What is the meaning? Origins of words and expressions

I have always been a big fan of discovering the “root” of words and sayings.  Such as the “Rule of Thumb” came from old English times when the law was set in place that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick larger than the width of his thumb.  Or the saying “Mind your P’s and Q’s.”  This was an old Irish saying when men would drink at a bar and the bar owner, or waitress would track how many pints and quarts he would drink.  I have been so infatuated with learning about word origins that I actually bought a game called The Origin of Expressions, just so I could read through them and learn all the phrases we say.

Recently I was chatting with a very dear friend and she had just come back from a speaking engagement in the UK.  One of the speakers she heard focused on the meaning of words, and how we perceive the depth of the meaning to ourselves.  For instance, the word love for one person is completely different from love to another person.  As writers, we find ways to express our own thoughts that work to give vision to our readers, and we just hope that what we write resonates within their minds in the way we think it should. But often that is not the case.  Because we all perceive things on different levels based on the influences in our lives.

That is not to say that everything we write is going to be misinterpreted somehow.  It simply means that different levels of emotion are applied to different concepts.  The primary goal of any writer is to get our readers to feel something, think something, or do something.  In essence, we are trying to “sell” our idea and cause a reaction from someone reading our words.  This is sometimes tricky because people do not get sold on practicality, they get sold on emotion.  Once they are sold, then they need to rationalize why they are sold to justify if it warrants a call to action.  This can sometimes be confusing, but it does not have to be.  It is imperative that writers understand the meaning behind their piece in order for others to understand that call to action.

Are we writing for the sake of writing, or are we writing to make a difference, create a change, or provide a service?  Are we writing for a “known demand?”  I read blogs all the time from “mommy bloggers.”  I find many useful tidbits, or insightful solutions to everyday problems, but I am often left with a feeling of “what was the point to that blog?”  What was the call to action that I am suppose to be getting out of it?  Often that point is missed in blogging.  Part of that missing piece is that foundation I already described in that what has meaning for one person, is different for another.

I have no problem with people that want to blog.  But sometimes, like my passion in finding out the root of sayings, it is all in understanding where certain things come from.  “Blog” is the shortened version of Weblog, which was first introduced in the early 1990’s.  This is the process by which people record opinions, records, ideas, or links to other sites, etc etc.  So, as a writer, determine what your purpose is, and where you want your blog to go.  Is it something that is trying to create a call to action for readers?  Or is it simply an online version of Dear Diary…..?

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