Put a Sock In It!

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Definition of language:

A system of communication by speaking, writing, or making signs in a way that can be understood, or any of the different systems of communication used in particular regions (Cambridge Dictionary)

Language is a part of life. There are some polite rules to live by when using language:

  • Be careful not to talk about yourself all the time. Give the person you are talking to a chance to tell you about him/herself. You might uncover some hidden gems that will add drama to your writing in the future.

I come from a family who talked a lot (mostly all at once). I thought it was normal to talktalking horse “over” people so I’d be heard. I realize now that it would have been much better had I grown up knowing when and when not to speak. It definitely would have made life easier.

Even now, when my siblings and I get together with our families it’s bedlam. It’s fun, loud and reminds me of my youth. Everyone talks at once. Somehow we all get the message each person is trying to relay. We laugh a lot and to say our get-togethers are boisterous would be a non sequitur.

sw_Listening_sa209430.jpgListening is a virtue. While my siblings and I make friends easily and fast, we have probably told them our whole life in five minutes or less, without taking a breath. At that time we give the other person time to talk and wonder why they look at us with eyes glazed over and are stuttering as they try to get words out.

“Put a Sock In It” is an idiom that seems to fit the situation. The definition of it is:

An impolite way of telling someone to be quiet.

Used to tell someone to be quiet or stop making so much noise.

Now think about your writing. Does this apply? Do you drone on and on about the miniscule parts of the story, or do you get straight to the point and then go on? If readers 0029find themselves bogged down in either too much information or too much about the main character, it’s time to “put a sock in it.” Watch for black holes that try to suck the sock in, where it will never be seen again as you continue writing drivel.

At this stage in my life I watch not only what I write but also what I say. I’ve become a better listener and don’t always talk over people, but take a breath and allow them to talk. It’s been a hard habit to break, and I can’t always say I succeed, but at least I’m aware of the problem and I try to keep it to a minimum.

Do you have places in your writing where you should “put a sock in it?” Do you recognize those places and take time to whittle the writing down, sit back and see if the narration plays out well in listening to it?

file4811233877913.jpgIf you don’t pay close attention to your speech while writing, you could end up with some of those “black holes.” Find them and “put a sock in it!”

Books by L.Leander:

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Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders





Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)





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You can also find L.Leander here:

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16 thoughts on “Put a Sock In It!

  1. Oh absolutely, Linda. I’ve actually got a larger word count in my ‘reject’ file than in the actual WI P because I keep thinking I’m giving : too much info… or the wrong kind of info. And yes like Mike above, I sometimes find I’m deleting a long response on FB before hitting the ‘post’ button because I decide to keep my opinions to myself. 😉


  2. Great post, Linda!! I love how you weave the idea into both practical, every-day life and our writing life. I’m learning to “put a sock in it” more each day, both ways — thanks for the great reminder. I LOVE all your photos!! 🙂


    1. I loved the photo of the sock puppet best. I was so glad when I found it. I tried hard to weave a “saying” into my writing life. Now if I can just stick to it to zipping up when what I really want to do is talk, talk, talk!


  3. This is a fun post. Love the photos. So interesting about your family. You don’t look like someone who would be loud or boisterous. I try very hard to listen, but I tend to tell people my whole life story in the first few minutes too. Cher’ley


    1. If anyone ever listened in when my family are all together they’d run away! But it’s the way we grew up so we definitely let everything out when we get together. I have one sister who’s quieter than the rest, but she is very able to jump right in there and say her piece!


  4. I’m the opposite. I grew up an only child so it was a very quiet household, especially because my dad was rarely around. My mom has no problem interrupting people though and I find myself doing that sometimes which is terrible. I have to stop and check myself. Great post, Linda.


  5. Thanks Sarah. I always thought I wanted to be an only child when I was young, but I would have missed all the fun that was my family. However, I must have complete silence when I’m writing, I hate having the tv on all day (my husband) and when no one is home I love to just “listen” to my innermost thoughts.


  6. I was an only child reared among a community of the most interesting adults imaginable and learned early that if I was quiet–and I was normally anyway–I could hear some wonderful stories, as well as remarks not to be repeated outside the circle of talkers. I don’t know whether they forgot I was there or just knew I wasn’t going to spread things around (I had a sixth sense about what wasn’t for public consumption). I don’t know when I started to talk talk talk. You’re right about putting a sock in it. One guideline for blogging is, “Don’t write about yourself so much.” However, it seems most people already know everything else, so about all I have is me. Note how many times the pronoun ‘I’ is used here.


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