The Power of Being a Nerd

By Milli Thornton

Recently, a consultant I was emailing with made a challenging remark about my business name, which is The Word Nerd.

I was not a client of this man, but in the guise of a professional opinion, he said:

“Nerd is a limiting term, although endearing to some. ‘Former Nerd’ is more powerful, unless your clients wish to remain limited. I personally like power.”

I chose this name for my business because I wanted writers to feel comfortable with me. And I wanted it to reflect the Fear of Writing motto: “Putting the fun back into writing!” It’s also a play on my maiden name (I was born Milli Marie Nord).

This is the only disapproving reaction I’ve ever had to my business name. Usually, people say “The Word Nerd! I love it!” or they make a joke. It loosens things up and sets the stage for a more personal connection, even during a momentary encounter. This has happened numerous times, even with Customer Service Reps over the phone.

I started thinking about his use of the word “power” and how we often have such a limited concept of what power really is. Obviously, in his definition, power has nothing to do with having fun … or gently making fun of yourself … or helping people feel at ease.

I decided that, instead of continuing to let his remark bother me, I would find a way to heal from it. Exploring how I really feel about power and coming up with my own definition of it seems like a good place to start.

Footnote: My business name may already be rather unorthodox, but I’m afraid I could never imagine changing it to “The Former Nerd”!


Experience photos of people having fun with Fear of Writing. You may even encounter a Nerd or two among them….


by Deb Stevens of Sydney, NSW, Australia

Sung to the tune of the Vegemite theme song

I’m a happy little Word Nerd

As happy as can be

I love to write with all my pals

From breakfast through to tea

We’re all clever little word nerds

As bright as bright can be

Our friends say we’ve learned so much

In every written word they see

Because we LOVE our Word Nerd Club

We just ADORE our Word Nerd Club

We’re writing better every week!

History Note: The Vegemite theme song was first performed on Aussie radio in 1954 by The Happy Little Vegemites

We are happy little Vegemites
As bright as bright can be.
We all enjoy our Vegemite
For breakfast, lunch, and tea.
Our mother says we’re growing
stronger every single week.
Because we love our Vegemite.
We all adore our Vegemite…

It puts a rose in every cheek!


Milli Thornton
Milli Thornton is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is lead course presenter for the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli also blogs at Milliver’s Travels.

2 Responses to The Power of Being a Nerd
  1. Patti Stafford
    Twitter: pattistafford
    December 15, 2010 | 11:27 AM

    I love “The Word Nerd.”

    I also love your maiden name. I sometimes play Morrowind: The Elder Scrolls. You can be a Nord as your character if you choose.

    Here’s a link to Nord women–perhaps they are word nerds too? LOL

    • @fearofwriting
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      December 21, 2010 | 4:01 PM

      Hi Patti,

      I didn’t know about the Nord women of Morrowind. I’ve never really liked my maiden name but these women make it look noble. Thanks for the link! That was cool.

      ~ Milli

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