Ever feel as a writer that your vocabulary has become a bit….well, stagnant?
This is an exercise that I do ever so often to hit the refresh button on my vocabulary bank.
It is so stupidly easy, that you may not have thought to do it before!
It is simply called : Word Search.
So, get out that pen with the fuzzy unicorn or the jingle bells on it or open a sticky on your screen and get ready to type…we are going on a word hunt.
This time I want you to go down a wormhole on the internet. Or in an old book of poetry. Or, *gasp* the newspaper.
Look through poems and prose of other writers
but do not READ them…
* * * search them * * *
Look through anything that interests you (STOP LOOKING AT THE PICTURES AND HEY…HEY…CLOSE YOUTUBE!) Ok, look. Look for words that reach out to you. Focus now, you are on a word hunt!
When is the last time you saw a word…
and that word excited you?
Just leapt off the page at you and
grabbed your eyeballs and shook them?
Make a list of interesting and new words, any words that may have a new sound, new meaning, new richness.
Look for words that inspire you. Collect these words into a list and shovel them around into twos or threes.
Look for words that don’t seem to belong together or that present juxtaposition or friction. Also look for words that seem to be working together to go in a direction you can follow.
Perhaps divide them into nouns, verbs and descriptive words that you can go to when you are struggling for a word. (And never, ever write without a Thesaurus…but that’s another day, another blogpost.)
Keep this list for times when you struggle to find something new to write.
Now, one more thing before I leave you to it….forget about meaning for a moment and say some of these words OUT LOUD, just to see how the words taste and sound to you:
breastless teacups sunken
If you’ve noted that these aren’t super-fancy words, be reminded that while schistosomiasis may be one of my favorite words, I rarely get to use it in my writing. It’s the smaller words we tend to build with and they must not bore us. I also keep lists of words that I have never seen before. See a word for the first time? Snatch it up!! Look it up!! Taste it. Use it.
Feeling inspired to find your own words? Your own breadcrumbs to the next sentence to be written?
Words feed us. And then…we write.
Happy word hunting!!