Word-Dredging Techniques

18 April

Word-Dredging Techniques

It's nothing privy, I just have a thing for words; and because today is National Literature Day (it's not), I've filled this post with some word-relevant odds-and-ends. They're designed to facilitate creativity, alleviate writer's block, and inspire.

• A kettle of hawks, an army of frogs, a destruction of cats—supposedly all collective nouns. Those ones, they check out. But a vomit of goblins? A cuckpowder of bullfinches? Really? No thanks Wikipedia, I'll pass.

• Do you ever find yourself yammering away on the phone, flying 85mph along the interstate? If someone sends you a text message while you're driving, do you attempt to peck a response? All of that is bad—very, very bad. The same applies to using a computer for the purpose of writing something creative. There are so many distractions—MySpace, e-mail, anything Google, blogs, YouTube, Quake 3—that using your standard word-processor has the same potential of a 10-car pileup.

And so I present Dark Room. A distraction-free writing environment.

It's simple, it consumes the entire screen, and personally, I think it really pulls off that 1980s monochrome monitor guise with impeccable panache. All exaggerations aside, it's a swell little program and you should check it out.

• The thesaurus on my desk at work is beaten, discolored, and smells like a wet dog. Sometimes that's just not what I'm in the mood for; there's no way it could possibly facilitate creativity. That's why I'm a fan of Visual Thesaurus, a service that maps the relevancy of words' synonyms, and good ol' Thesaurus.com, a more extensive and visually-lackluster word authority.

• High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI) has nothing to do with words; instead, it is a composite of techniques that has recently blown up all over the web. If you've somehow managed to evade this not-so-new and eerie style of photography, then HDR crème will fix that for you. I don't like it for the same reason I don't like 1080p televisions, because it's uncomfortable to look at; it either too accurately represents the real world, or it fails miserably at it. Regardless, if this was 1600s Salem, I'd claim witchcraft.

TAGS: Copywriting