My father played this game with me when I was younger. He got me a journal and labeled the pages from A to Z. Everyday I was to write down new words in it, that I learnt throughout the day. He didn’t tell me to read or anything though. He made it a competition. At the end of the week, we would count the new words that each of us wrote. The one who won gave the other a head massage.
Many years later, after we had stopped playing the game, I found his journal in between some old books. He had written words like tree, pillow, shape, colour, personality and so on. Words to which he knew the meanings!! Cheater!!! When I went and confronted him, he smirked and said, “Who do you think realised that you are a natural with words and writing. Thanks to me, you are a writer today.”
Thereby taking the credit for all my hard work, and his smart work. Today, as I write this, I laugh over it. My father had sneaky ways to get me to do things.
But I can’t trick you- my reader into it. I am going to tell you exactly what will work when it comes to improving your vocabulary.
Religiously maintain a word journal
Like what my father made me do sneakily. Let me spell it out for you. Keep a small notebook handy and label clumps of pages from A to Z. Every time you come upon a word that you don’t know, make a note of it. Don’t worry about the meanings just yet.
Then pick a day of the week to decode those words. That day when you Google everything about those words and jot down the meanings in the notebook.
Over time, you will become better at deducing the meaning of the words just from the context.
Time frame- Make it a conscious 90 Days practice and see your word potential soar.
Play word games
We have all got smart phones these days. Install any word game app. I have personally tried the Vocabulary Builder by Magoosh, freerice.com and Google word coach (opens only on your phone).
These are addictive and get you up to speed really fast. Also you are most likely working on multiple screens throughout the day, just keep these tabs open and play all the time.
Use Google shamelessly
I get frustrated with myself when I want to say something, but really don’t have just the correct word. So if you have the time for it, just type out what you want to say in the Google search bar and write word next to it. Google will get you the right word.
To become a better writer you have to learn to express yourself in ways that make you stand out from others. This means better vocabulary, better grasp on rules of grammar and just clearer thinking. But often, the challenge isn’t with words. It could also be that you aren’t very clear yet on what it is that you want to say.
So keep drafting it out, till you’ve figured out what you want to say. The vocabulary kicks in after the intent.