two drops of ink marilyn l davis ignite curiousity

Igniting the Inquisitive Reader

 

By: Marilyn L. Davis

 

two drops of ink marilyn l davis

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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. When you consider that there are 40,000 search inquiries every second or over 3.5 billion searches per day, that helps 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 just be entertained.

What are readers looking for when they search? Some general topics that ignite the reader’s interest:

  1. Other people
  2. Famous people
  3. Good food, good books, good movies
  4. What is the market doing?
  5. How can I improve my finances?
  6. Why is the moon in Jupiter?
  7. Is there something I can do to help others?
  8. Why does my faucet leak?
  9. What is love?
  10. What is my purpose?
  11. How can I write better?
  12.  Any question that sparks your interest

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

 

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. 

There is a release of dopamine when we are both curious and satisfying our curiosity

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 merely 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 ignite their interests
  • Summaries that capture their imagination or intention
  • Original, value-added content

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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 though do we trap ourselves thinking there is nothing new, 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. Click To Tweet

 

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:

  1. Who
  2. What
  3. Why
  4. When
  5. Where
  6. How

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 the topic from the point of view that is uniquely our own.

 

Stop Comparing the Writing

 

But sometimes, when we’re curious about what others are writing on the subject and start doing our research, 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, procrastination, and the feelings of inadequacy.

Rather than be afraid to write from your perspective, look at how others are writing about the topic and realize that your viewpoint and word-choice are what attracted your followers.

They like the way you write.

Flipboard is another gold mine for writers; there are over 34,000 topics. These articles allow writers to learn more about a question, but just as importantly, see which perspectives coincide with ours or if a particular aspect of the subject is under-reported. Perhaps that is where our view could fill the void for readers. 

When you think a subject has been written about well, look to see if other aspects of the issue or topic 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 post have better images, videos, or other visuals?

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. Click To Tweet

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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 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. Click To Tweet

 

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. Click To Tweet

 

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 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, 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.

 

 

 

So, what are you curious about today? Can you translate that into an excellent post?

Don’t have a blog? Then consider submitting a 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

 

 

 

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.

    • 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?

  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

    • 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.

  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!

    • 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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

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