Was – Not Was – To Never Was Again…

So, here’s the thing…

I have a problem. A lot of people have problems, right? My problem is serious, considering my chosen profession. I have “Passive Voice Syndrome” (I just made this up, so I’m also going to make up the acronym, PVS, while I’m at it.).

Now, before we go into that too much, you all know that female + something that starts with a “P,” has three letters and ends in an “S” is bad news. This is not a condition that you can pop a pill and get over. There is no amount of consumed water that will flush this out. It’s just a condition that you have to overcome. It’s maddening, quite honestly.

I’m not a writer that sits down and outlines, or plans anything I write. I sit down and the words just come through my fingers. I’m very lucky, in that way. However, my weakness is the word…one three-letter word…”was.”


He was standing by the world’s largest yarn ball. His wife was wearing her foil hat with the lightening rod, as he was standing by the world’s biggest ball of yarn. So, it was decided that she was going to climb to higher ground before the thunderstorm moved in. He was watching her walk away, and was wondering if maybe he should stop her. He was certain that the flashes of lightening would be a bad combination with her foil hat with the lightening rod. He was preparing to stop her. But, he was so frustrated that he was willing to let her learn it for herself. What a guy!

(*Note – In no way, shape, form or fashion do I find this story to be quality work. I have exaggerated my point for demonstration purposes. However, I’m sure you get the point I’m trying to make.)

I’ve been grounded!

I am no longer allowed to type the word “was.” I’ve gone stupid. I can’t type a story without it. So, my question has become, how do people write without thinking that word first?

When I go back and read the places I’ve used the word “was,” it annoys the soup of out of me. It’s annoying to read. I want to break this habit. “Was” is my addiction. I hate it. I know it’s ruining my life. But, I can’t say “no” when it comes up. How do other writers think in a way that avoids this demon, “Was?” How do you retrain your brain to hear something entirely different? Why do I have to have “PVS?” What have I done to deserve this?

So, seeing as how “was” is my nemesis, I’m staring at edits. I read it and I cringe. But, what makes this happen? Why is this evil word the one I cling to first? How do others live in the same world I do, without “was” being so automatic?

This is an addiction, maybe? Is it a sickness? I know this is a demon that I must exorcise in order to live a happy life. But, when that old friend – my security blanket, of sorts – comes knocking, how do I slam the door and walk away. I can’t be the only writer that struggles with this. So, who else is in this boat, in this creek? How do you get around it? And, I know there are also those amazing writers that know how to tame “Was.” How do I get to be a “Was Buster” like you? I want to beat this “PVS” and never look back. How do I get there?


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