By: Marilyn L. Davis
Sure It’s Already Been Written
“When you copy someone else’s content, it’s like displaying a picture frame with the photo that came with it when you bought it. It looks good, but it’s not you, and everyone knows it.“― Josh Steimle
Relating to Josh Steimie’s comment, I thought about all the times I’ve struggled to write something new in the way I present information. Has someone else written from this perspective? Did some other writer focus on that angle? Can I write a post about writing that doesn’t sound like a repeat of yesterday’s post? What if another writer told the story, too?
Then I have to remember that people have been writing for about 5500 years. Which only lets us know that some topics don’t have a shelf-life or go out of style. Although we all use words, yours will have a different tone, style, and viewpoint that sets it apart from everyone else.
Why Do We Read and Write?
We read and write about something because there is still an attraction and curiosity about the subject; we always want to learn or teach more. What are some reasons we write about any topic?
- We need to understand the topic for work or a how-to
- The topic piques our interests
- We are emotionally attached to the topic
I have always been curious. If a subject or topic interested me, I wanted to learn more about it. In my case, that meant that growing up without the internet; I spent hours roaming the aisles of my libraries. Today, we are fortunate to have multiple search engines to find enlightenment for any subject. We can now alert our phones to notify us if there are articles on topics we are curious about without searching ourselves.
Get the Attention of a Curious Reader
Readers are curious for several reasons. They may need information more from necessity than curiosity; however, interest and need drive people to find information online. What are people curious about, what do they need to know, and what is a relevant topic for you to explore? Interesting topics include:
- Other people
- Famous people
- What is love?
- Good food, good books, or good movies
- What is the market doing?
- Why does the economy suck?
- Why is the moon in Jupiter, and how am I on the cusp?
- How polluted is the world, and what can we do about it?
- Why does my faucet leak?
- What is happening with COVID-19?
- How can I write better?
- What is my purpose?
When we are curious about a topic, our brains are active. The brain releases Dopamine and Serotonin during this type of activity. These brain chemicals then register as pleasurable, and when we feel positive, it is sometimes easier to be creative.
Besides, curious individuals live longer than those content with their current awareness and label themselves non-curious in studying older Americans. However, additional studies on curiosity conclude that there is both good and bad curiosity.
Curious, Researching, or Avoiding Writing?
Pointless curiosity for a writer is spending too much time reading, pondering, or researching, and not enough time writing. Another time-wasting pursuit is 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 write about your topic and see if you can’t improve on the information or discuss the topic with more authenticity, personal examples, or stories that engage a reader.
Learn From But Don’t Copy Other Writers
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 take the time to look for the who, why, when, where, and how of the topic. As writers, we can then capture the subject from multiple perspectives and add just the right elements to bring a fresh perspective to an old topic.
Are You Still Stuck?
Any question that bubbles up in your brain will be interesting to someone else. Think about what grabbed your attention today or what you were curious about – politics, news, weather, fashion, children, or writing better articles.
These questions and topics are percolating in the reader’s mind right now, too. So please give them the information they want to read from your authentic and unique perspective. For a writer moving from curious to writing the article, ask yourself the following:
- Is it a fresh perspective on the subject?
- Is it readable, enjoyable, and informative?
- Do I have enough enthusiasm for the subject to write a good article?
I’ve gotten emails from other writers asking how I find a fresh approach to the same topic. Some days, I do get stuck or think I’ve said it all. When I feel stuck, I remember that writing is one of my jobs, then I look to my Muse Board for inspiration or just a reminder.
Repeat It – Just Add Your Spin
“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.” ~ Anaïs Nin
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.
For editing services, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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