A thesaurus. Yes, I know a groaner, but it was a better joke than the one I opened up with last time.
How many times have you looked at a post and just thought "gosh, this guy only knows like seven words..... and two of them are 'shot' and 'cut.'" Don't lie, you have before. Yes, and I have too. Sometimes even at my own work I would (and have) looked back, shaking my head and said, "mmm, mmmm, mmmm... what was this guy thinking?" I am my hardest critic, I will tell you that strait up. In college, my first year was hell, I lost over 20 lbs because I stressed so much over being perfect and making the best grades. (For the record, I still make some of the best grades with an A-B average).
However, that perfectionist tendency rolls over a lot into my writing. Even for school, writing a mini analysis, I will sit down and ask myself two questions, "1) What am I writing about? 2) How can I make it so sexy the teach has to give me an A?" And the answer that often comes up is this: use a broad vocabulary.
Allow me to explain. The average English speaker has 20,000-35,000 words in their vocabulary alone. My girl friend says I am extremely chatty and contend that my English vocabulary has to have at least 40,000 words. But that's her opinion.
Using this wide array of words, you can certainly amaze anyone, especially in a context such as this, where the main form of conveying an idea is through--that's right--your vocabulary! Let me give you an illustration:
Master DasAusome spun around and cut the droid in two.
Ok, so that is pretty strait forward, right? Master DasAusome spins around, cuts a droid in two. Makes sense, no ambiguity, all in all, is a pretty good sentence. BUT it could be so much better. Watch as I change the underlined words:
Master DasAusome twisted around and sliced the droid in two.

Master DasAusome twirled around and severed the droid in two.
Master DasAusome whirled around and cleaved the droid in two.

Master DasAusome reeled around and slashed the droid in two.
Master DasAusome weaved around and chopped the droid in two.
I could literally go on for pages. Why? Because of the English language we have the most synonyms for these two words and their combinations are practically limitless. You know why this is amazing? Because most people here have either a light saber, vibroblade, knife, or some other bladed melee weapon (and as a practicing martial artist) one of the most amazing and common moves is to twist or spin in some way into your attack to garner momentum.
I know what you are thinking. First off, this guy does a lot of stuff. Second, How can I add this into my writing? Yes, I am a jack-of-many trades, but that is not the point right now. ;) How you personally can widen your writing vocabulary is up to you. Here is what I do when I post anything, on here, on a blog, or for school:
1) Initial draft. This usually starts with me writing on the header "THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH THIS" then writing down a sketch of how I want it done.
2) break time. I do something else, write something else, read, eat, drink, run a mile, lift weights, or talk to my girlfriend. All that matters is I get some space between me and that ugly first draft.
3) surgeon's knife. I take a critical eye and scalpel to my writing, cutting away needless phrases, words, and even re-writing whole paragraphs. In a psychology paper that I just submitted, I had to re-write an entire page. Yeah fun stuff. I look for words I have said too much, like "cut" or "slash" or "shoot" too often. I have a personal rule of threes; for each action (shoot, cut, stab, etc) it has to be done at least three times before I can say that specific word again. e.g: "bash" then "ram" then "slam" then "bash" again. Or in my paper, "spouse" then "loved one" then "life partner" then "spouse" again. I think you get the picture.
4) Formatting. Add the links, do-dads, format in MLA or APA, or just color the text. You do your thing.
5) Final reading.
6) Submission.
Yes, it takes five times longer, but as the saying goes, "you can't rush art" and writing, for sure, is an art, if there ever was one. Take it from a guy who literally has it built into his DNA to HATE reading and writing. It is a gift and an art. Take heart, fair reader, if I can sojourn into this, you can too, and then you can even surpass me by the laws of genetics!
So go out there, use your skills. Flex your vocabulary. You will find it challenging at first, I am sure, but then it will gradually get easier and before you know it, second nature! Go forth an conquer, and happy posting!