4 Ways To Make Sure Your Writing Is Not Getting Stale
When you’re creating a lot of content, it can get a bit…stale.
I have written well over 100,000 words on Medium. That’s a lot by anyone’s standards. And it has meant that I spend a good 6 days every single week writing and crafting posts and doing my best to communicate something of value to the people who give me their time.
I love doing it. But there are times when I have almost quit. I’ve almost quit because I have felt my work getting stale, turning dull and difficult and an all together depressing shade of grey. I always pull through, and I always rediscover my passion for it — but if you find your writing becoming stale, don’t panic. It really isn’t the end of the world, and there is a way to keep it fresh.
These are some of the ways I try and avoid becoming stale:
1. I Read. Widely.
Folks who know me understand that I am a voracious reader. I consume books like crazy, and I always have at least five on the go. When you’re a blogger who just reads other blogs, or even just reads books about blogging, you’re going to become stale because there are no new ideas entering into your consciousness.
If you can break out of that by exploring new ideas and concepts, you’ll be able to remain interesting, textured and new. Right now, I’m reading The Tao Te Ching, a book on the making of Star Wars, an analysis of Napoleon’s principles of war and a Batman graphic novel.
Here’s what Jeff Goins has to say about it:
Writers need to read. A lot. Magazines. Books. Periodicals. And so on. They need to grasp the art of language, to appreciate the finer points of words. As they read, they should jot down ideas and capture thoughts as they come.
Nothing inspires a writer like reading someone else’s words.
As a writer, you’ll find yourself hitting plateaus and roadblocks when you aren’t reading. You’ll run out of words, if you’re not regularly being challenged through books and other material.
I dedicate at least an hour of every single day reading.
And so should you.
2. Remember That You Don’t Have To Re-invent The Wheel Every Time.
I think one of the biggest dangers here is that many bloggers and writers feel stale if they’re not completely re-inventing their craft every time they hit publish, and because they start to feel stale, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy — and all of a sudden their work becomes exactly what they were afraid it would be.
When I was starting out, a lot of people used to yell at me for being unoriginal.
They’d say I was pretty shit because they’d read similar work before, and they could ‘t see the passion that I had for what I was doing. Well, honestly, the only thing that changes is the price of gold. You can’t create entirely new things, it’s just not possible at this point.
I think we should use the word “Creative” wholly in place of the word “Original” because it’s a more accurate description.
3. You Need To Publish To Stay Fresh.
I know too many folks who are creating content without publishing it. They don’t love it, they feel it’s imperfect, so they just never get it out the door. That’s a crying shame, and it is going to deprive a lot of writers of the best feeling in the world — hitting “publish” on a post and the haters be damned.
But the thing is, if you don’t publish, and publish regularly, your work will suffocate in isolation. You need the new perspective only others’ eyes can give you, if you truly want to keep your work fresh. Anything else is going to contribute to a slow death, and leaving your best work to languish is a sure way to never come up with your best work again.
This is from the good folks at Copyblogger:
Once you hit publish, there’s no hiding. Your work is out in the world where anyone with an accurate link can find it.
That topic you have strong opinions about? It will creep its way into your post, your video, your podcast, and before you know it, the whole world will know how you feel.
4. Don’t Always Write For The Clicks. Write For You.
I have fallen into this trap too.
Writing just for the clicks.
Just for the attention.
Just for the leads.
It never ends well.
You have to write from a place of passion, or people can easily tell that you’re phoning it in or that you just want something from them. Once they know that, the game is over. You have to care. You have to want to do it. You have to pass my “End of the World” test.
If the world came to an end and you were the only person left — would you keep writing, even though nobody would ever read it? I would.
Is there another way to stay fresh I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll update the post with the best ideas (and a link crediting you).