Free Week and I had decided to talk about doing quick research for writing, then I realized that what I had on hand said more about myself than writing.
I have on my menu bar across the top of my main computer three dictionary/thesaurus sites. Yes, I do use them in writing, writing everything. Everything from comments to posts, letters and emails to stories. I have a good vocabulary, as does my husband. We never spoke down to the kids or the grandkids and they have always impressed their teachers with their knowledge of words and their proper usage. However, here is always room for improvement for all of us, hence the dictionaries.
Back when I was writing lyrics, the competition where I actually did take an award sent several thin, paperback books on writing to me, one of which was a rhyming dictionary. I never used one, and since I had taken an award, I didn’t think that I needed one! It’s somewhere. It was frowned upon in many circles to use such a ‘crutch’ back in the day; I remember famous singer-songwriters being called down on the carpet when it was discovered that they used such a ‘false trick’. Hey, it was pop/rock or country, not great art. Even so, when I got into publishing poetry, I pulled out such dictionaries; I wanted to convey the right sentiments within a (sometimes) rhyming parameter, and I looked for the words that would do it. I feel no shame; I am pleased with myself for my diligence.
So, in thinking of this post, I looked into my Menu/Saved/Bookmarks and oh-my-gosh, do I have a LOT of reference sites saved.
I have dictionaries, including several foreign languages, plus Google Translate and pronunciation sites. There is one that has fantasy and another that handles sci-fi. I picked up a hard-bound Klingon dictionary a few years back.mI have made no attempt to learn the language, but a few choice words will enter the conversation around here. (And I have wished friend who understand “Qapla!” when the situation called for it.) I have yet to use any Klingon in any writing, but that is another topic for another Free Day.
However, I have distance calculators, and those for metric, and from Celsius to Fahrenheit and back.
I have sites saved for tropes; sites saved on other people’s blogs for references, most of which pertain to writing.
I have Time Zones, Moon Phases, Calendars of Holidays of World Religions and a Japanese Garden Glossary; I don’t remember why that one is there, but I am not removing it, which also tells you even more about me.
I have geographic regions and of course,
I have recipes saved; some are regional, for stories.
I have my grandkids’ schools’ sites, local and national news along with religious sites which interest us. I have podcast sites saved, Goodreads, etc. This blog is on my Menu bar up top, but in the bookmarks are music sites, plus YouTube and specific YouTube posted sites, articles and so many assorted things I wonder if I will ever get back to all of them, and few will make any addition to my writings,
or will they?
Let’s face it, you need to read to write, you grow in your writing as you grow in your knowledge.
What is the first piece of advice that successful writers tell people? READ, read everything.
And I tell my kids, learn whatever you can; don’t turn down a chance at learning anything or training, if you have the time. Anything that you learn can come in handy, everything you learn will enrich you.
And anything that will enrich you will enrich your writings.
I”m always using dictionary, thesaurus, etc. … and I used to have a rhyming dictionary somewhere.
I also used to have a book of banking tables which I used to figure amortization of loans, finance charges, interest accumulation, etc. Of course, nowadays, you can just let Google do all that stuff. So the kids will never learn how to “research” anything. Just ask SIRI to compute it for them.
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What a shame…because I have really enjoyed doing research all of my life,so much so, that when I saw a book that I used extensively for a 5th grade project, I bought it, as out-of-date as it is!
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Very well said Tonette! I often use dictionary and thesaurus sites. I use them for every day and for writing. It thrills me when my kids will pick up on new words. An expanded vocabulary is never going to hurt you.
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I always have read with dictionaries nearby, Angie.Even if I can get the gist of a word and don’t have one with me or am busy,I’ll jot it down with the page number so I can look it up later.
Since I use a Mac, my reference tools (dictionary, thesaurus, calculator, metric to English converter, and international clock) are on an app called the Dashboard. On my menu bar in Google Chrome I have my university email, the gradebook site, Japanese language translator, and various bookmark files, such as regency era resources, all things Japanese, and a few I should delete now that those projects are done. One of these days (or years) I’ll take the time to do some computer housekeeping.
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Oh, I need to do a LOT of housecleaning, computer-wise. I lost so much when I had the series of crashes a couple of years ago because I could not see paying the incredible amount I’d need for them to go line-by-line, to retrieve all the temporary files and unnecessary pictures that I had left on the computer.I had most of the important things on flash drives, but now I have an external memory that gets almost everything else.