Writing is a truly wonderful experience in the beginning, but then you realize there are many aspects of it you can improve on. Most beginners won’t realise this in time and miss their opportunity to become the writer they thought they were. One of the common shortfalls is a limited vocabulary.
Here are 5 methods you can use to change that!
First, Word-a-Day Services
Word-a-day is a wonderful service that has been provided to the world for over a century. A simple idea that grew popular through word-a-day calendars. With each day a page is turned and a new word learned. Expanding your vocabulary by 365 words in a year isn’t bad at all. It helps many people today convey their thoughts more eloquently and intelligently.
Yet, you as a writer can double-up on the word-a-day if you so feel like it.
Be it on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter, there are many profiles that post a word-a-day. If you are one who frequents social media, coming across a new word and definition can turn the pst-scrawling into a constructive experience.
Finally, when approaching the word-a-day, try to challenge yourself further. In order to make it more of a learning experience, I suggest attempting to use the word you have learned that day. That is often the intention of most calendars and word-a-day services. You need not include it in your writing if it doesn’t fit the topic, but perhaps in conversation, even if it is to tell a friend about the word-of-the-day.
Secondly, Suggested Simile Services
We are fortunate to live in a world filled with so many services to help us and one of them is ‘suggested words’. Most writing software today makes use of a built-in thesaurus that can be used to automatically improve the language you use, but it might be better to replace words manually.
Depending on the writing software you use, you might need to right-click or highlight and right-click. Yet, once you have gained access to a thesaurus, go through the words they recommend. You may find one better suited for what you are writing, or better yet, one that you don’t know.
Once more, turn it into a learning experience.
Writing isn’t meant to be an experience for you to display knowledge, but rather an experience to convey your ideas. That in itself is a learning experience as you have to analyse what your idea is before you put it on paper, pushing you to learn something new. If a word seems interesting to you, don’t be afraid to look it up and learn what it means.
Thirdly, Word Games
A variety of word games fill our world, be it the classic boggle, scrabble or crossword to the many online games and apps. Although they may seem trivial, for many writers having fun makes a learning experience more fruitful. What is more, these word games encourage such education.
Your selection of verbiage could mean victory in all these games as you are tested. For the competitive, this is enough reason to learn a selection of new words, short or lengthy, to give them an edge in the game. For crosswords, the kind of words you learn depends on the crossword, but you will be more than happy if you come across a word you like.
If the more traditional methods of learning new words don’t fit your style, then perhaps using your free time to engage in a word game would be better. Using word games is one method you need not approach with learning in mind, simply have fun!
Fourth, Challenging Writing
The fourth method is to approach your writing differently. You need not alter your writing style so much, but attempt to write carefully. If you have a sentence in mind, try to write it differently. Force yourself into a corner with your vocabulary and try to find the word that will get you out of it.
With the English language containing so many words, many being words, altered and unaltered, from other languages. With that in mind, finding the right word becomes more interesting. With dictionaries, thesauruses and search engines, you can find any word you wish, even ones you don’t know.
It is with these tools at your disposal that you can not only expand your vocabulary but directly improve your book as well. You open yourself to a new experience when it comes to writing a novel. Challenging yourself to dig deeper and learn. You will be impressed with yourself when you read a chapter of your work after and compare it to a chapter of your work before.
Fifth and Finally, Read Different Books
The final method is a little more difficult to get into, but the benefits are clear. Many readers will stick to a certain genre or author, reading little of anything else. It is fair and not a tragedy as many readers have particular tastes. Some prefer to read the slow romance novel and others prefer to read the gripping thriller.
Yet, there is an entirely new set of words used in certain genres. You will find that reading a different author or going further, a different genre will open a whole new world for you as a writer. It goes without saying that the words you learn in a science-fiction will be different from the words you learn in a high-fantasy.
If you wish to branch out and write a different genre, I recommend you read an assortment of authors from different times who wrote novels in that genre. The vocabulary will shift with the different styles and times, some words being more common today than they were back then or vice-versa.
Either way, you can turn your hobby of reading into a sharper tool for your writing kit.
The desire to improve is present in every career, not just writing. You will find that many ambitious people who have a method of doing things won’t shy away from a more efficient or effective method.
In time, if you make use of one or more of these methods, you will see the difference. The improvement can stretch further, going beyond your way of writing to improve the way you think and learn. Or, better still, you will find the experience of learning and improving your writing enjoyable.
Personally, I enjoy reading long sentences with strange words that seem to flow into each. It is almost poetry to read a well-constructed, complex sentence.
With that, good day, goodnight and happy writing!
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Thank you for reading!
Matthew Dewey, Writer
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