Being a better writer isn't always about simply practicing, but about using tools available to you to help you figure out where things aren't as good as they could be.
I already wrote one card about how (and why!) I love using Google to improve my writing. Nothing has changed: I still love Google! So, let's learn another way I love to use Google!
Google as a Thesaurus
There are a lot of online thesaurus's available, which can be helpful, but I've found that simply looking at a list of words doesn't do it for me when I'm searching for a better way to say "sparkling" that doesn't make me think of ten mean jokes about Twilight.
See, when I'm looking for the right word, I'm looking for the right word to fit in the sentence, not just a word that will sit there, solitary, on a list from a thesaurus.
Here's how to use Google as your thesaurus:
1) Open Google!
2) Type in the word or phrase you're trying to rewrite, including a few words around it.
Why? Because you can see if other people are writing the exact same thing, and how they're using it. So, for example, I'm going to Google "going in circles," but I'm going to include "felt going in circles" to make sure I get the right kinds of posts.
3) Scroll the first page of results
Look for a post that fits the feel of what you're trying to write. In this case, I'm trying to write about someone who feels stuck. I see this title: "Do you Feel like you are Running Around in Circles" which leads to this post, which is on point for my purposes.
4) Read the post to find other phrases used to emphasize or further explore your initial phrase.
My initial phrase was "going in circles," which led me to these:
- moving against the wind
- the devil itself has binoculars on our lives
- I was locked up behind a thick high wall with nowhere to go
- like a dog chasing its own tail
- the noises in our minds
You can't expect the internet to give you the exact answer you need, but it can help you think about why that initial phrase wasn't working. For me, "going in circles" didn't feel right to me because it didn't give any sense of the internal or emotional aspects related to that, so I wanted something more like "the noises in our minds," or "swimming in a sea of thoughts I couldn't repress..." As you can see, just looking at related phrases can help you feel why you're stuck, and get unstuck!