As a writer it is important to know how to spell and use words correctly. Thus, a dictionary is supposed to be a vital tool for all authors. I, however, heartily disagreed. I hardly ever refer to it, although I keep one on my desk out of habit.
As a schoolgirl I never understood the logic of searching through pages and pages of a dictionary to find the correct spelling of the word I needed. If I couldn’t spell the word in the first place, how was I supposed to find it amid the thousands of words on the pages? Looking it up was a frustrating waste of time.
Today, I often use a thesaurus to help me. In my opinion, it’s much easier to use than a dictionary. By looking up a word’s synonym, (a word used in a like manner) it is easy to find the correct spelling or meaning. Just think about the word “synonym”…If you didn’t know how to spell it, how on earth would you go about looking it up? Try sinomin, or sinnamin. It would take ages to find it listed under words beginning with s.y.n.
In my novels, my characters often find themselves cruising on luxurious ships around the Mediterranean Sea. I constantly misspell MEDITERRANEAN, and my computer’s spell check function normally does not pick up the error. It allows MEDITERREAN. I solve the annoying problem by shortening the word and writing “he or she is sailing on the Med.” Another difficult word for me is congratulations. I spell it incorrectly most of the time, so I shorten it and resort to sending my “congrats” instead.
If I can’t think of a way to shorten a word, I use my thesaurus to find a similar word. For instance, if I’m not sure what spelling to use to describe a huge body of water, (as in the ocean was “immense or emmence”); I look up a similar word like massive or vast. Immense is listed so I know that’s the right choice. Another example is if I’m trying to spell cockamamie or harebrained, I look up crazy, and there it is. It’s a fun way to find the right word and I often find a better one.
But to let you in on a little secret – the best time saver for correct spelling every time is to put away the dictionaries, the thesaurus, and the computer. Then sit back with a satisfied smile on your face and say aloud “Hey Siri or Alexa, how do you spell XXXX(whatever)?” You’ll get the right answer right away with no hassle. It’s so simple, so easy. But, a word of caution, don’t burn your dictionary just in case you lose your wi-fi. But, as long as you have Siri or Alexa, you’ll always be a world class speller, with no need of a cumbersome dictionary.
Until my next inspiration…ciao.