This month’s post is from guest blogger Nadia Jones. Nadia offers some great reasons for breaking out of the business writing bubble and helpful tips for stretching your creative writing muscles.
Let’s face it. As professional writers, whether you’re a copywriter, a technical writer, or a general corporate writer, you most likely got into the business so you could pay the bills as you wrote the next American novel on the side. If you weren’t aspiring towards greater heights in fiction, you wanted to be the next Charles Bukowski or the Robert Frost of your generation. But with a seasoned (or budding) career in professional writing, the prospect of writing creatively for the sake of pure enjoyment might seem farfetched, if not time consuming.
Work and time constraints notwithstanding, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of cultivating a healthy relationship with your creative writing ambitions. It exercises imaginative proclivities in your mind that may not be realized during regular work writing assignments. Creative writing allows you to approach writing uninhibited by guidelines, word counts, keywords, etc. Even small forays in the form of short stories, brief poems, or even sketching out TV show pilots will work wonders on your writing in and out of the office.
Keep a notebook to jot down ideas.
We all have great ideas that flash in our minds during the writing process, but we usually dismiss the ideas as soon as they come if they don’t pertain to the work at hand. In order to give yourself ample ideas to work with when you attempt writing creatively, I recommend having a small journal or notebook handy at all times to log ideas to be developed later. Say you’re working on some copy for a tech blog, when all of the sudden you envision a character and setting for a story. Take about a minute or two to write as much as you can about the character and setting for the story in your idea log, writing as descriptively as possible so you’ll better remember your idea when you come back to it.
This seems like an obvious tip, but soon you’ll find that writing out your ideas as they come to you encourages you to think more creatively. Putting your ideas to paper gives them more legitimacy; you may not ever remember an idea if you simply make a mental note of it and move on with your day. And if you can, try to make your idea journal a real bound notebook. I find that my most creative writing occurs when I’m using old fashioned pen and paper rather than typing on a computer.
Set aside time to flesh out ideas.
Once you’ve logged away several ideas, set aside some time to investigate those ideas for a potential work of fiction/poetry. If your work schedule leaves you exhausted and drained at the end of every weekday, you might want to consider setting aside time to write in the morning. Morning writing may sound immensely unappealing, but it’s the time in the day when you’re at your most refreshed and rested. You’ll be surprised at your progress if you set aside a mere 20-30 minutes every other morning to write. Your logged ideas should save you from facing the terrible blank page without any inspiration to draw from; just pick an idea that seems appealing to you at the time and get to work on it. You might feel self conscious about your efforts at first, but press on and write as if no one is watching you (because no one is). Eventually you’ll become more comfortable with writing and developing your ideas, plots, and characters.
Approach writing with a fresh set of eyes.
Creative writing will give your brain a break from the usual writing that you carry out during your day time job. I’m sure every professional writer can relate to feeling a little burned out on the job; some industry professionals write the same formulaic content day after day, with little opportunity to put a unique stylistic spin on the material. Your writing mind could use the stimulation offered by some out of the box writing. What’s more, your personal writing endeavors could affirm your own writing abilities and encourage you to continue developing your technique. Perhaps you can work out your material to the point where you could shop your work around for publication. But even if your attempts at fiction don’t make it beyond a spiral notebook, at least you’ll be giving yourself a chance to stretch your creative muscles beyond the limiting parameters of your day job. And whenever you approach another monotonous writing assignment at work, you can rest assured that you have a host of fantastic ideas to write on at home.
About the Author: This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at accredited online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.