Monday, June 13, 2011


I read somewhere that NASCAR drivers and jet pilots use video games as a way to sharpen their skills in their free time. Whether it's a rookie driver playing a game so he's more familiar with a certain track or the pilot playing a realistic simulator game to prepare for flight, they all just want to be the best at what they do. Maybe the article I read overplayed the roles these games play, but I can tell you that I play games to try and sharpen my skills as a writer.

Some of them are as simple and obvious as vocabulary games you can find online. I also love the classic board games like Scrabble and Boggle. I'm pretty sure those didn't surprise you. Here's one that might though: Hidden Object games on the computer. Now most of these are fairly simple, but they teach me observation skills (very important for a writer) and clarity in language.

You may wonder why I think a game like that can help me learn better word choice. They often give you lists and you have to find the objects. So, if I write the word "club" what do you picture in your mind? A nightclub? The symbol from a deck of cards? A golf club? A billy club? A bat-shaped weapon a cave man might use?

Imagine if you read a sentence in a book like, "She saw a club on the hill." With no context it could be confusing what the author was talking about. Let's be honest, there are a lot of words in our language that can be ... less than clear. The game is a good reminder to me to be careful about my word choice. 

I do a lot of things to try and make me a better writer. I have to admit that reading and playing games are the two I enjoy the most. :o)

What about you? Do you do anything special to help sharpen your skills? Any favorite hobbies?

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