When did you last fall in love? That thrilling, almost magical, reciprocal glance of understanding followed by a sense of infatuation is often mirrored as we cultivate our relationship with words: pursuing them with fascination; becoming an expert in their nuances of meaning and effect, and using them with delight and love. Begin by expanding your vocabulary. This is where a traditional dictionary wins over computer spellcheckers. As we flip through the pages, seeking a word’s meaning or spelling, unlooked-for words catch our attention. Choose a page at random and find a word you haven’t heard of. Try to write a sentence containing this word, ensuring you use its meaning correctly. Think about the way the word sounds – beyond its meaning. The words “shriek” and “shout” have similar meanings, but the former has a sharper vowel sound. Choosing one or the other in a sentence would affect the atmosphere of a scene, in the same way that someone’s tone of voice can affect how we feel about what they say. With awareness of what you wish to express in words, and the mood or atmosphere you want to create, you can write with greater intuition.
The Joy of Mindful Writing by Joy Kenward (Leaping Hare Press)
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