Word Search

There are some days that the words just won't come. The blank screen waits patiently. The cursor blinks lazily. And my fingers rest on the keyboard, frozen. On those days, I go on a word search. 

I pull out my childhood dictionary—which came with our set of the Childcraft World Book Encyclopedia and features charmingly anachronistic illustrations—and riffle through it until a word grabs my attention.

Dividend . . . mild . . . thrash . . .

Almost any word will do, as long as I find it compelling. I type the word and its definition at the top of my screen and—poof!—I have conquered the blankness! And then I try to work the word somewhere into the piece I'm writing, like a secret clue to the mysteries of my writing brain.

If you don't own a dictionary (a problem you can remedy for under $5 at any used bookstore) or don't have one to hand, the nifty website Wordnik features a word of the day, as well as a random word link. Keep clicking until you see a word that speaks to you. And if you really fall for your word, you can "adopt" it with a donation to Wordnik.