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Writing Tip: Keep a Word Collection

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When I was a young girl, I think my mom suggested each of us girls should start “collecting” something. I got into teddy bears for awhile, then baseball cards. Those collections have long been donated or passed on, but I still keep my prism collection in the kitchen window. Today, I would say I have a special affinity toward collecting books, pretty things made out of glass, fitness DVDs, pretty fabrics and vintage ephemera.

But there’s one collection that I hadn’t really noticed before: Word Collections. I guess, being a writer, it just comes naturally to pay strong attention to words and descriptions. I will often read and re-read really captivating or thoughtful descriptions, hoping maybe I’ll remember the sentiment again someday. While reading magazines on the treadmill, my subconscious is always pointing out great word phrases that I could use at work. See, I like to write them on subscription cards from my fitness magazines…


Words that resonate with me (you have to understand the word nerdy-ness of a writer) are noted in my writing journal.



Sometimes they return again in a poem. Sometimes they’re just there to trigger a thought. Sometimes they help me to explain things better. Oh yeah, maybe it helps build a better vocabulary too.

I started another word list in the notebook journal I carry around everywhere. Mostly these are “nice” words that I like to think about on an inspirational vintage book page:


This last one is my word collection from work. It helps me with product descriptions and such. I have a whole section dedicated to “color” descriptions and phrases that mean “fast.” I have over 90 of those. Haha!


I can’t always keep this many words in my head at one time. It helps to record them, especially when I hit a block. 

So my advice to other blog writers, and writers in general, is to keep a running list of word inspiration like this. I really think it helps your words stay fresh. Otherwise, just meditate on pretty words like “composure” when you’re stressed out.

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