I collect words. And I keep lists of these collections in my notebooks. When I listen to people speak, read books, or think, I pause to consider the sounds and meanings of lovable and interesting words. Just this week I've been enchanted by Albuquerque and resonant. Last week I fell in love with seagull and periwinkle.
We are changed when we pay attention to words, and while collecting words focuses our attention on language-music, word collections also offer writing ideas.
Begin a list of favorite words in your own notebook. Think about words you loved as a little child, words that call up fabric names and kitchen words. Consider nature words or magical words. Write these down.
|A sample favorite word list with connections.|
Once you have a list, consider connecting pairs of words in surprising ways by drawing random lines between them. If you desire, share your list with friends or colleagues, each of you saving each other's favorite words as you wish. Or simply choose one word, place it atop a page, and write from it. You may find that the lines you have drawn will invite a curious connection that brings you somewhere new, as I did in the poem "Word Collection."
"Word Collection" by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Allow yourself to be surprised.
Collect words always. Words are the bricks of writing.
I am grateful to Rebecca Kai Dotlich for teaching me to make and share my favorite word lists as she learned from Myra Cohn Livingston. Pass it on. Pass it on.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is author of books including FOREST HAS A SONG, EVERY DAY BIRDS, READ! READ! READ!, DREAMING OF YOU, WITH MY HANDS, and POEMS ARE TEACHERS. Amy lives in Holland, NY with her family, blogs for young writers at The Poem Farm and Sharing Our Notebooks and posts on Twitter and Instagram as @amylvpoemfarm.
Enter our giveaway to win a free copy of Amy's book Read! Read! Read! by leaving a comment on any 2018 Go Poems post by 8:30AM on Saturday, April 6. Many thanks to Boyds Mills Press for sponsoring this giveaway.