two drops of ink marilyn l davis dawn field

Writing Lessons From Viral Videos: Try And Try Again

By: Dawn Field


“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” Neil Gaiman

Try ’til You Succeed – Then Celebrate

Can you learn lessons about writing from the best of viral videos? Absolutely!

Here is a terrific video of a determined youngster trying to jump onto a waist-high platform in a training session. He’s tiny, the prop is big, he keeps falling, your heart goes out to him – especially when he finally succeeds!

This is an important metaphor to keep in mind about writing! Try and try again. Also, he’s not that far off his goal to start with. He just didn’t have the momentum to stick standing up – gravity was against him.

We all know the gravity of writing – it’s the time it takes to get ‘lift off’.Writing Lessons From Viral Videos: Try And Try Again marilyn l davis two drops of ink marilyn l davis dawn field

At its worst, it’s writer’s block and it’s best it’s not yet having all the right skills or just the right content to get published…keep striving like this little guy.

Routinely doing this feat of athletic prowess, readies him for harder tasks. This is but one step in his training and he certainly did a lot to get to this point.

There is an arc of experience, skill and practice and there is certainly an arc to writing.

My Baby Sleeps!

What about hilarious viral videos? Yes, those hold critical lessons as well! Here is a video of a dad putting his baby to sleep. He explains in an entertaining TED talk why the video went viral – it utterly captured the unexpected. What might have been a routine chapter in his video creation stream, he explains, became a viral win. The video is unique because his baby puts herself down to sleep – time and time again. It’s a special form of humor, as any parent will know. As he explains in his Ted talk, he expected to have trouble! Instead, he caught a total break. As he explains, just keep creating.

You never know when you’ll strike gold: a superb lesson for all writers. Click To Tweet

The video is an endearing glimpse into ‘How to Dad’ exactly because obviously the baby caught whiff of the game. She plays along, throwing herself down to sleep no matter what trick he tries. Her reaction makes for a very rare occurrence! Rare is a coveted badge in any story – people love the unexpected, unusual and extreme. All parents want a baby who sleeps on command and how few drew that winning lottery ticket?

Often, great writing captures some important truth, but perhaps in an unexpected way that makes it ‘sing’. The trials and tribulations of putting lively infants to bed sings out better because she is so beautifully compliant.

The Power Of Visual Metaphors

These examples demonstrate the power of visual metaphors, in the form of fun-to-watch, short viral videos, to offer unique views of the essential elements of writing craft.two drops of ink marilyn l davis dawn field

These elements contribute to these videos going viral in the first place — along with cute little-people doing amazing stuff.

Both emphasize the power of the adage ‘try and try again.’

Share Your Thoughts With This Community!

Have you seen a viral video with a great lesson for writers embedded in it? Please link it below in the comments and explain!



Bio: Dawn Field

Spot on humor: A genius example all writers can learn from two drops of ink dawn field

Dawn Field is a scientist now writing her second book for Oxford University Press. She has published over 50 articles on writing because she is fascinated by what makes great writing, the writing process, learning how writers create, and how fiction impacts society.

She loves reading book drafts at any stage of completion, brainstorming writing projects, and hearing about the diversity of writing experiences.

Connect with her to collaborate, or converse, at

Published posts on Two Drops of Ink:

1) Spot on humor: A genius example all writers can learn from

2) 50 Ways to Ensure no Editor Ever Reads Your Book

3) Herding Your Cats in Writing

4) Questions You Want From Readers

5) An Editor’s life: Why have only 3 Acts when you can have 7?

6) Talk Your Story out of You


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