It's that time again! First Wednesday means insecurities as we join Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. We always manage to come up with something but maybe it will just eventually be a matter of rehashing the same old anxieties. Hmm! Do I sense an idea coming my way?
So what insecurities to bring up today? Let me delve back to my post from February 25th of this year. At that time I announced my intent to start a Wednesday series called "Ask Arlee" and requested that readers submit questions to which I might offer my solutions. Again I'll look at a question that I get a bit insecure about myself.
The question I'm going to address in this #IWSG installment comes from my blog buddy and highly creative A to Z Team member Jeremy from Retro-Z:
How to keep fresh with ideas, when your brain is on overload... because of life stuff?I think this is one of the all-time common insecurities that many creative people have. How do we keep coming up with new ideas? I think this is especially a challenge for anyone who has a big time success in some creative field from the onset and spends a lifetime trying to live up to their early success.
Most of us probably don't fit that situation, but if we're trying to come up with regular blog content, how do we keep it original and interesting?
Andrew Leon offers one aspect to the answer to this question in one of his recent posts. He recommends that we capitalize on who we are. Write from your inner self and use your personality. Even the most boring people can be interesting some of the time. Write about what you love and what you know best and you're starting from a good place.
But you say you need content that will keep readers coming back? Find ways to mix things up a bit and tell the old stories in new ways. One theory of writing fiction states that there are something like seven basic plots that writers can write about. Some theorists may vary on the number, but I think we can safely say that there are a limited number of general plot lines that we can use. Freshness comes with presentation--interesting locales, characters, and situations.
Here are a few suggestions about how to come up with fresh material that can make your writing stand out:
- Keep informed with current events and trends.
- Learn new things--read and research to stimulate your creativity.
- Listen to others--eavesdropping is great for helping develop better dialog and the stories and facts you may pick up from others can prompt good ideas.
- Use the "life stuff"--Develop what's happening in your own life into stories, articles, and blog posts. If you've got a problem undoubtedly someone else has had or will have the same problem and might learn from your experience.
That's a start, but this gives you a general idea. In fact I don't think there's a whole lot wrong with using the same idea more than once and just making it seem different. How many writers do this? I'd say more than a few.
And if the ideas don't come and nothing seems fresh, maybe you need a change of scenery for a while. Nothing wrong with taking a breather from what you've been doing or even making a career change. I guess that's what hobbies, vacations, and volunteer work are partly for.
Yeah, this is pretty simplistic, but Arlee is a simple kind of guy.
In Case You Missed It:
One of my recent blog posts was featured at NewsOK, the digital edition of the Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City. My thanks to Darla Lindauer for the recognition.
What do you do when you're stymied for new ideas? Do you ever get sick of what you're doing? What would you do with your life if you could do anything you wanted and not have to worry about your "life stuff"?