Article Quickie: A Writer’s Confession

My name is Terreece and I’m addicted to ellipses.

There. I said it. I am free from my shame.

Those three periods…they say so much and I find myself using them way to often. Every writer has a crutch. Some liken it to their ‘writing style,’ but there is a difference between a crutch and a style.

“I can quit anytime.”

One way to tell if your go-to writing technique is a style or a crutch is if a writer can be flexible and not use the item. Whether it’s a particular format or transition, if a writer has trouble adapting to what an article needs rather than what they are comfortable writing – it’s a crutch.

“I don’t think about it.”

Some writers brag they can bang out an article without thinking. That’s not a good thing. Writing without thinking is writing devoid of feeling and deliberation. Who wants to read that? Writers can bring thought back into their pieces through identifying their crutches. Read through old clips. Recognizing patterns is the best way to break a habit.

“I’m not hurting anyone.”

My ellipses aren’t hurting anyone…most people think they add to my conversational style of writing. However, if I’m honest with myself, not addressing them or any other crutch will prevent my growth as a writer. The crutch is more damaging to the writer than it is to anyone else. Why? Burn out.

Writers run out of stuff to write or I should say they run out of motivation to write anything. When writing loses its spark and becomes predictable, odds are the writer will find themselves on the way to the stinky town of Burnout.

Lastly, crutches are supposed to help someone along the way until the way can be made without the crutch. It may be painful, may cause a few hours of eyestrain staring at that blinking cursor while coming up with something else, but in the end the stretch is worth it. The growing pains are worth it!

So dish – what’s your writing crutch? How did you break your habit?


  1. says

    Mine is the dash. I use it far too often. I had a college professor who was fond of saying that unless you’re Emily Dickinson, a dash isn’t necessary. A comma, period or semi-colon actually works better. 😉

  2. says

    Your post got me thinking today and when I tried to post a comment here at 4:30am this morning and it wouldn’t take due to site error. I wrote a post of my own (linking to you, of course.) Thought you might wanna take a look.
    Diary of a User — The Em Dash « Play-On! Words

  3. says

    Thanks for the article. I am afraid I use them to excess as well. They just seem to add more “white space” to the article. Gives the reader a chance to breathe and reflect.
    1st step is to admit you have a problem. Thanks a lot…………..

  4. says

    Since blogging, I’m so big on the dashes — I place them everytwhere now — even when I email. It goes back to my poetry writing days and my love for Emily Dickinson. It feels good to confess. Thanks!

  5. says

    I’m terrible with ellipses, too. I doo at least realize they don’t really belong in professional writing, and avoid at all costs. On rare occassions I might use them in a fiction or personal story, but for the most part I just try not to use them at all.

    Whew, glad I’m not the only one!
    Kara Kelso´s last blog post ..20 Great Movies of the 90s – Part 1


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