Writers are not machines. And I don’t believe, not even for a second, that machines can ever take over the role of writers. But machines are definitely giving writers a run for our money. So, if you’re serious about keeping the fire and passion about writing alive, here are a couple of things writers can do to change things up.
After 20-odd years of writing, I need inspiration to get me by on most days. The well can feel desperately dry on some days.
I imagine the most inspiring environments that will help conjure up the biggest ideas, pen down the most moving posts, snapshot the most poignant moments in my life, draw on emotions of being human that help change other people’s lives…you know, the big things.
The perfect environment to be in would be in a time and place where there are absolutely no distractions. It would simply be between me, my thoughts, and my imagination. I would also like to have a quiet, inner conversation with my personal life experiences. 🤣
The perfect environment would be me sitting on a beachfront villa after catching the sunrise, sipping on my morning coffee, listening to calming background music, wrapped up in my thoughts while nature envelopes and embraces me.
The reality is, most days at home, (read: every day) I am sitting in front of the computer after a long day of work, exhausted and brain dead.
It’s not the unrealistic reverie I have in mind.
That brings me back to my original idea of what being a writer is all about – being able to move emotional mountains with nothing more than words on paper. As I tried to write and speak from a platform above ground, trying to reach out to those who are seemingly below me, I realize that it was the wrong platform.
The large abstract style of writing either attracts a small, niche, already-interested crowd and not the ones who are really feeling the emotions I am trying to express.
That’s when I realized that my ambition to speak big and abstract was not going to reach the people I wanted to speak to.
The best form of emotive writing comes from being able to walk in the shoes of the readers. I sometimes forget that when I try to Shakespear my way through. I needed to be specific about the environment I was describing, every cloud and every tear, every shade of the color, and every gripping sensation.
When I write big and abstract, I have lost the plot. I am unable to describe the explicit details of the moments I am trying to write about.
That’s why most creative people cannot produce work when they’re in the midst of a noisy environment filled with distractions where there is a constant flurry of urgent messages, endless meetings, friendly chatter, disruptive engagements, and the likes.
I really need to block off time, if I cannot get to the unrealistic inner refuge I have in mind.
Perhaps that’s why some ideas hit you from seemingly out of nowhere when you’re bored or just in the bathroom. Because without all the noise, the ideas have more room to nudge their way through.
Creativity is a very sensitive and shy creature.
When I read this article about challenging yourself as a writer, something went off in my head. So, maybe, if you’re a writer like me, would like to try it too.
1 – Writing An Unfamiliar Topic or Genre
It’s NOT EASY! Priding myself as someone who has been able to hop in and out of genres because I’ve written for everything from ads to ebooks, I thought it would be a breeze. But going from sales and marketing material to a thriller was not the writing rave I was looking for.
But I am still trying. Maybe not a thriller but something else. Read more about writing using a writing prompt here.
2 – Choosing A Random Word as a Starting Point
I’ve had much better success with this! You could either pick up a magazine or book to find a random word and use it as a starting point. Or it could be a website or a prompt.
We often forget how impactful a single word is. For instance. One day, the premise was ‘elevator’ and I actually did a decent job. Hurray to me.
3 – Adopt a New Writing Routine
I’ve had less success with this one because after my work as a Digital Marketing Manager, my home has the biggest, irresistible appeal. Can you imagine after working a full day and wanting to go anywhere else to just write – like a nearby Starbucks?
What I did, however, was to change from writing in my home office to writing on the couch or balcony where there’s a gorgeous view of a golf course. And it did give my writing a wider latitude.
4 – Make a Change that Directly Impacts your Writing
It starts with a mindset. The SOP for starting a writing project, for me, has always been to build a skeleton, create a direction, draft, rewrite, edit, proofread, rewrite, proofread, edit, proofread…and maybe, final.
Starting with a different mindset or routine, I began with crafting longer skeletons instead of running Google searches, copy and pasting, and then extracting from whatever I can find in them and fact-checking.
Instead, I started with an overall picture and spent more time developing the direction. The result is I spent more time conceptualizing the writing and less time editing and rewriting! So, yes it worked.
I learned a fair bit when I got together with my other writer friends and discussed the pain and joys of writing to share with others in the field.
5 – Dedicate More Time Learning About Writing
It’s no secret that writers spend an insane amount of time researching and learning. This is the kind of behind-the-scenes people don’t see.
We read, write, idealize, conceptualize, experiment, analyze, revamp…so on and so forth. Some writers even spend time and money on signing up for writing courses to beef up their writing.
The truth is, writing for a personal blog is much easier than writing effective marketing material. My suggestion is to try writing something different. It’s not all that different from Point #1.
Read a different book and summarize the style, concept, and effectiveness.
If you sign up for a short course, it will also give you a new perspective. It would be like how an artist would go to a different location to find inspiration for their next work of art.
For me, I found a script template (for a movie or commercial) and tried reimagining everything. Man, it was a challenge. 🤯
There was a lot to take away!
After writing for decades, you may start feeling out of step or end up with something that would not pass the muster.
Every now and then, I suggest changing things up in the name of growth and development.
Give it a shot and keep the passion for writing alive! Admittedly, sometimes I am jaded about writing to make other people rich while sacrificing my love for the written word. That’s why it’s important to focus on why you love writing, growing your love and passion for it.
It’s not enough to just know how to string words together.