Igniting the Inquisitive Reader

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.—”Old Man’s Advice to Youth: ‘Never Lose a Holy Curiosity.'” LIFE Magazine (2 May 1955) p. 64” ― Albert Einstein

Ignite and Satisfy Your Reader’s Curiosity

Readers are curious; they either need information or they’re just interested in a topic. When you consider that there are 40,000 search inquiries every second on average, or over 3.5 billion searches per day, that helps you understand that people are actively looking for information.

They want and need a how-to, education, further understanding, or they just want entertainment.  There are some general topics that readers are curious about:
• Other people
• Famous people
• Good food, good books, good movies
• What is the market doing?
• Why does the economy suck?
• Why is the moon in Jupiter?
• Why do we pollute the earth?
• Why does my faucet leak?
• What is love?
• What is my purpose?
• How can I write better?

Frankly, it would be impossible to create an exact list for this post; however, as a writer, you know what piques your curiosity.

Our interest initially translates  as an idea into the draft, and is further developed based on your findings, added links to the topic, and visually pleasing images, which will satisfy you as a writer and attract the right reader. However, before we can satisfy their curiosity, they have to find us. That means a catchy title, concise summary, and new, original, and value-added content. But, we  cannot rest on our laurels; they’ll just go flat, and the writing will suffer.

Igniting the Writer’s Creativity and Curiosity

Many times, we think there is nothing new under the sun, and we are hesitant to write about the same subject. We create the illusion that it’s been written about enough, or that we cannot write about it differently.

That is not true.

We fall into this type of faulty thinking when we don’t ask ourselves questions about the topic.

Sometimes, all it takes is one new fact to spark your creativity and help you write a more interesting post. 

Using our curiosity means our brains are active. It’s not only good for our thinking and creativity, but dopamine and serotonin are released and that registers as a pleasant feeling. In addition to creativity, and a pleasant feeling, in studies of older people, those who remained curious lived longer than those in the study group who identified as satisfied with their level of awareness. When we are curious about a subject, we view it differently. We look for the:

  • Who
  • What
  • Why
  • When
  • Where
  • How

Our perspective doesn’t have to be unique. Others may share this viewpoint as well.
What is distinctive is how we frame our perspective. It’s our choice of words, phrases, and images that make the post ours. As writers, we can capture the subject from multiple perspectives and interpret the topic from a point of view that is uniquely our own.

But sometimes, when we’re curious about what others are writing on the subject, we start comparing.  While all of us would like to present our information in the best possible manner, comparing ourselves to other writers can create one of the main reasons for writer’s block – perfectionism and the fear of inadequacy. Rather than be afraid to write from your perspective, look at how others are writing about it .

Flipboard, with over 34,000 subjects, is a gold mine for writers. These articles give writers an opportunity to learn more about a topic, but just as importantly, see which perspectives coincide with ours, or if a particular aspect of the subject is under-reported and perhaps we could write an article to fill the void for readers. When you think a subject has been written about well, look to see if there are other aspects of the subject that are overlooked or underdeveloped.

That may just be a niche or category that needs your writing. When we read articles by others, we should pay attention to:

1.What are others writing about the topic?

2.Are all perspectives adequately explored?

3.Was the article well written?

4.Did the article have better images, videos or other visuals?

When we are curious about the topic, we view it differently; we can then capture the subject from multiple perspectives and add just the right elements to bring a fresh perspective to an old topic.

A Rehash Doesn’t Ignite or Interest Anyone

I think too many writers believe that because an earlier post they wrote did well with views and comments that they found the “formula”, so they continue to write, format, and publish the same information in the same fashion. How boring.

Sure, readers found you once, but if their return visit closely resembles the previous two, readers will probably get bored. There’s nothing to satisfy their curiosity – they know what you’ll write. This lack of passion for the writing just smacks of complacency in my opinion.

