One aspect of writing I panicked about and still do is vocabulary (or lack thereof). Reading a piece of text with a number of words unknown to me would make me feel a little stupid and sap my confidence in my ability to write. It was only until I read that this happens to many writers at the beginning even those who have been writing a number of years both in a paid capacity and gonna be paid capacity.
So here are the ways I’ve used to create an ocean of words to draw upon when needed – it’s still only a lake at this stage:
- Keeping a journal of new words. I find writing words down with old fashioned pen and paper helps with memory recall. It doesn’t always work the first time around mind you so a number of words will appear a number of times in my word journal until I can recall it’s meaning. Hopefully not too many times.
- Kindle’s downloadable dictionary is great. It’s simple to use and a great resource. Once found it of course enters the journal.
- Dictionary.com’s free app sits on my PC, phone and tablet and is used often. Originally I kept a paper dictionary about but found it a bit cumbersome to haul around. I normally have once piece of technology charged up enough to run a quick search. The thesaurus option is also pretty awesome.
- Even though paper is slowly becoming extinct, paper dictionary’s still have there place(I still use one occasionally). Keeping one around isn’t just for nostalgic purposes only.
It’s not only written text that I try to learn from but I’ve been known to take my phone out and search for word meanings during TV shows, the news, reading newspapers on the bus, even at the cinema much to the dislike of people around me.
It will make your reading, watching and even listening time a little more distracted but once you start this endeavor it’ll soon become a an obsession… wanting to know the meaning of everything (o;
I hope this helps. It has given me countless opportunities to improve my vocabulary and improve my writing or at least given me a little more confidence in the process.