Always Write with a Dictionary Open

This has become one of my best writing practices

Let it begin: everyone clamoring to explain why they don’t need to use a dictionary. They know how to spell. They know the meaning of words (or can figure them out based on context). They have spellcheck or Grammarly.

Yes — I’ve heard it all, and I still think everyone who writes should write with a dictionary open.

I’m not talking about writing emails. Just shoot off a reply and be done with it. Reread it first if you want to avoid dumb typos — but if you don’t have time for that, don’t worry about it. I’ll still judge you for it, but that’s your choice.

I’m talking about anytime you sit down to write an article, a blog post, a novel, a technical procedure — that’s when you should crack a dictionary.

Although these days I don’t do much cracking, just clicking. I now type “M” into my browser window and that’s all it takes for it to auto-fill There are many free or partially free dictionaries online now — just make sure you’re getting the version that aligns with your geographical variant of English (I am so sick of American writers using amongst — yeah, that’s not American English, folks).

I keep that window open whenever I start typing. And in the course of writing a 2,000-word article probably check four or five words.

Back to the scoffing — Inconceivable! I would never need to check that many words, I’m a far better wordsmith than this chick.

Hear me out.

I’m not just checking spelling

Although that does happen — you know those times when you type a word so often that the spelling just starts looking wrong? Yeah, a swift gander at a dictionary is a great way to put your mind at ease.

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