Weekly Writer Wisdom: August 1, 2017

This week’s Writer Wisdom quote comes courtesy of Live.Read.Write and Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge’s PoemcrazyLook for this week’s #WeeklyWriterWisdom questions after the jump.

This Week’s Questions: How do you encourage the expansion of your vocabulary and the maturation of your writing style? For example,  do you look up definitions of words you’ve never heard of before? Or “collect” words by writing them in a journal? Do you use writing prompts or exercises as a means of stretching your “language muscles”? What other thoughts or ideas does this quote bring to mind?

Follow #WeeklyWriterWisdom at the blog and on Twitter at 11:00 AM Eastern on select Tuesdays. Feel free to spread the wisdom and creative energy by reblogging this post, writing your own post on this topic, or sharing the quote image on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

14 thoughts on “Weekly Writer Wisdom: August 1, 2017

  1. That is an interesting question! I don’t do it often enough – but I do enjoy browsing through dictionaries and thesauri. If I read a book with a word I don’t know, I look it up – these days that is the work of a moment… We are so blessed with so many words at our fingertips, whereas when I was a child it was much harder at a time when dictionaries and encyclopedias were very expensive and became outdated increasingly rapidly. I recall my huge excitement when I uploaded my first encylopedia that came as part of a software bundle with the computer… things have moved so very fast!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I’ve wanted to do a WWW quote from Poemcrazy for a few weeks (I’m in the process of re-reading the book), and this was one of the few ready-made quote images I could find for it.

      I just restarted a habit of looking up definitions to words I’m not familiar with. I also copy them down in a journal, because I’ve found I absorb things best that way. It’s a sort of osmosis through writing… which makes sense when you’re a writer, right? 🙂

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    • A journal might be even better, actually. 😉 That’s what I use. First I write down the words as I find them. Then I rewrite the words with their definitions at a later time. And then you can keep going and going until you fill up the journal, then start another one. 😀

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  2. I adore learning knew words! Whenever I see one I don’t know, it’s a pleasure for me to look up. I’ve always had a big vocabulary and I take pride in it. The English language is a beautiful thing!


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    • Same here! Like I was telling Sarah Higbee, I also make a point to write down the word and its definition in a journal I use specifically for that reason. It’s a sort of osmosis; I feel like I absorb it better that way.

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  3. I look up words I don’t know. But I remember them better if I use them. Not found a way to best do that yet. :/

    I do use writing prompts though. I’ve found that writing a piece of flash (I try to do it daily) is helping to practice things like description that doesn’t always make it into my novels….

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    • Same here. If you don’t use ’em, you lose ’em, as the saying goes for (and applies to just about anything). But I hope that by writing the word and definition in a book, I’ll at least increase my chances of remembering it in the future! *lol*

      And yeah, prompts can help with this, too. I haven’t worked with any prompts in a while. They tend to inspire poetry ideas rather than stories, but I have a couple books lying around that I should pick up at some point…

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  4. When I read classic literature or a piece of nonfiction, I like to fold up a looseleaf paper to use as a bookmark and write down the words I don’t know. It’s how I learn new words! I love learning new words and I wish I could use them more often, but unless I review it often, I forget the more obscure ones. Another thing I like to do, though I haven’t done it lately, is to write down the words than stand out to me in a story. It captures a certain mood, as well as the style of the writing; and oftentimes, it puts me back into that particular mood!

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    • You just reminded me that I need to catch up with my “Terms & Definitions” journal. It completely slipped my mind last week. 😉 But yes, I do something very similar, with all of the books I read (fiction, nonfiction, etc.).

      And I love your second activity, writing down stand-out phrases or sentences in a story. That’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. One of my fellow DIY MFA staff writers wrote a post this past week on “writing by reading,” and she mentioned how we can become better writers by doing just that and absorbing what we love most about our favorite writers and stories.

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      • Very cool! It’s curious how a single word can carry so much depth. It’s the marvel of emotions and personal interpretation, I suppose. I’ve only done it with a few books that have stood out to me, but it’s amazing how I’m transported right back to the book just by a glance at the particular words and phrases. Depending on the WIP, I tape them up to the wall next to my writing desk as inspiration — or if I’m feeling at a loss for words!

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  5. Pingback: Weekend Reads #75: My Poor Vocab | Zezee with Books

  6. As a second-language writer, I constantly look-up words because my vocabulary never seems like enough. What also helps me to grow as a writer is finding new ways to describe things, especially new similes. This way, even if the words aren’t “new” or “unique”, the way I string them is.

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