Are you looking for fresh ideas? If you write articles, you most probably are. Yet there is an overflowing source you may not even have considered. And it’s right at your elbow.
It is your thesaurus.
We all know you need to feed your brain raw material in order to get good ideas out. The more diverse that raw material, the greater the range of ideas. Looking in the thesaurus gives you the opportunity to feed your brain with raw material you would never get in any other way.
If you are one of the totally digital people, relying on your word processor and search engines to supply you with alternate words when you need them, then you are missing out big time. Go out, right now, and buy yourself the largest, most comprehensive thesaurus you can find. You need a physical book to use the techniques below.
1.) Make Random Connections
Open the thesaurus, close your eyes and put your finger down on the page. Then look to see what word your blind stab has chosen.
Say your finger lands on “mirth” and your field is dog training. After a moment’s thought, you might come up with an article about six laughable ways dog owners try to stop their dogs from barking. Or four funny pet tricks and how to teach them. If you are a cook and alight on the word “gazebo”, you could immediately hit upon an article describing the perfect summer meal to serve outside in the summerhouse. If you pick out “hibernate” and your field is financial planning, you might write an article about the wisdom of “hibernating” during the worst of the financial storm.
2.) Use the Alternate Words and Phrases
Look up a word related to your field.
If your field is small business and you look up “negotiate”, you will find a list of alternate words and expressions loaded with suggestion. “Umpire” could give you an article about how to be a firm umpire when customer and supplier go to war. “Haggle” could spark an article about how to tell the difference between fair price negotiation and greedy haggling. “Leap over” could provide an article about how to take a small business to the next level in a single bound.
3.) Hook Up Two Words at Random
Pick a word in the thesaurus and then, at random, choose another word and let them work together.
You could choose “infatuate” and then the word, “social”. Scan down their alternate word choices or phrases and see what you can put together. If your field is snowmobiling, you might think of an article about young people enthralled by the warm-hearted companionship they discovered on a snowmobiling trip. If you sell kids’ clothes, you might explain how small children are mesmerized by friendly faces on their t-shirts. If you review automobiles, you might list all the reasons the latest model will be a big hit in crowded, downtown communities.
So, not matter what your interest, you need never be stuck for an idea again. Just flip through your thesaurus, dictionary or a specialized reference for your field and let random findings trigger a gush of new concepts you can use on the spot. It’s one more terrific way a book in your hand still outstrips the search engines by a mile.
Copyright Gail Hamilton 2009
Gail Hamilton, author of 25 books, is an experienced copywriter who knows how challenging finding the right words can be. To help everyone write more persuasively, she has provided huge pools of effective, highly targeted language, in thesaurus form, in her latest works, the Marketing Phrase Book, the Fundraiser’s Phrase Book and 1001 Ways to Say Thank You. Join the Phrase of the Week group and get your free copy of Say It With Color, a powerful writer’s tool you’ll use every day. http://www.hamilhouse.com