By: Marilyn L. Davis
Igniting and Satisfying Your Reader’s Curiosity
“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
Readers are curious; either they need information, or they’re just interested in a topic. Over 40,000 search inquiries every second or over 3.5 billion searches per day help you understand that people are actively looking for information.
According to tests reported by Mae Rice, “Curiosity and “wanting to know” are synonymous, so it’s not particularly shocking that curiosity originates in the “wanting” region of the brain.
When you take a step back, though, these results are striking. We want to gain knowledge in much the same we want to eat to stay alive. We’re hard-wired to yearn for information. It’s no wonder we’re living in an information age — or that you’re reading a website called Curiosity.”
We’re All Excited About Something
Wanting to know and needing to know in our information age is simple; just Google, Bing, or Quora something, and you’ll find the how-to, studies, gain further understanding of your interest, or find entertainment.
What are readers looking for when they search? Some general topics that ignite the reader’s interest:
- Other people
- Famous people
- Good food, good books, good movies
- What is the market doing?
- How can I improve my finances?
- Why is the moon in Jupiter?
- Is there something I can do to help others?
- Why does my faucet leak?
- What is love?
- What is my purpose?
- How can I write better?
- Any question that sparks your interest
Frankly, it would be impossible to create an exact list for this post; however, you know what piques your curiosity as a writer.
Igniting the Writer’s Creativity and Curiosity
Our interest initially translates as an idea, further developed based on research, added links to the topic, and visually pleasing images, which will satisfy you as a writer and attract the right reader.
But to share that excitement with our readers, they have to find us. We have to give them clues that our post will meet their needs, provide them with information, or entertain them.
To find us, we have to write concisely to get their attention and ignite their interest. To do this, we must have:
- Titles that reflect their interest
- Summaries that capture their imagination or intention
- Original, value-added content
Don’t Try the Same Approach Twice
While we may have gotten loyal followers and readers, we cannot rest on our laurels; we’ve got to ignite their curiosity each time we publish.
How often do we trap ourselves thinking there is nothing new, and we are hesitant to write about the same subject? We create the illusion that the topic is saturated, or we cannot write about it differently. We fall into this type of faulty thinking when we don’t ask ourselves questions about the 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.
Sure, readers found you once, but readers will probably get bored if their return visit closely resembles the previous two. There’s nothing to satisfy their curiosity – they know what you’ll write.
This lack of passion for writing 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.
Forget the Formula
For example, I know that the storyline 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, be a curious writer. Question like a child, reason like an adult, and write like a sage.
Curiosity is Contagious
I certainly don’t believe that I write like a sage – all-wise and sharp each time. However, my curiosity means that I 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 know that it will get me closer to my goal of being a better writer, which goes beyond grammar, syntax, revising, and editing.
It’s taking the topic and giving readers an “Aha” moment in a how-to, a reason to reflect on their lives in a memoir piece, a brief moment of clarity that cultural differences do not negate human similarities or words that inspire another to become a better person or writer. Viewing our topic 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.
Curiosity Stimulates the Brain
Using our curiosity means our brains are active. Beyond feeling good from the dopamine, studies of older people found 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:
Our perspective doesn’t have to be unique. Others may share this viewpoint as well. What is distinctive is how we frame our view. It’s the specific choice of words, phrases, and images that make the post ours.
As writers, we can capture the subject from multiple perspectives and interpret it from our unique perspective and word choice.
Stop Comparing the Writing
When we’re curious about what others are writing on the subject and start doing our research, we sometimes begin 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, procrastination, and feelings of inadequacy.
Rather than be afraid to write from your perspective, look at how others write about the topic.
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 post have better images, videos, or other visuals?
When you think a subject is saturated with useful posts, look to see if certain aspects are overlooked or underdeveloped. Perhaps that is where your view could fill the void for readers.
Is Your Curiosity Ignited?
So, what are you curious about today? Can you translate that into an excellent post?
Contributing a guest blog to Two Drops of Ink gives us more information for our readers. Here are some of the benefits for you with a guest submission.
- Don’t have a blog? You can start your publishing career on our site.
- Want to increase your audience? When you submit a guest post, you’ll get exposure to our readers, and our shares on social media grow your audience.
- Need an additional platform for links to your site, writings, and books? Every guest post includes a bio that links to your sites, other writings, and your books. These links can increase your online presence and often translate into followers, readers, and sales.
If you need any of the above, consider submitting a post to Two Drops of Ink because I’m curious to learn more from others.
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