The Wordle I Was Looking For

Last spring my son introduced me to a website that quickly became my new favorite writing distraction. He learned about in school; “Beautiful Word Clouds.” It’s an art gallery of words.  It’s a handy writing tool, and my latest obsession.

It’s perfect for me because on some writing days I feel like my draft looks like I grabbed a bunch of words, scrambled them with a whisk, cooked them a little, chopped them up in haste, and threw them onto a page. Essentially, that’s what a Wordle is and they feel like a comforting friend who thinks exactly like me on tough writing days.

 To create a Wordle, you either type a bunch of text in the text box or cut and paste text into it and then click “go.” All the words get scrambled and in a few seconds they’re rearranged in a unique font and color scheme on a page like a cloud of words. All of the most used words will show up bigger than the rest of the words but commonly used ones like “the” are omitted. Unless I decide to print off a Wordle I’ve created, they can only be viewed one time or saved on the website’s gallery, but are difficult to find again because it appears that hundreds of Wordles are saved every minute.

 I create Wordles when I’m bored, frustrated, not in the mood to write, or I just need to be entertained. Thus, is especially useful for writers and word lovers, and is a quick creative outlet for me. I can do one, actually a bunch, and finish them in one sitting, unlike many of my varied unfinished “creative” projects.

Sometimes I’ll enter an entire column I’m working on to see how much I’ve used a specific word because it’ll stand out. I’m always surprised at what other words I’ve used repeatedly in a draft.

Wordles are also great for brainstorming. I’ll type a mess of words related to a topic I want to write about and create a Wordle out of it, just because it amuses me. I also create themed Wordles about a subject I’m partial to, like “cowboys.”

So far, my favorite word cloud is a created mess of all the things I love from  a document I saved with my list that I periodically update. I also like to make Wordles with a mixture of words that describe a person I know regarding their personality, likes, and interests for their birthday card.

After creating a Wordle, you can choose to rearrange all the words so they’re horizontal, vertical, half vertical and half horizontal, or in random diagonal directions. This creativity tool is a fun and convenient time sapper. Trying out different fonts, and color schemes on a group of words is my favorite part. I also like making specific words appear bigger than the rest of the text by typing them repeatedly in the text box, like COWBOYS.

When I’m really struggling during a writing day–especially Mondays, I visit If my words aren’t mingling well in my column draft, I create a Wordle out of what I’ve got so far. It’s a delightful way for me to freshen up a stagnant writing day and is a great time waster when my writing energy is sluggish and I feel like all I’ve written is drivel.

Sometimes I go there on accident but lose track of time there on purpose. As a writer, this creative word tool invigorates my writing time when I feel stuck but it’s fun for everyone. Wordles are relaxing, interesting, entertaining, addictive and distracting, and you should do one.

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