Still Flipping After All These Years: A Testament to my Favorite Writing Tool

Writer’s Digest was my first dip into the “writing world.” I read it as a teenager, starting with Lawrence Block’s column. I loved the articles on language especially.

Of course, the next step was purchasing writing books. Conveniently, Writer’s Digest offered a myriad of them. (Recently someone returned my copy of Now To Write And Sell Your First Novel.” I told them to keep it (it had been years!) Happily, I no longer need it.

But there’s one Writer’s Digest book that I still need, and always will.

I purchased The Writer’s Digest Flip Dictionary many years ago, and it became indispensable to me. I would drink coffee in the morning while “flipping” for “le mot juste.”

It’s such a great feeling to find that word and plug it into my manuscripts. My friends call me “the verb queen” – and my valet is The Flip Dictionary (its name has been shortened since I purchased it.)

I’ve recommended it to so many people over the years. Last month I was at a retreat, and I told a new friend about it. She mentioned it to someone else I’d told, and they said, “Oh yeah, I have two copies. One for upstairs, and one for downstairs.” It turns out everyone at the retreat had bought it on my recommendation.

I owned a hard cover copy, which my kids scribbled in – due to admiration or jealousy, I’m not sure (probably the latter.) I’d used it so much that the front cover was detached. When Hurricane Sandy was coming, I forgot my book on the coffee table in my living room. It was destroyed, along with my entire first floor. I wrote about the loss of my Flip Dictionary on Facebook, and one of my friends bought me a new one. It’s here, by my side right now. Alas, no scribbles. But I thank God for its beautiful words.


The indispensable writer's tool. Desert island material!

The indispensable writer’s tool. Desert island material!


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