Some of you may think that sounds harsh, however, how many times do you want to read the same thing? When the writer isn’t curious, but just posting to satisfy a deadline or word count, the writing can seem uninspired, dull, and repetitious. For example, I know that the story line is the same on what used to be a favorite TV show:

1. There will be a heinous crime
2. Suspects will be interviewed
3. Clues will be found
4. The killer will be caught
5. The legal system will usually prevail

That was the formula.

And frankly, some nights I would pick sleep over Stabler. Eventually, I just gave up watching because I knew what was going to happen, and it didn’t matter if the crime was slightly altered, the formula remained the same.

Don’t let that happen to your writing.

If you think your writing has gotten tedious and boring, then it might be time to expand your circle of influence, those areas of your life where you have control. If you’re going to label yourself as a writer, then write, but before you write, challenge yourself to be a curious writer. Criss Jami sums up my belief in getting better at writing with the following quote:

“Question like a child, reason like an adult, and write like a sage.”

I certainly don’t believe that I write like a sage – all-wise, learned, and sharp each time. However, my curiosity means that I do study how to write more effectively, distinctly, and purposefully. Will this curiosity and study translate into a “viral” post tomorrow? I have no way of knowing that, but I do know that it will get me closer to my goal of being a better writer.

___
Igniting the Inquisitive ReaderBetter writing is not just grammar, syntax, and editing. It’s taking the topic and giving readers an “Aha” moment in a how-to, a reason to reflect on their lives from your memoir piece, a brief moment of clarity that cultural differences do not negate human similarities, or your words may inspire another to become a better person or writer.

So, what are you curious about today?

Can you translate that into an excellent post? Don’t have a blog? Then consider submitting the post to Two Drops of Ink, because I’m curious to learn more from others.

 

Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

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16 comments

  1. Hi Marilyn, this post really drew me into examining the research aspect of writing. I’ll be honest here. There are so many value bombs in this post that I have read it over many times. The more times I read it, the more I feel a need to push myself. I followed some of the external links you added and found them useful. It’s interesting to me how you could give a topic assignment to five individuals and receive five different perspectives back. The creative aspect of what I perceive is what inspires me to write from research that simulates my senses for the way I feel how my thoughts come together. I keep referring back to this post. The more I reread I end up finding another nugget of information I missed. Thank you for the time and effort you put into your writing.

    Like

    • Hi, John. So glad you followed some of the links and found them helpful. Which one do I choose when I find several that reinforce or add value to a post is a challenge sometimes. I think they are vital to the experience. Although not limited here by a word count, much over 1500 and some quit reading, so a link to further their knowledge about an aspect of the post just makes sense.

      ‘Nuggets of information’ – thank for the kind words, John. I’ll keep writing if you keep reading. How’s that?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marilyn, thanks for inspiring us to dig deeper for the “Aha” moments. Sometimes they don’t happen during the first few paragraphs of writing a first draft. When they arrive, it makes putting our bottom to the chair worth it. Sometimes we just have to show up.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Like

    • Hi, Wendy. Ah, the bottom to the chair – I find myself there more and more. Thanks to comments like yours, I’ll remain. Thanks for the kind words, Wendy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marilyn, Curiosity is my most treasured writing partner! You make some wonderful points in this article. My blockage comes when I am no longer curious about a topic. I either need to pick another topic or find some new information. Thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Michelle. Updating with new links, better links, or simply reviewing our style and formatting keep our posts fresh. Curiosity can extend to those older posts as well. Had to do some housecleaning on some of my older ones just this week. Making the effort to practice what I preach. She smiles.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Some of those subjects writers have been tackling for eternity and they will continue to do so. There is not necessarily a definitive answer, just a view. All views are valid. I like the question, “Are all perspectives adequately explored?” I ask it all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Jayne. Thank you for the comment. Since we’re been writing for about 5,000 years, I don’t know that there is a lot that’s new under the sun, but how something is said is just as important as what is said, so I think with a little effort and creativity, an old topic might just seem new.

    Hope to see another post from you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh how I wish I had a dollar for every time I decided not to write about something because I thought it was “already done.” Thanks for a new way to approach this problem. I’ll start to rethink this in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

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