How To Become A Better Writer – One Word At A Time

October 7, 2011

in Creative writing

How many new words have you learned since you left school or college? I am guessing a handful, perhaps 10-20 at the most. I am guilty, too. It took me ages to get my behind into gear and start leaning new words that would improve my writing. It’s insane when you think about it. You want to become a better writing but you are limiting yourself by not learning new words.  Great writers have a gift for expressing themselves, right? So it makes logical sense that you should have a broad vocabulary to achieve optimum self-expression at all times.

Like learning a new language, the way to become a better writer is, along with a few other few core disciplines, is to expand your vocabulary. Generally, this is achieved through reading. However, I find that most people tend not to look up words they don’t understand when reading books. Instead they choose to flick the page because not understanding one word seldom impacts on the overall context.

So, my super-duper tip for becoming a better writer is to simply learn a word each day. It really isn’t difficult at all. You schedule a two-minute window each day to pick up the dictionary – or go online – and research a new word and its meaning. A word a day amounts to 365 new words per year; times that by 10 years and you have learned 3560 new words. Imagine how much of a better writer you would be with that armoury of words in your mental closet.

If you combine this exercise with actually bothering to look up words you don’t understand in textbooks or novels, you will exponentially increase your vocabulary and simultaneously become a better writer.

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