While I believe most know how to use this wonderful invention, I wonder how many truly do. I find it to be an invaluable tool as I write. It is the Thesaurus.
I would be willing to bet that anyone who enjoys writing, and does it regularly, keeps a dictionary beside them on their writing desk (or in my case on my end table nearest where I usually sit to type on our laptop). But how many people keep a thesaurus within reach? I don't dare to guess, as I know few writers, but my hope would be quite a few.
With a thesaurus I am able to sit here and write my poetry, stories, and even my blog with what I hope would be an air of grace about them. I hate to be too repetitive, constantly using the same word over and over again throughout a piece. I personally find it dull to read something that has been written like that, and would quickly loose interest. But as a sometimes sleep deprived mom, I find I need help to find a variety of words that can all be interchangeable to a point. It also gives more specification in writing as readers have a chance to more clearly grasp at what you want them too with each additional descriptive word.
For example, did you know that if you looked up 'disaster', you will find 44 other words to possibly suit your need! Some are more specific to a particular type of disaster: casualty, rainy day, and bankruptcy; and some would work generally: catastrophe, calamity, and tragedy.
It also words in the reverse. Think back to those old lessons in elementary school, do you remember the term 'synonyms'? how about 'antonyms'? While the synonyms are words meaning the essentially the same thing, antonyms are words meaning the opposite. So if you need a word to describe the exact opposite of 'variety', you could look that up in the thesaurus and find the options 'equality' or 'similarity'.
Of course you must also know the meaning behind those words, so a dictionary is another necessary implement to keep on hand (if you don't already!). Another one of my personal favorites is a rhyming dictionary, but that one is more for fun! I use that if I am writing a poem and I need a rhyme, though most of the poems I have written do not actually rhyme anyway. Still I think it is something that will be fun to use as my children grow and marvel at the amusement a good rhyme will bring.
Overall I find these treasures to be such gifts to me as a writer. A dictionary and thesaurus are my paint sets; Words are the colors of my art form. I love to use a variety of vibrant and brilliant colors as I paint my word pictures; a dictionary and thesaurus allow me to do so!
What have you learned this week?