Keeping Awake Your Writing Inspiration
Keeping Awake Your Writing Inspiration
Practical lessons to keep you writing content
By Rossi Ignatova – SilverSense (www.silversense.biz)
When you are a crafter and a maker, writing – although useful in terms of marketing and creative expression, often takes a back seat and maintaining a regular blog or stream of articles can easily become a tedious chore. Read on about the lessons I learned from three teachers. One classical author, one fictitious character and one bestselling writer all came to my rescue to help me not only awake my writing muse, but to keep her active on an everyday basis.
I am sure that every article and book you have read on marketing your handcraft business has suggested at some point (or simply drummed it in your head) that you must start writing content in order to:
- spread the word about your creative endeavour;
- share your industry knowledge; and
- attract a bunch of die-hard followers who read with interest your musings and writings and slowly but surely not only fall in love with your product, but start purchasing it in great numbers.
Writing a blog for these purposes is great, but it takes some time and some effort. You can start by writing about your creative process and about what you do on a daily basis (to give your readers a tantalizing glimpse into your soul as a creator), but as it happens only too often, after a month or two your inspiration runs a little dry and then a little drier, until you are left with a blog which hasn’t been updated for ages and after months of deliberation (or shall we say, procrastination), you post the dreaded update: Sorry I haven’t been posting for (insert number) months, but…
So, how to go about not only awakening, but actually keeping awake your writing inspiration? How to generate a steady flow of ideas that will help you develop engaging posts on a regular basis? And isn’t it too much work without an immediate return on investment? And is it really worth the effort?
You see, I feel your pain. Writing and me go a long way back together. I trained as a linguist and then spent some happy years working as a reporter on a daily newspaper, but somehow I find it hard to put pen to paper. There is always something more urgent or requiring less effort to do just when my good intentions have stationed me in front of the computer ready to explore, develop and commit in writing my newest idea.
Still, I want to write and to make it happen, I decided to look for a practical approach to this elusive process. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear, goes the old saying. I guess I was more than ready, as I got not one, but three teachers altogether. Let me share with you what they taught me and how, thanks to their lessons, my inspiration awoke and I wrote and got five articles published on highly esteemed blogs already.
Write down the ideas that pop in your mind
Believe it or not, my brand new office faces the home of Charles Dickens. Every time that I lift my eyes from the computer screen and look through my arched window, my gaze is invariably attracted by the blue door of the formerly N2 on Ordnance Street in Chatham, where the writer spent 5 of his childhood years.
In the 200th year since the birth of the greatest Victorian novelist, this must surely be the best view to inspire my own writing ambitions. Dickens was a prolific writer – it is said he was always working on a new chapter and this (as it was long before the advent of the computer) was done in spidery handwriting.
Looking at an image of an original manuscript of the writer got me thinking – you don’t create 989 named characters without taking a careful notice of your observations and ideas. So, I started paying attention to the fleeting thoughts that would pop in my mind at any time of the day, and even better, got myself an old fashioned pen and notebook and started writing my ideas down as and when they decided to pay me a visit.
Before I would have simply thought – hmmm, this idea sounds quite exciting, let me make a mental note of it for future exploration and then I would promptly forget all about it. Now, as I am happily leafing through my notebook, I read and re-read my own spidery handwriting – pages and pages of ideas, which I can now explore and develop at my leisure, instead of feeling panicky in front of the blank computer screen whilst forcing myself to write about something.
So, lesson learned – notice your ideas. Jot them down as they happen. As once committed to paper, they will keep returning to you for future exploration, instead of simply evaporating and perhaps visiting a more committed writer.
But, where to get all these ideas, I hear you asking? Well, the teacher appeared and the lesson she taught me was to
Read and pay attention
‘”I read a lot of things. I mean, you never know where the big ideas could come from. You know?”
You remember the film Working Girl with Melanie Griffiths? It was repeated on TV a few nights back and these are the exact words she uses in a scene to explain how she generates her ideas. So, considering the happy, self-affirming ending, I decided to take Melanie’s (or actually her character Tess in the film) advice at heart and see what happens.
It’s not like I don’t read lots (and then some), but I started reading with a different intention. And when I say – read, I don’t mean just books of fiction, I mean – everything: newspapers and magazines, blog posts, social networks updates, even adverts in the London transport system. Suddenly, wherever I turned, there was content and instead of simply glimpsing at it, I started asking myself the same question: How is this applicable to my writing and to my business?
Well, often the answer was: not applicable at all. But in a number of cases, it inspired my creative thinking and helped me generate ideas which I then diligently jotted down with my pen on paper. For example I developed an outline about time management for crafters after reading an article about a Hollywood celebrity who, apparently, is very good at compartmentalizing her working and personal lives.
It was just a quick piece of star-related gossip mentioning in brief the reason she was dumped by her latest lover. Still, the use of the term “compartmentalize” made such an impression, that I wrote my article outline in 10 minutes and it is now being developed.
So, lesson learned – get reading: industry publications, online magazines, offline resources and papers. You never know where the next big idea will come from, so actively search for it in all sources of information.
I hear you saying: all this idea spotting and jotting down on paper is good, but what do you do about the actual writing? Here came my third teacher and his words were simple
Write 1000 words each day, if you are an aspiring writer
Now I am not a big Stephen King’s fan, I am afraid, as I am too much of a scaredy cat to revel in his creations, but the guy has written close to 50 novels, so surely knows what he is talking about. And so I embraced his advice and started to make an effort.
No matter how busy and manic my day could be, I make a conscious effort to put some time aside to develop my lovingly jotted down ideas into structured pieces. Sometimes, it’s easy and the recommended 1000 words take me an hour. Sometimes, it’s difficult and after hours of writing and re-writing, I find myself stuck at word 567.
Still, it is instilling in me the discipline to do things from start to finish and I am actively missing the tapping of keys on the days that life gets too busy and I somehow don’t make it.
So, to summarize: at the start you have to nurture your ideas and pay them attention. Like little babies – the more you smile at them and the more you make eye contact, the more they will smile back at you and want your love and dedication. Next, you need to expand your sources of inspiration and look for creative approaches to information in every piece of content. At the end, simply get writing. It won’t always be award-worthy, but it will help you on your way to develop articles for your blog and to submit copy to online and even offline publications.
Rossi combines her love for crafts, jewellery and beads with her interests in languages and communication. She runs SilverSense (www.silversense.biz) – a dynamic jewelry making supplies company providing you with gorgeous gemstones, freshwater pearls and Czech glass beads. Please connect with SilverSense on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SilverSenseLondon), Twitter (@silversense1) and on Google+ (https://plus.google.com/100194574406489853972/posts).