Now THIS is an interesting resource…

Sometimes when you’re engaged in creative writing, one of the best things you can do is generate a list of words associated with your topic. This allows you to free-associate words and concepts without immediately working them into your writing, and hence avoids deadly writer’s block at the beginning of the writing process.

Once you have your word list and a basic idea of what you want to write about, THEN you can proceed to try to incorporate as many of the words from your list into a piece of writing. It’s amazing to see how a list of loosely related words can help shape a poem, essay, song, or story — if you don’t believe me, just look at some of the cool things you’ve generated through out vocabulary creative writing assignments!

While helping a student with an entry to the GeneratioNext writing contest, I stumbled across a website called Wordnik. Not only does it function as a dictionary, but it also allows users to comment on uses of words, identify regional pronunciations of words, and (my favorite) create lists of associated words. Here is a perfect example: WORDS RELATED TO ZOMBIE ATTACKS. You’ll notice that the words aren’t synonyms of each other, but rather are words that are frequently used when discussing the same topic. I haven’t had enough time to fully explore the site, but since I know some of you are hard at work on various writing ventures I thought I should introduce it as a possible source of inspiration.

Seniors, remember when we examined different adjectives to describe your strengths with during a job interview without being redundant? This could be a good resource to continue that exploration. Pre-AP students, need to spruce up your Reader’s Journal entries? Try searching for lists of words associated with the topic you’re investigating. It looks like it’s worth a shot.