Tip-of-the-Tongue Syndrome

Have you ever had one of those days when you just can’t seem to think of the words you need to tell a story? I’m not talking about writer’s block, I’m talking about when you are telling a great story and right in the middle of it you forget a word that describes an important action or person within the story. You suddenly cannot think of the person’s name or the word for the major action that has occurred in the story. I call this the tip-of-the-tongue syndrome. The word you want, the word you need to get your point across, the purpose of the story, the meaning and entire crux of the story, relies solely on that one word or name, and you just cannot think of it. It is completely frustrating.

I usually end up using a technique I learned somewhere along the way and it works for me, most of the time. What I do is rapidly run through the alphabet (in my head) from A to Z trying to jog my memory, trying to prompt my mind to clue in my tongue as to what it is that I am trying to say. As I said, this works most of the time, but not always. Sometimes the word comes to me, sometimes the word comes to me in the middle of the night, sometimes the word does not come to me for days, and sometimes the word just never comes to me at all.

I have found that as I get older, the problem occurs more and more.  I often worry that I am getting Alzheimer’s disease. But mostly, I am just completely and totally frustrated because I am a wordsmith. I love words. I love the sound of words. I love to read words that others have written, especially if they are written eloquently. I am jealous of those people who are able to write so well that they can paint a picture of an image in your head and create a world that is so real that you can imagine yourself in it. Writing about the real world is easy. Writing fiction is an art that I have not yet mastered.

So, for those days when you cannot think of the precise word that you need, don’t worry, you are not alone. Try the A to Z trick and maybe that will work for you too. Happy writing!

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