Some of the greatest discoveries happen by accident.
In general, you don’t learn new things by sticking to the same schedule, the same method of doing things, forever.
Growth, as a writer, happens when you try something new. Even though your discomfort with uncertainty might tempt you not to try.
I’m going to be completely honest with you. Half the time, I’m still not sure whether or not a post on this blog will perform well — whether or not you’ll love it or hate it, resonate or disagree with it. I have a pretty good idea of what doesn’t work. But most of the time, the experimental posts I expect to bomb end up being the ones everyone shares.
So what generally happens in publishing is that you publish more of the things people like. This works really well on a topic-by-topic basis. Except everything I publish here falls under the same topic (writing). I have to dig deeper. And I also have to experiment more often.
The “listicles” (for lack of a better name) I post every weekend started out as a few experimental posts. They’re generally less than 200 words, pretty generic, and not the usual style I tend to stick to when crafting posts here.
I never would have figured out you like them if I hadn’t dared to post a few, knowing full well they might perform worse than anything else I’d ever published.
Sometimes, you have to take these kinds of chances. Think outside the margins. Migrate away from what you think you know works or doesn’t work, and try something else. A new format. A different perspective. Something unlike anything you’ve done before.
You just can’t know unless you take that leap of faith. Chances are, you’ll land on something that works. A path that takes you to heights you never expected to reach.
When I started Novelty Revisions, I had no idea what was going to work. I basically tried everything until, gradually, I figured it out. Something finally clicked.
Even if you’ve already found a format and style that works, you can grow even more if you branch out. People are always flustered by change, but they’re more receptive to it than both parties realize. If they like what you’re creating, they’ll stick around. If they don’t, they won’t.
Be bold. Try new things within the comfort of your writing space. You’ll be glad you at least tried.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.