In my line of work, “innovation” is a golden word, and currently a very over-used, abused piece of jargon designed to make your business look hip and dynamic to customers. There are actually “Chief Innovation Officers” at some businesses, and if you spend time scanning company websites a lot of them talk about how they innovate and disrupt their markets — those two words are often used in conjunction, like a tag team.
So is innovation a good thing? I just received in the mail my copy of 100 Words Almost Everyone Confuses and Misuses (American Heritage Dictionaries/Houghton Mifflin, 2016), and oddly enough the receipt was tucked into the page for impact. This is odd because I am a serial abuser of the term impactful. Some dictionaries accept this, but some don’t. Don’t know why — I clearly like it. As far as I’m concerned, as a native speaker (and writer) of English, I have the right (or at least some leeway) to be a little loose with the rules, sometimes inventing or being creative in how I use words and grammar. I have had some occasions where other native speakers have corrected my inventions; they understand what I meant to convey, but reject the form as technically “incorrect.” As far as I’m concerned, the understanding part is the only essential part of it.
So do you, as a writer, feel free to innovate? And I don’t mean in the Tolkien-esque sense of fictional world-building, but in your writing, regardless of genre or intent, do you feel that you can sometimes bend and twist this language of ours to more succinctly convey your intent, or emphasize some nuance?
The upcoming next chapter of my work definitely has some made up words in it. Guilty as charged.
It’s a good day when I can use “impactful” again before noon at work.
Yeah. And I get shit for it. Too. sic semper