Why You Need New Words Right Now

Rules help us with our creativity.

Does that sound like creativity heresy to have the word ‘rules’ and ‘creativity’ in the same sentence?

Earlier in the year my muse coughed up some commandments for creativity, which proved to be a popular post.

Yet I always balked at the word commandments even though it resonated with other creatives.

Embraced by Words
Robbert van der Steeg via Compfight

We need new words because we think in words. 

Most of us, even visual learners, think in words.

Close your eyes. Listen to your thoughts. That self-talk is usually in words, not random images.

How we think of the words we’re telling ourselves always dictates our level of creativity.

If the words we speak to ourselves carry negative connotations, we’d be wise to reframe these words to flip them to the positive.


Some have said ‘work’ is a four letter word just like #$%! or $#%* or @*&#. We’ll rarely want to do the work, get out of our comfort zone and create if we think of the word ‘work’ in a negative light. Let’s reframe…

  • Movement
  • Growth
  • Play

My work movement funds my dreams. Not only my dreams, but also the dreams of others. (Here’s an awesome project I gave $5 to just this week.)


‘Project’ sometimes carries a negative connotation. As in “I’ve got to work on this praaaaah-ject my science teacher assigned. Bleh. He wants us to make the solar system out of styrofoam. Wish I could go to the dentist instead.” Reframe…

  • Portfolio
  • Idea
  • Concept

I’m working on some great projects concepts for the coming year that I’m really excited about. I even put out my first e-book on how to self host your own blog. While the page isn’t perfect and there’s much I’m still working on, the project idea is good and I think it will help people.


What do you think of when you hear someone say the words ‘health.’ I’m guessing we feel/think other negative words like tasteless or boring or even fanatic freaky hippie.

Yet, we need to be healthy to create. Reframe…

  • Energy
  • Zest
  • Life

Someone is depending on you. For. Real. Someone needs your creativity right here, right now. Be healthy full of life and zest so you can help them out.

And the list could go on.

Even now, as I head to my day job, as awesome as it is, I’d rather continue to write. I’ve taken kindly to calling it my ‘day job’ rather than ‘work.’

Day job implies that the work (or ‘growth’) I’m doing today is moving me forward in my creative life. It’s reframing that gives me movement, life, and growth.


What about you… what words do you need to reframe? Drop them (and reframe them) in the comments below!



Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Excellent point about needing to speak to ourselves positively, but as the office Queen Of Spin, I respectfully disagree that “negative” words should be replaced with softer “positive” words simply to make them more palatable to us.

    I think the deeper re-framing comes in returning to the true meaning of the words and in letting go of the baggage that we have wrapped them in…Creativity IS hard work. Denying that is lying to ourselves and minimizing the effort we put into our craft every day.

    And as a project manager by day, I disagree that an idea or concept is equal to a project. A good project is an idea or a concept put into action. Realized. Developed. Shipped. Of course, I am always at odds with the sales department on that one! 😉

    IMHO, spin absolutely has its place in status reports and press releases, but not when we talk to our hearts.

    • Andrew Zahn

      I enjoy the disagreement… interestingly enough, I work in the sales and marketing dept of my company!

      It’s a matter of being a thesaurus with skin. If a word isn’t working for us that we’ve framed in a negative light (though not a negative word) we can reframe it.

      Heath, project, and work are not negative words… but could be to some.

      It could also be discussed that some don’t even start a ‘project’ if because it sounds daunting… but staring with a concept/idea is less daunting and can spin forward into action.

      • I follow your point about “projects” being intimidating…and fully agree with that as well as the need to work around what doesn’t work for us. In fact, I live this paradox daily, as I naturally do a whole lot of “reframing” in all my business communications. I’m just trying to learn to get real with myself during dream-hours.

        And yes, the good-natured jab at sales was intentional! I was in sales amd marketing for several years in my former life, so I’m doubly guilty. But now I tend to inherit ideas that may or may not be executable…always a challenge!

        Thanks for making me think today!

  • So good, so true. It really is amazing how simply rephrasing our circumstances can drastically alter our entire perspective – for good or for bad. Wonderful post, Zahndrew!

    • Andrew Zahn

      Thanks Todd!

  • Work is probably the biggest word I need to reframe right now. Due to my part-time job, it has a very negative connotation.

    I really like the way you reframed health, though. I’m in the process of making healthier choices in my life, and even just saying healthier makes it seem overwhelming and like there is only one way to do that. Zest, energy and life are much better!

    • Andrew Zahn

      Hey Jason,

      I think we can all agree that we need to take a different view of the ‘work’ word.

      Thanks for your thoughts and comment!

  • I can’t think of any right off, but I do this often at work when communicating with people. I reframe things to give a connotation that I want to convey. Thanks for the motivation to do so.

  • I need to reframe the word awesome. I overuse it to death. Maybe “marvelous”, “magnificent” or even “nifty.” Nah, not so much on the nifty…

    • Andrew Zahn

      That’s awesome… Nifty I mean… or…