Samantha Updegrave will teach Let’s Start a Lexicon – The Art of Collecting Words this Saturday, Oct. 3. One day only. Register now!
In your writing notebook …
1. What’s your favorite word, or a word that’s following you around lately?
(*For this, I favor concrete words over fancy Latin derived words.
Like BOOM. BURROW. BANDY. Words you feel.)
2. Write the word at the top of the page.
3. Look it up in as many places as you can: etymological dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary, usage guide, encyclopedia, cookbook, indexes. Use a thesaurus too, but go wider. Where does the word come from? What are its origins? What else does a mean? (Boom is imitative. A resonant and humming sound. Timber stretched across a river. A rapid advance in prices. A sudden bound in business activity. A barrier to hinder navigation.)
4. Where have you heard the word? Song lyrics? A line in a book? Something your nana used to yell at your dad? A public art installation? Write it out.
5. Play with the word. Use alliteration (same beginning sound). What words sound good next to it? They don’t have to make sense. Boom burrow bandy.
6. It’s on paper. Maybe you don’t feel like you’re BFFs, but it will come to you when you are searching for just the right word. Boom.