Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Are You Recruiting the Best Words When You Write?

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

How careful are you with the words you choose? 

Stir up or incite? Weaken or languish? Move or sway? When you consider which word to write next, do you also consider the power behind the word? How it sounds to the reader’s inner ear? What picture it portrays? 

You are more than just a writer of words—you are a recruiter as well. 

Our words are our allies. They prove our point, illustrate our thoughts, and fight our battles. Are you seeking to vanquish hopelessness in the minds of your readers? Choose your words carefully. Are you illustrating a story of redemption and second chances? Pick your allies wisely.

A limp word fights against your purposes, acting as a weak soldier in your ranks. Not every word needs to wear shiny armor, but your army of paragraphs and sentences should be filled with vivid nouns and verbs that relay your message and fight against the evils and lies of this world. They should engrave truth, strength, and hope onto the souls of your readers. How effective is your army?

Another Ally

Rarely does a first draft pop out of our minds filled with just the right words. Using a red pen (or another color) helps us to identify any weak points in our writing, and reinforces our chances of being published and making an impact on the readers’ minds and hearts. 

If a red pen looks more like an enemy than a friend, it’s okay to pick another color. Once you’ve written a first draft, read your writing and use a colored pen or pencil to circle any words in your paragraphs that appear limp instead of battle ready. To the side of that line of words, jot down some alternative “soldiers,” words that better illustrate what you want to say or convey a stronger feeling you want the reader to experience. 

Becoming Battle Ready

If you’re like me and you reach a point in your writing where you just don’t know what words to use, check out some books or articles by other “generals.” Read your favorite authors, and see what words they recruited to capture the readers’ attention, prove their points, and etch a lasting impression on their readers’ hearts. 

Don’t let vivid nouns and verbs take position in only your titles and first lines. Position them throughout your paragraphs to maintain the power behind your words, either helping the reader to fly through a page or causing them to slow down and contemplate your writing. 

One last thing. I’ve found it’s never best to fight alone. I treasure the writer friends who have helped my words become more battle ready. Ask another recruiter to size up the power and punch of your words, and take to heart any helpful feedback that is given. Recruit the nouns and verbs that deliver just the right touch or the perfect punch. 

What strategies do you use in picking the best words? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and happy recruiting. One vivid word after another. 


Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of LIGHTHOUSE BIBLE STUDIES. She loves connecting with writers and working alongside them in compilations, such as Feed Your Soul with the Word of God, Collection 1 which is a 2020 Selah Awards finalist. She also enjoys encouraging writers and giving writing tips in her monthly writers’ newsletter called THE LIGHTHOUSE CONNECTION.

In addition to online magazines, Katy’s writing can be found at CBN.COM,, and three blogs on writing. She loves to spend time with family and friends, create art and make crafts with her group MY ARTSY TRIBE, and tend the garden in the morning sun. She makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Connect with her on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.


  1. Great advice Katy as always. I need to make an intentional read through just circling weak words, nothing else. I’m easily distracted by other edits. The beginning of my work gets much more polish than the end because I always start editing at the top. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Cathy! I understand. Editing can take so much time, but each "read through" is worth it. I hope things are going well with you.

  2. Great advice, Katy. My thesaurus is one of my best friends!

  3. Your recruiter metaphor caught my attention so that I'll be looking for allies more diligently. Typically, I rely on a thesaurus, but your idea of checking favorite authors for their examples appeals to me. Thanks so much, Katy.

    1. I'm so glad. Thank you, Jo! When I was learning to write conversationally, my favorite nonfiction books helped me to relax and not sound so factual. To put in some personality and pep. God bless your writing!

  4. Katy, thanks so much for this reminder to choose our words wisely, engaging them for the battle.