchanging like the Prince and the Pauper, but with less whimsy.

Example: While the Wright Brothers are often credited as the first men to successfully pilot a controlled winged aircraft in the year 1903, some students of history forget that manned flight had always existed in the form of the hot air balloon, invented centuries before.

The word replacement is there, perhaps tiny, but there.

Always, but not quite. The intended word was already, and makes more sense in the context of the sentence: the hot air balloon had already existed, not always… much like the Wright brother’s plane, the hot air balloon is not eternal, as always implies – its invention has a start date!

Oops. And these word replacements can sometimes sneak by the editing eye on second or even third review. Stress editing is stress replacement’s brother culprit.

I have made this word replacement mistake many times, and with the following co-conspirators: now/not, know/known, server/serve, always/already, occasionally forgoing the word “the” altogether, and many others.

All of these stress replacements are met with the following reaction: where did that come from, and what was I thinking?

Threshold reached… ka-boom.

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6 Comments

Filed under word vomit

6 responses to “Word Vomit: Stress Replacement

  1. I’m sure I’m guilty of this as well. I think word replacement can also happen in “writing overload” or even in “sleep-writing.” I know that I see more odd mistakes once I’ve been writing for hours than I do when I’ve just begun. And if I’m exhausted, well, that opens all kinds of new doors. On the other hand, it probably also happens often when our writing skills are dusty. Another reason to write regularly.

    I agree that these kinds of mistakes are difficult to catch. I can reread my own writing time and time again without seeing them, and spell and grammar checks can fail me just as easily. It’s helpful to have an unbiased, fresh pair of eyes read my work. In this case, it’d probably also help to have the writing read aloud.

    • Sleep writing? There’s a story there. How does that happen?

      And fresh, unbiased eyes can never be discounted. I think the editor has existed as long as the writer. The editor is the inseparable shadow, but I think some writers, myself included, liken themselves too much to Peter Pan, and accidentally separate ourselves from our shadow while we entertain our Never Never Land writing pleasures.

  2. Some author said, first draft is garbage and they always need couple times editing

  3. I have the same problem sometimes. When I’m really writing at a fast pace, I’ll sometimes get weird character replacement too. I want to write more though (particularly blog posts), which means less time to draft in, which could be bad. I’ll have to see how it turns out. One thing I’m trying is a WordPress plugin called After the Deadline, which seems to cut at least one draft out of my process. *fingers crossed*

    • I think that a faster-paced world is one thing that lends to mistakes, in addition to the increase of individual stress. I hope that any future word replacement on my part is more funny than tragic, as is yours, Aram.

      I’ll have to look into that plugin, myself.

      Note: I originally wrote “faster-faced” then edited it to paced. Hah! (:

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