By now, you have not only developed a writing routine, but you have also experimented with your writing environment. Right? If you haven’t, please refer to the first two posts in this series of chipping away at Writer’s Block.
So, here’s the million-dollar question: How do you create fresh, new, and invigorating content for your writing?
Most folks don’t associate the word “invigorating” with writing. Come to think of it, when I hear the word “invigorating”, I think of diving into a fresh cold water spring on a hot summer day. That certainly sounds inviting, doesn’t it?
Well, that is exactly how your readers should feel when they read what you wrote. They should feel refreshed after reading what you wrote. They should feel amazed. Like they have gained something valuable from you that they could have never received on their own.
So, let’s discuss three things you can do this week to generate, fresh, new, and invigorating content.
First of all, you need ideas. Great content always comes from great ideas.
Just to refresh your memory. There’s no need to write what someone else has already written. No need to argue the same arguments. No need to regurgitate what’s been written before. Got it?
STEP 1: Make lists.
In 20 minutes, make a list of at least 75 things about your topic. I know, this sounds ridiculous. However, forcing yourself to come up with an seemingly infinite (not really) amount of ideas in a very short period of time forces you to reach inside your heart and mind and find what is within. The beginning of your list will most likely be the most obvious things that everyone else will have thought of too. It’s the end of the list where the real creativity reveals itself. Once your list is complete, go back and scratch off every point that you’ve heard, read, and spoken about before. And, write about the most unusual and exciting things you’ve come up with.
STEP 2: Argue for and against your topic.
Now, arguing for and against a topic seems to assume that there are only two sides to a story. Actually, there are three, or five, or maybe even more. Force yourself to come up with as many angles as you can. Do this on your own before without doing any research or reading what anyone else has to say. Force yourself to come up with a list of ten arguments. Some of them may overlap and that’s okay. Now, pick the best five and write cogent arguments for all of them.
STEP 3: Brainstorming.
Brainstorming involves connecting your mind to other minds (but not like Mr. Spock)! Pick a friend, neighbor, family member, even your kids to learn new perspectives and insights about or related to your subject matter. Chances are that there will be several that you have not considered. You are not looking for arguments here, per se, but rather as many ideas related to your subject matter as you can. At this point, we can’t write in a vacuum and need to know what other minds are thinking. Plus, because we are already subconsciously influenced by a variety of factors and rules that we impose upon ourselves, it can be refreshing to listen to others. This is an exercise in open-mindedness. So, we need to listen with a third ear. List the new insights you have gained and do a timed 5-minute writing about each.
If you have followed this advice for the past three weeks, you surely have broken out of your writer’s block conundrum. Post a comment and let me know about the new and interesting things you have been writing about!