Tips to Improve Writing Creativity – Playing with Words and Vocabulary by Gini Cunningham

By admin
In Writers
Jan 23rd, 2013

fun flavorsWord are our tools.  Use the tools you have to create even more by using these ideas from prolific author, Gini Cunningham:

  1. Remember great words only get to be used once. Beautiful and pretty are alright when repeated but ravishing? That deserves just one use to keep it fresh, glowing, descriptive, and alive.

  2. Create a word blast. Think of key vocabulary that will empower your topic and your writing. Let one word lead to another, another to even more. Aim for 20 or 30 and then…

  3. Once you hit 20 or 30 (you’ll amaze yourself with how these zip into being) pair some, juggle others, add prefixes and suffixes, seek rhyming words to add. So…

    invigorate, rowdy, cheerful, rambunctious, energetic, crazy, rigor, vigor, challenge, fulfilling, boisterous, joyful, wild, magnificent, connections, strength, empower, enrich, opulent, enigmatic, fantastic


    invigorated rigor – wouldn’t that make a tough class more fun; or how about rambunctious rigor…

    challenging opulence – eyesores of luxury

    boisterous banter – no, banter wasn’t on the list but it popped out with boisterous

    enriched energy – power and strength in a pleasant form

  4. Write using figurative language: metaphor, simile, assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc. Remember to use just one; yes, just one so that you do not over-saturate your piece with flamboyance.

  5. Create words. There are words or combinations of words that need to be in our language but that are not there yet. See what you can do about bringing them to life.inrigorate – to make things stronger with more excitementmentalization – using your mind to develop deep thoughtscalorific – it is already a word! I did not know that; I just wanted fun calories and I received “fattening” – booAchievement Disorder – I read an article on Attachment Disorder and the main idea was working extra hard to please someone who did not care. I misread Achievement for Attachment and decided it explained much about many over-achievers who are never quite satisfied with their success because…

  6. Fiddle with connotation and denotation. The correct definition is often wild when you throw in the connotative twist.We had a car named Nellie. She was trustworthy, but possessed her own unique idiosyncrasies. One day Nellie died and I shoved her off the road and walked home. The eavesdropping neighbor nearly reported me to law enforcement for abuse.

  7. Brainstorm wonderful words and keep them in a notebook for handy reference. Powerful words empower writing. Watch for great words in your reading; listening for great words in conversation. A single word can change the atmosphere of an entire piece.

  8. Play with words.  After you have begun that brainstorm list of excellent words, play with them. Add prefixes, suffixes. Adjust their placement in a sentence. Change the part of speech. A tasty treat and a treat of taste exemplify different things.

  9. Write in a variety of genres. Variety hones your skills with words as you launch into a different formats. It makes you think – and thinking is good. A poem today, an essay tomorrow, and focused writing for publication will bring zest and power to your work.

  10. Write like wild.  Just let the ideas flow, the words come, the sentences self-generate. You will astound yourself with your knowledge and writing possibilities.

© Gini Cunningham (adapted from her book, The New Teacher’s Companion: Practical Wisdom for Succeeding in the Classroom (ASCD). In addition to her writing, Gini is an author, workshop leader, and consultant who provides education for educators. Through her consulting work, she provides (and guarantees): Full, undivided focus on your work, straightforward feedback and much more!  Contact her at:

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