Cultivating a broad vocabulary

Whether you are writing non-fiction or fiction, your description of feelings can do a lot to convey your message.

Take an experience, such as receiving news from a close associate – a co-worker or colleague in non-fiction, a family member or romantic interest in fiction.

Practice writing a short paragraph about the experience as if the news were good. Then as if it were surprising. Try a version as if it were tragic. Again as if it were disconcerting.

Getting the word that the meeting was still on was both exciting and terrifying. I would have the opportunity to present my ideas to the whole team. Would they see the value in them? I could feel the butterflies in the pit of my stomach.


While my hands were sweaty and I could feel my heart beating at double time, I believed in my ideas and looked forward to sharing them with my boss and the complete team.

If you have difficulty coming up with adjectives and adverbs that grab your interest or touch your feelings as a potential reader, spend some time getting acquainted with a good paper or online thesaurus. Remember that book that used to be the classic high school graduation gift paired with a good collegiate dictionary, or my personal favorite, 30,000 or 35,000 Commonly Misspelled Words?

Taking the time to build your personal vocabulary will serve you well now and in the future.

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