Holidays are all about tradition, and I plan to start a new one by making a
cynical humorous annual post about overused words.
This list is based on my own opinion, and unlike the generalized lists that creep out on the internet this time of year, it is mostly targeted at “creatives”.
So without further ado, our first overused word.
- having the quality or power of creating.
- resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative:creative writing.
- originative; productive (usually followed by of).
Folks, it’s an adjective. Not a noun.
The number of times in 2018 I have heard people refer to one another and themselves as “creatives” is maddening.
I’ve been writing for a long time, and hanging out with writers and other artsy types for nearly as long. So I know we like to play with words, “expand the lexicon”, and sound all flowery and pretentious on occasion. What’s the point in being an artist if you can’t get pretentious and drink expensive coffee once in a while. Right?
While that’s all well and good, I feel like writers have a responsibility to uphold the “correct” traditional use of language (grammar and syntax) whilst the internet attempts to dismantle it on an hourly basis. I’m looking at you Twitter!
OK, traditionalist diatribe over.
The real reason this word is such a thorn in my paw is that it has been insidiously co-opted. The next time you’re reading a site or listening to a podcast where someone calls you a “creative”, their compliment is usually followed by an offer of some sort. Like when everyone became an “entrepreneur” back in 2015.
If you’re a creative, you might like my ONLINE COURSE/BOOK/SERVICE.
Yuck. Get your marketing out of my art. Let me be a CREATIVE!
- relating to the philosophy of aesthetics; concerned with notions such as the beautiful and the ugly.
- relating to the science of aesthetics; concerned with the study of the mind and emotions in relation tothe sense of beauty.
- having a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty.
Another adjective being turned into a noun. Sorta like when “Google” became a verb.
“It has an aesthetic.” / “My brand’s aesthetic.” / “Your aesthetic is beautiful.”
Not as brutally irritating as “Creative” but nonetheless, “aesthetic” is so overused at this point it is starting to lose its original meaning.
Plus, there are so many other less fun-to-say words you can use instead. “Look”, “style”, “feel”. These don’t have the SAT-word quality of “aesthetic”, but they are still valid.
- a traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time; trip:a six-day journey across the desert.
- a distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling:a desert journey.
- a period of travel:a week’s journey.
Hoo boy, this one…
So nothing grammatically incorrect about this one, and everybody loves that old axiom about “it’s the journey, not the destination…” Thanks Emerson.
In 2018 we are apparently ALL on a journey. You’re not just dabbling in a hobby. If you buy that beginner’s watercolor set at A.C. Moore, you’ve taken the first step on a grandiose adventure of personal evolution.
I felt pretentious just typing that last sentence.
If there is one thing I implore you to do in 2019, stop referring to making art as a “journey”. Besides the inherent self-important tone of it, it implies this kind of fluffy, overly positive, unicorns-in-the-meadow connotation to what art really is. Work.
Creating art is challenging, difficult, time consuming, and at times, painful. I’m sure I’m coming off as a real jerk when I say this, but I think overuse of the word “journey” (I’m looking at you, Youtube!) gives people the misimpression that these processes are a loose and breezy thing you can just pick up and put down while still getting better at.
Is it technically wrong? No. But I just feel like it’s simultaneously misleading and pretentious. Just my opinion. This is an opinion piece, remember?
That’s my overly sarcastic list of Overly Used Words 2018. Are there any words or phrases all you “creatives” out there have grown to hate this year? Let me know down in the comments!
Merry Holidays and Happy 2019!