As a writer, having a rich vocabulary and being confident while using it can be really powerful.
While most writers are avid readers from a young age and have already acquired a vocabulary that is better than average, keeping up with improving your vocabulary wherever you can throughout your writing career is a great goal to have.
But what are some good ways to do this that are easy ways to boost your vocabulary as a writer in your day-to-day life?
Top Ways to Boost Your Vocabulary as a Writer:
1. Get Busy With Mobile Word Games
There are plenty of occasions when there’s time to kill and use your phone or tablet. An easy way to expose yourself to new vocabulary is to try various word games.
These include scrambled letter type puzzles, rather than games where you use words you already know to earn a score like in Scrabble or Boggle type games.
There’s actually a pretty handy tool for vocabulary learning that you can use while you’re playing, or just experiment with different approaches to learning. It creates words from letters you enter, allowing you to solve word puzzles involving words that are new to you.
Playing other types of word games where you spell out words for points using the letters given to you is a good way to challenge your recall of your vocabulary and spelling. Next time you’re waiting for something to happen, pull out your phone and start learning. It’s that simple.
2. Peruse Literary Works in Various Genres
While writers read a lot, it can happen that we end up sticking to just a few genres, whether they’re the ones we write in, or simply ones we find most entertaining.
However, every genre has its own conventions and so the scope for learning new vocabulary from a genre you’ve read dozens of books in is smaller than from a genre you haven’t interacted with before.
If you normally read contemporary novels, some historical fiction or even non-fiction about different time periods, it can expose you to lots of new words, as could some hard science fiction.
If you normally read YA fantasy, then trying some crime thrillers could have the same effect. An extra tip is to read on an eReader or tablet so you can use the dictionary feature to find out what new words mean instantly, and even make notes about them on your device as you read.
3. Try Writing Flash Fiction Using New Words
Flash fiction is where you write a very short story – often the length of a tweet. To really cement a new word that you’ve learned into your mind and get some practice using it, why not try writing a flash fiction story that includes a newly learned word?
You can even set yourself a challenge to do this every day. Plenty of people tweet Flash fiction or post it on Reddit, so if you’re looking for inspiration about how it’s done or want a place to share yours, it is easy to find.
Writers improve most when they have things they are actively working on as they keep on writing. While practice is a huge part of becoming a better writer, practicing with certain goals in mind is always more effective, especially when backed up by other activities geared towards your work, like studying story structure and reading.
One goal you can keep working on for your whole career is expanding the vocabulary you have at your disposal, so why not set some goals around this today?
4. Always Have a Dictionary and a Thesaurus at Your Disposal
As a writer, you might be inclined to use common words and write as you speak. While this is great for improving the reliability of the piece you are working on, sometimes it’s great to open an online dictionary and use words with more precision.
This lets you convey your points with more clarity and dexterity, and it’s a hallmark of a maturing style of writing. Nowadays, you can add dictionaries to your search engine, and simply write “define” in your search box, followed by the word you’re trying to use.
A dictionary like OneLook will then look up the word for you and provide you with dozens of alternatives that may be a better fit for the piece of your writing. Just remember that it’s not about using sophisticated words for the sake of it.
It might make you sound more erudite, but creating appearances is not the goal of writing. The aim should be to communicate your points clearly and concisely, and that’s why I advise you to always have a great dictionary and thesaurus at your side.
5. Listen to Great Books on Audio
While listening to podcasts is always a great idea, consider consuming some of the greatest works of literature in an audio form. Great writers are known for their distinctive style of writing, and particular phrases and pieces of vocabulary that achieve the desired effect in the reader’s mind.
By swapping common conversations for genius works of literary art, you expose your auditory system to novel turns of phrase and quixotic words that you wouldn’t have otherwise known.
It’s always a challenge to go through literary classics. But it’s so worth it, because instead of listening to live interaction that lacks polish, you try to grasp works that took years or even decades to produce. Within them, every single word matters, and appreciating that can have a dramatic impact on the way you use words in your own works.
Developing an extensive vocabulary is crucial for any task that involves writing. By having a rich lexicon at your disposal, you’ll be able to express yourself with clarity and precision that will let your writing stand out.
It’s crucial that you said simple goals related to learning new words (for example, learn just five new words each day). Weather in just a couple of months, you will notice a traumatic a difference in the way you use language not only in writing but also in speech.
Learning new words is a task that has no end and once you delve into various meanings and etymologies of different pieces of lexicon, your literary mind will start exploding with creative possibilities.