The lost art of vocabulary.

January 21, 2014


My mother was an English teacher and she always emphasized the importance of creative writing. This worked well for me since math and science were where I pedaled my heart out and never achieved any distance. Even though 5 interpretive essays on The Scarlet Letter was next to a slow torturous death, and reading the Iliad of Homer was needles to the eyeballs, I have always appreciated writing. I would get lost in books and stay up all night to finish a good one. I have never liked to write, but I have come to see the importance of stretching your mind and keeping it exercised. We live in an era of emoticons and abbreviated words (guilty), and the use of words such as whether and therefore are long gone…

At our last Brand Market Workshop Mandy shared in her segment that there are millions of blogs being started EVERY year. I started blogging at the dawn of the boom, and so I have seen it shift each year. Social media is taking over, and chances are, the blogs you do read are through your social media streams. Instagram is fast becoming the instant fix to quick blogging on the go, and has replaced blogging for some individuals altogether. In conversations, vocabulary use is being replaced with imagery, snap chat, text messaging, and photo captions.

Is this a good thing? Is it a bad thing (well I have strong feelings about snapchat…)? Neither. Just a shift. But as my personality goes, where the stream chooses to flow, I choose to paddle against. Its the stubborn nature rooted in me that loves to go against a trend. I have seen this shift in blogging as a bold faced invitation to write more, challenge my writing, and continue to stretch the power of the english language.

I am a sucker for a good photograph just as much as the next, but with The Portrait Project and other posts here and there, I hope to muster up enough motivation to put power to the pen…or keyboard rather;)

x (abbreviation for hugs), Anna

P.S. Astounded by the response to The Brand Market over the weekend. Tickets are going fast and sponsors are pouring in. Thank you so much!



Leave a Comment

  • You write beautiful posts Anna and have such a great way with words. Thank you for continuing to write on your blog.

    As an aside, it’s funny you posted this because I’ve been contemplating diving back into blogging but like you said, sooo much has changed in blogging over the past couple of years, not sure if it’s right for me.

    • Heather that is so encouraging so thank you! And as for blogging, I would be so happy if you made a comeback;) I think if you personally love to blog that is what will make it worth it for you. Success is only measured by your own expectations. Go over why you want to blog and I am sure you will know what will be best!

  • Anna, thank you for posting this! I have a deep love for books, anything well written really, and it makes me a little sad to see more and more people unappreciative of the beauty found in language. My love for the written word is one of the main reasons I began blogging. Thank you for the challenge to remember to keep that on the top of my objectives as I continue to write!

    • That is so good Christina! I bet you will not regret having a place to write. I get lazy all too often, but when I do take the time it is always beneficial to read past writing!

  • I think what you say is true, but if it’s a really interesting, evocative post, I’ll read it word for word. I don’t think this phase is forever. I think eventually it’ll swing back, and people will value well written blogs. I know those are still my favorite!

    • I am with you! My favorite blogs are the writers. Although the majority of blogs being started are fashion blogs, I think there will always be a place for those who want to share their voice:)

  • This is great! I am always drawn first and foremost to imagery, but I’ve noticed lately I can identify more with well written blogs, or even an instagram account that has a good caption to go with the photo. Still trying to find my voice on my blog

  • I recently started blogging because I was tired of the snap-chat/text message culture I’m growing up in! I want my friends to enjoy the art of writing, too, so I’m asking one of them to guest post each week! I’m excited for this new adventure 🙂 thanks for writing so beautifully!

    xo, Melanie

  • Good for you, Anna! I agree with you. My blog is mostly a writing blog and I do sometimes worry that lots of text scares people away. Obviously using photos and design to go along with words is hugely important but for me, words matter most! p.s. Such a beautiful photo of you.

  • I love reading well written sentences as well as beautiful photographs. It’s so refreshing whenever I read Kendi’s blog. She has both qualities to the tee. I love coming to IHOD to see both too, Anna.

  • I love beautiful photos…but beautifully written words are far more engaging to me. The person and their perspective, views and journey are better when the blog has a beautiful writer backing up the images. Lately I have not posted not many photos…and I am sure I don’t get nearly as much traffic but I don’t care. If you want pretty images go to instagram or pinterest. I am here to write this blog…not just throw up beautiful images. I love your writing Anna!

  • This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately…and I’ve tried to dive deeper into the written word both on my blog…and in my personal life (mostly choosing books over mundane “time-sucks” that social media can be). I do think there is a place for all with moderation, but I am sure appreciating the written word!!

