One of the worst things we can do as writers, even worse than not writing at all, is to keep writing the same things over and over again. It’s easy to want to stay in your literary comfort zone, especially if you’re an expert in your “field” (you could be, literally, if you’re a nonfiction writer) and want to take advantage of that to help others understand the topics you know and love.
Writer’s block, or as we prefer to say here, creative barriers or brain drought, probably plagues a lot of writers because they don’t realize they keep trying to recycle the same kinds of ideas and make them new and exciting, which isn’t always an easy thing to do. Smart writing involves a lot of time spent researching, experiencing and connecting with others.
Sometimes, to upgrade our writing skill, we need to take the extra time to nurture our brains. Today, let’s go over how to do it.
Never stop learning
While a standard education is a luxury worth appreciating, sometimes by the time we make it through our last year of college, we’re just over it. We don’t always get the chance to learn everything we want in school. By the time we’ve met the minimum requirements to qualify for some kind of grown-up job, there aren‘t always resources or time to master those skills or learn those concepts we’ve always wanted to. But it’s worth trying.
Don’t let your desire to learn die out, especially if you plan on refining your writing style in your free time. You’d be surprised how those little things we learn doing this or that eventually come in handy when working on a writing project. The more background knowledge you have, even about those seemingly meaningless things, can play an important role in enhancing the credibility of your writing.
Write about things that intrigue you
This doesn’t mean you have to stick to writing about what you know best. This ties nicely into the previous point: to write, your mind needs constant stimulation, just like your heart needs consistent exercise to continue functioning correctly. If there’s a topic you want to incorporate into a story because you’re really interested in it, you might be tempted to shy away from it because you’re not an “expert.”
Write about it anyway! Do your research, obviously; don’t just make things up on the spot. Gather that knowledge you need to include that subject matter in your story and then go with it. Sometimes the best way to test your understanding of a subject is to explain it to someone else, and writing can exercise this skill and refine your style at the same time. It’s a win-win.
Surround yourself with interesting people
And where do you find these people? Interesting places. Spending time with friends and family is important; even more so if they’re the kinds of people who constantly challenge your thinking and expose you to a variety of opinions and experiences. That saying, you’re in the wrong room if you’re the smartest one there? It’s true. Especially if you want to enhance your writing and expand your horizons.
If you don’t feel your usual social circle is enough to stimulate your mind, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to hang out there. But there’s also nothing wrong with joining other circles, whether online or in your surrounding real-world community, any place you can openly discuss any topic and expose yourself to different ways of thinking and facts you might never have even thought to look up on your own.
Writing is more than typing words out on a computer. If you want to go all in, and diversify and multiply your ideas, your mind needs attention, and your writing, in time, will reflect the amount of care and affection you give it.
Image courtesy of Flickr.