Breathe New Life Into Your Writing in 5 Easy Steps

Writing.jpgDo you feel your writing getting stale? Or that writing isn’t as fun as it used to be?

If so, here are 5 Simple Ways to Breathe New Life Into Your Writing:

  1. Get out of your usual workspace. New ideas often sprout from new environments. Deliberately mix it up by hanging out at a different coffee shop, outdoor park or ‘drop in’ co-working space. Even in these uncertain times, most of us have a multitude of spots from which to choose.
  2. Write at a different time of day than you normally do. Yeah, schedules and routines are wonderful, but for creative new ideas to happen, we often need to disrupt our normal circadian rhythm.
  3. ‘Write’ using a different digital device. Just the feel of a different ‘touch’ under our fingers can allow for content to flow in a lively new way.
  4. Write first; edit later. Rather than immediately editing yourself as you write, just let the words flow. Don’t be concerned with misspellings or grammar issues — just write. Creation and editing should be two separate activities.
  5. Write with abandon. Write more than you need. Just let the words and ideas flow. It’s a wonderful feeling when you find yourself with enough content to fill multiple blog posts, instead of your intended single post.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am practicing these tips as I write this and, I have to say, it feels a bit radical…simple, even.

by Rebecca Cochran

Life Editing: 2022

This New Year, I’m vowing to continue with some “Life Editing.” I’ve re-tooled my list from last year a bit with a goal of making room for even more good stuff !

A      Adverbs: Because life is short, isn’t it, Ernest ?

B      Babbling: Small talk is over-rated; quietude is better.

C      Cheap French Wine:  Où est le point ? Taste is the point !

D      Drama: Because no one wants to be around a drama queen !

E      Exaggerating: Less is more.

F      Following: Lead, instead.

G      Giving Up: Keep going, even when I think I can’t.

H      Hurrying: If I’m constantly hurrying through life, I may miss out on some of the good stuff !

I        Good Intentions: Don’t just plan, act !

J       Junk Food: It’s January. No explanation needed, right ?

K      Knickknacks: Curios, collectibles or clutter? Again, less is more !

L       Lonely: The ‘2021 Word of the Year’, right? Learn to enjoy time alone, which is so different than being lonely.

M      Moderation: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth going all-in, right ?

N      Nightclubs: Hmmm… what’re nightclubs ?

O      Overthinking: Again, life’s too short.

P      Perfectionism: It doesn’t really exist, so why bother ?

Q      Quitting: Success is partly about not giving up. (See ‘G’ above.)

R      Retirement: Research shows that those who continue to engage in meaningful work enjoy longer, healthier lives.

S      I’m Stumped: Can’t think of a single “S” word worth giving up. You ?

T       Television: Except for PBS, of course.

U      Utopian Ideas: See ‘P’ above.

V      Very: My least favorite adverb. (See ‘A’ above.)

W      Worrying: Why bother ? Be happy !

X      :-x: Emoticons have never been my thing !

Y       Yes: Instead, learn to say “No” at least once a week.

Z       Zoom: Need I say more ?

What would you add to this list ?

Walking (and Working) Backwards

Did you ever try walking backwards? I did the other day. Well, not actually walking backwards…Backwards

I take a walk daily. I’ve been doing so since I was a little girl. It feels so good, so natural and it’s such a simple way to exercise my body and my mind.

The other day, on a whim, I decided to start at the end of my usual route and walk from there to where I usually begin my walk. I know…that wasn’t exactly rocket science, but it was interesting to take in everything in reverse, to see the “backs” of things: trees, buildings, signs, everything.

As I “reverse-walked,” I couldn’t help but see things differently. I spied a hidden garden that I’d never noticed before. I saw sunlight glistening on a building, giving it a dazzling glow that I’d been missing all those years I’d been approaching from the opposite direction. And, I couldn’t help thinking that I should walk backwards more often, literally and figuratively.

What might I be missing each time I start a project at “the beginning”? Could I achieve a better result if I started somewhere in “the middle” or, even, at “the end”?

Could I be a better problem solver if I consciously worked backwards? By clearly defining what the end result should be, could I reverse-engineer the steps needed to reach that goal?

Certainly, as a musician, I recall teachers suggesting that the best way to learn a piece of music is to “learn it backwards.” In other words, start from the final measure, then append and learn a few prior measures, little by little, until you find your way back to the beginning. This works particularly well when memorizing anything.

Might I be more creative if I consciously “work backwards” more often? It’s incredibly easy to fall into the habit of sticking to a system, especially when that system has been working well for a long time. If I reverse my creative process, might my results be, dare I say it, more creative?

The simple exercise of taking my walk from “back to front” has reminded me that there is more than one way to approach a problem, reach a goal or generate a new idea.

I need to practice walking backwards more often.

What analogies can you add to this list?

by Rebecca Cochran