In the not so distant past I wrote a paper. It was technical in nature. Some might even say it was a technical paper. In the body of the text, some deep inside of it, I used the word “happenstance.” My colleague, in the course of editing my various drafts, discovered this and suggested that I change that particular expression. Now, I am person that definitely needs help when it comes to writing, particularly some of the more technical1 aspects of it, but in this case I stood my ground. He clearly thought it was idiomatic in some way. I disagreed. It stayed in.

More recently, the same colleague was reading a different technical paper by a much more established author than myself and, much to his surprise, he found that the word was used twice in the course of that article. I was overtly pleased, but secretly surprised as well; I have only half sure that my “happenstance” usage in my paper was justified.

My point is this: write. Put your ideas down on paper. Put them out there. Get criticized. And take that criticism well and to heart. Sometimes you might be surprised by the outcome. Mayhaps.

1 I can not resist a good play on words.

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