  • I love that taking beautiful photos is pretty attainable for the everyday person now, and I love looking at pictures of food and interiors for sure. However, as I write by schooling and trade, I definitely think that we need to see people reading more. Reading has been proven to do so many great things for the brain and the mind and the imagination and our ability to empathize and so many other things, and the span of stuff out there to read is so much less limited than what’s on television. I’m guilty of watching way too much TV, but where TV is primarily limited to cop shows and teen dramas and supernatural creatures, and “reality” shows, books reach for so many more interesting places, and do most of those genres better. It’s funny that in an era of such constant “communication,” people seem to be losing their communication skills. As an English instructor, I hope to help change that!


    • Jen, my husband is witnessing first hand how often students are unable to communicate in writing and I think it is for the exact reason you mentioned. Easy entertainment is much more attractive than picking up a book. I am guilty myself of flipping through apps over picking up a book, and I miss it! Good luck with all you do. So good!

  • I couldn’t agree more. I know it’s hardly the same thing, but I miss snail mail. I’d spent last week rearranging the books in my library; one of them had a postcard from a friend who lived miles away.
    It got me thinking about the many letters and cards I’ve saved over the years and continue to go back to every now and then. There’s just something about handwritten notes and abbreviation- and emoticon-free writing that we can no longer take for granted. The last time I saw someone’s handwriting was when a blogger featured wedding invites. Since when is ink on paper ironic? I’m just rambling.
    Thank you for this post and for the faith in communication as it should be. Good luck.

  • I’m feeling the same way. I have always shied away from most social media, I’ll be stubborn with you!

  • I totally agree with this. As a teenager I dreamed of being a writer. I wrote a short story in high school which I thought was amazing…reading it now, it’s so painful. ha! Thanks for sharing this post – I always love reading what you write.

  • I loved reading this because I feel the same way you do. I love a good photo but words to go along with a picture is always appreciated. I’ve decided to write a little more this year too.

    P.S. you write beautifully and this post was that tiny push I needed 😉

  • I’m so with you. As a big time word nerd and English major, I’m all for more well written pieces— which seem few and far between in the blogosphere as of late (I’m guilty too!).

    Interestingly enough, I feel like I lose my footing the second I start to step away from my inclination to write more essay-like pieces. I like pretty images and roundups of beautiful things as much as the next girl, but the second I start doing them JUST because I think that’s what people want to see, I lose. Like you, I think a combo is my perfect mix. I’m just figuring out how to do it.

  • I don’t care if blogs are a dime a dozen or on their way out… I just love the written word too much to quit! Plus, it’s a lot more fun than the writing I had to do in college… which is when I stopped writing for the enjoyment of it.

  • I love this because it could not be more raw, authentic and true. I left my career in Marketing behind (literally just at the beginning of this year) because social media overwhelmed me – and while my company saw more and more ‘likes’, the art of interaction was completely lost.

    Since then, I’ve made my way back to the handmade community, and hopefully, telling stories through the nostalgic art of pen & pencil. There’s something so real about it, and definitely much more meaningful.

    Anyway, it’s always good to read that people share the same sentiments. Btw – I *hate* snapchat, haha.


  • I’m a little late to reading this, but so grateful for this post Anna. You are wonderful with your words, I love to see the way you write. I often feel I’m not challenged enough to write well, and I don’t know why I haven’t been using my blog to express it more, but this is a good reminder to do so. Always inspiring : )

  • to be honest i have felt so old & crusty hating against instagram and the decrease in comments on my blog but I’ve decided to continue blogging. I love it– it’s my space and like you, it’s my call to go the opposite of where society is heading. xo

  • This was an excellent post, Anna! It is tough, especially when blogging has such a casual atmosphere. I always feel so self conscious when I know that my older relatives read my blog and probably think I can’t have learned anything in school ever because I write conversationally, and there are quite a lot of run on sentences/poor sentence structure. And I worry about my younger cousins or maybe someday my boys reading the blog and thinking they can write that way in school, too. I want to write a disclaimer: I may write on my blog without a care in the world, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a good sentence diagram in English class! Ha!

  • This makes for a really interest article for me to share, will get on that over the next week. I’m very much with you actually, I started my blog 6 years ago and so much has changed since then. So has my style, if I’m honest I do enjoy writing more personal posts but they’re few and far between for me these days. After reading this I think I’l challenge myself to incorporate more, because, you know, it actually means something doesn’t it? Snap Chat, no thanks, sounds like a breading ground for dodgy behavior!

    Really made me think this, you’ve done your job!

    Buckets & Spades

  • Amen to this! We come from similar backgrounds (my mom was an English teacher as well) and share the inability to excel at math and science (high school chem was the hardest class of my life). While I love photography and Instagram as much as the next girl, my favorite blogs are those with compelling written content. And I’m with you on Snapchat. Ew. I’ll join you in paddle against losing the art of language!

  • […]  I want my friends to appreciate the art of writing, as I do with each post I write. Anna, from In Honor of Design, wrote this post about how the art of vocabulary is quickly being replaced with snap-chats, text […]

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