The easy way to spice up your writing and get more done
I have several friends who are digital nomads.
Tom Kuegler is in the middle of spending 3 months in Bali and the Philippines. While he’s there, he’ll be blogging and vlogging — and having the time of his life.
My friend and Facebook group partner Nicole Akers is with her family walking the El Camino trail this summer. She and her husband took their work along with them, stowing a laptop in their backpacks.
When they’re done, they’ll plan their next adventure.
I Should Be Jealous, But …
I am really jealous in a way.
I’m not resentful that they’re living their dreams. That’s the easy response when someone else is living a dream you’d like to live. I’m not giving in.
It’s a tempting devil, though.
Really, truly, and honestly, it’s all my fault.
Instead of being 100% audacious as an artist, I chose to settle. Settle for what pays the bills. Settle for what doesn’t rock the boat. Settle for doing mediocre, tastes-like-cardboard work that no one gives a damn about.
That is so wrong.
And you know what? I don’t have to keep on making that choice. I don’t have to keep living like that.
You don’t either, if you have up to this point.
Is it risky?
Will it be an adventure?
You know it will.
I’m about to show you how you can break the cycle of settling, playing it safe, and offering your readers writing that tastes like nursing home food.
Ready? Here are 10 fantastic ways you can shake up your writing practice right now.
Visit a coffee shop you’ve never been to before.
I tried this a few weeks back. To really make things interesting, I wrote about what it was like to write in a coffee shop while sitting in one.
This isn’t something I usually do.
If you go to Starbucks all the time, go to McDonald’s once. Write about how it feels to be there. Use whatever emotion you feel to write about something you planned to write.
I guarantee your words will have an unforgettable flavor.
Write in your closet.
I’ve had to do interviews in my closet at home.
Why on earth would I do that?
Because it was Saturday morning and nobody in my house was awake yet. I used the walls to muffle the sound my voice was making.
Maybe you can go in your own closet and pretend that there’s another world behind your clothes.
Then tell us what you see, hear, and feel when you let your imagination run wild.
Sit upside down on your couch.
I did this a lot as a kid.
It doesn’t take much to entertain yourself when there’s only 3 channels of TV.
I guarantee you this will give you a new perspective on the world around you.
The blood in your body will rush to your head.
Everything you see will be upside down.
You might even find yourself laughing when you do this.
Just quit before you get a headache, okay?
Then write what you saw.
Set up a tent outside and spend the night there. Or the afternoon. Or an hour.
Just take your writing tools with you.
If you’re really daring, take along non-digital tools like a pen and paper. Or maybe you write in longhand on your iPad with your fancy Apple Pencil.
The choice is yours.
Write at a different time than you usually do.
If you’re a morning person, write at night.
It might be just the thing you need to shake things up.
Oh, you write morning and night? Then write while you eat. Write while you take a walk. Write by speaking into your smartphone.
Do something totally out of your routine.
If you haven’t written regularly in a while, find 10 minutes every day to write something — anything. Even if it’s just to rant about how silly you think this idea is.
When you get those creative wheels moving, great things will start happening.
Break the rules.
We writers have tons of rules to live by, don’t we?
Get up an hour early to write every day. If you don’t, you can’t call yourself a writer.
Writers who don’t have time to read will never be great.
All writers should know Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. If you’re not reading this every year, you’ll never get anywhere.
What do all these rules have in common? They all take you on a guilt trip that never ends.
Well, it never ends if you keep indulging it.
Sure, you should read. Of course, you should care about style. But first and always, you should care about people and care about your art.
So just make some, will you?
And adapt the rules to suit your purposes. Or write some new ones. What works for you may not work for everyone.
It’s okay. Art is as individual as you are.
And don’t just write the same stuff other people do. Tell us what you think, what you’ve experienced, and what you would do or say.
That’s what will set you apart in a super crowded universe of writers.
Go to the park and just take it all in.
I did this a few weeks ago.
I walked around a big lake that had a paved walkway around it. I left my phone in my pocket. I looked at the trees. I listened to the birds. I felt the breeze stroke my hair and kiss my cheeks.
It was magical.
I thought, “Wow, is this out here? Have I been so busy I forgot there were birds, trees, and wind? I need to get out more.”
It’s good to get away from your routine every so often. And don’t just fill your time away with one intense activity after another. Slow down. Breathe. Find the beauty around you that you’ve ignored for so long. It might just open those creative spigots if you let it.
Sit in a parking lot across the street from your office.
Maybe you pretend you work there.
Write a story about life inside that building. Who works there? What do they do every day? Do they like their jobs are do they see it as drudgery? What do they talk about at the water cooler?
Don’t worry about whether you’re telling a true story. In the world of imagination, anything is possible. Let your thoughts play and have your pen capture it.
It’ll be fun to read later, I bet!
Write a few words in the middle of the night.
I hope you’re able to sleep all night.
I unfortunately, can’t seem to.
Rather than wallow in insomnia and toss and turn repeatedly, I’ll pull my phone off the night stand and write.
I might get into the zone and stay awake for two hours! But so what. I’ll get some writing done. I’ll dig into my soul to do it. And in the morning, I’ll have something to polish and publish.
You can, too.
Rant into a journal instead of watching TV.
I’m not saying you need to give up TV altogether.
But what if you cut back 20 minutes a day?
I’ve said that writing is therapy. When life is driving you crazy, you need a place to blow off steam, to uncap the stress you’ve bottled up and held onto all week.
When life is boring, writing can offer you a shot at adventure. Why watch someone else’s story when you can write your own?
Take time to write every day and the words will come easier whenever you write.
Now Quit Reading and Start Writing
I’ve just given you ten seeds you can use to write and create something worth sharing.
Isn’t that what we’re doing on Medium? We’re here because we have a message we must share. And we all want people to read our work and share it, don’t we?
You can only do that when you’re writing and sharing as often as you can.
Which one of these ideas will you use this week?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and find out how this works for you!
I’ve also created a space for you to share. If you’re on Facebook, come join us in the Tribe Builders Network, where writers help other writers share their work and build their audiences!