What Every Writer Needs on Her Shelf

by | Dec 14, 2017 | Writing Tips

Finding the right word may take more than just a click of a mouse…

I inherited a Roget’s Thesaurus from my late grandfather. It has one of those hard-covers made from cloth. My grandfather’s signature is on the front page with the date 10-3-36. A few pages in is a replication of ‘the facsimile of the first page of the MS. Classified catalogue of words completed by Dr. P. M. Roget in 1805, which was the germ of the Thesaurus.’ It shows the word Existence written in fountain pen with Dr. Roget’s enumerations of the meaning beneath.

I love this old book despite the fact that I hardly ever use it. Most of my writing takes place on my computer, so all I have to do is right click for synonyms. This function saves me heaps of time – no more paging through the index of the thesaurus, finding the corresponding meaning and number and then turning to the right page and wading through long lists of words.

There’s no doubt that being able to look up Serbian for ‘We have run out of pickled onions,’ if one happens to be writing a story about Serbian cocktail waitresses in under three minutes saves us writers a lot of time. But sometimes speed isn’t what a writer needs.

 

The 7 Day Writing Challenge

WINGS: Words Inspire, Nourish and Grow the Spirit

In Steve Tolt’z new book Quicksand (2015), the character Aldo says, ‘… in our lifetimes we’ll see the actual end of patience.’ Not that I had a whole heap to begin with, but I’ve noticed the erosion of the smidgeon of patience I had for working things out manually, or researching a topic by actually going to a library or doing field work. When something isn’t instant (like internet speed), I get annoyed, it’s not working properly. Even opening the thesaurus these days feels like too
much of an effort. Sometimes I scramble around in my brain, but can’t quite grab the phrase I’m feeling for. Right click and Microsoft Office fails me with it’s shortlist of synonyms.

And there it is – the sign I’m waiting for to stop. Reach for the thesaurus. Pause into the word territory. Take my time. Sometimes I get lost in the pages sniffing out the perfect word, being drawn down new word paths and language lanes.

On those ‘can’t-write-a-thing’ days, a stroll through through its pages squares me back to my true north – to why I write – because I love words, their tiny tweaks and their fragile nuances. So I keep mine on my desk, a talisman to hold me to my joy, a patient friend who has the answers to all my writing questions if only I slow down enough to ask.

Books Are Like Besties

I equate the experience of reading a good book to sitting alongside my bestie and listening to her share a story in a raw and relatable way. I’m there in the story with her, her words evoking a variety of uncontained visceral responses. I’ve been known to snort, laugh...

What Is My ‘Writing Voice’ and How Do I Find Mine?

What Is My 'Writing Voice' and How Do I Find Mine? Our writing voice is not something that’s lost that if we look long and hard enough for, will eventually turn up like a pair of mislaid spectacles that have been hiding under a pile of unopened mail. It is a fluency...

Mistakes to Avoid When You Write a Self-Help Book

I’m such a huge fan of a great self-help book which can raise our vibrational frequency if the author wrote it with energetic integrity - not from a place of ego, but rather as a transmitter of wisdom and as an act of service to the reader. A book like this is often...

The Recipe for Becoming a Successfully Published Author

I often get asked how I became a published author. How did 600 000 copies of my books get sold? How come publishers now approach me to write books for them? I wish I had a recipe I could share like Jamie Oliver so that everyone out there could do the same. But life...

Spotlight on Michele Susan Brown

Happy International Women's Day. I hope you're going to make some time for yourself today - to listen in to your heart, and to reconnect with the life inside you that is only yours. Maybe do something kind for your body. Give it a compliment. A massage. A dunk in the...

My Triumvirate: Meditation, Mantra and Memoir

I’m in the early stages of writing my memoir. At this point, I’m hunting, gathering, pulling things out and looking to see if and how they fit. I’m reliving scenes, moments, memories. Some are painful. Some are lighthearted. I smile as I write about the lighthearted...

1 Comment

  1. Kate Adams

    THANKS

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This