Sometimes as writers knowing the mechanics of the craft isn't enough. You can be the most structured and perfected scribe and still bore people to tears. What good is it to be a writer, if no one wants to read what you've created?
My brain is always buzzing with ideas so I've come up with 25 unconventional things we all can do to pump more feeling and flavor into our writing whether we're penning poetry, writing technical business articles or constructing a new novel. Share your own ideas or things you've heard about in the comments so we can grow this list!
Fully Embrace Your Spirituality:
Can reading the Bible or going to temple make you a better writer? I think it can. When we are in balance and in tune with God, great things happen. In your daily prayers, ask for the ability to dissect life in a creative way and be a better wordsmith. Ask and you shall receive!
Do you only want to write about your four walls? Or do you want to create colorful worlds and document exotic locations in your writing? Getting out and seeing the world can translate into wonderful passages in your work. Imagine being able to describe Caribbean beaches in explicit detail or breathe life into Paris streets and night life!
Read Trashy Novels:
Not only will reading trashy novels help you release tension and stress, but you can also use them as an exercise in editing. In your head as you read, (you can even re-write them down on paper if you choose) recreate scenes and chapters re-purposing them into high literary art!
Fall In Love:
When we are in love or falling, our emotions are at an all time high, the sun shines brighter, music sounds better and there is a bounce to our walk. Starting a writing project at a happy time in our life can be very fruitful. Use all of those positive and happy feelings to create something truly special. The challenge here is to reserve the time away from our new loved one to pour that residual magic into words.
Get A Twitter Account:
What better way to practice brevity in writing than on Twitter where you are only allotted 140 characters to express a thought? Posting on Twitter every day can help you craft more concise sentences. Editing is a very important part of writing.
Get A Dog:
Walking your dog can help you get fit and will also put you in situations where you can meet other dog walkers. Some of the most interesting people you will ever meet have dogs. This kind of networking can help you on character building or perhaps give you the opportunity to meet a heart surgeon whom you can interview for your next piece you're submitting to WebMD.com.
Go To Parties:
Another way to people watch and network is to go to some parties. Even if you're a wall flower, seeing how people interact and move in a casual setting can help you as you write similar scenes in your work. You may even meet a love connection or at least a fling which can also lend itself to some exciting writing.
Create A Blog:
One of the best things I ever did for my writing career was to create my blog! Having a place to release my thoughts and also using it as a way to keep myself honest when it comes to writing on the regular is invaluable! Not to mention all of the networking opportunities and other bloggers you get to connect to. Blogging is a writer's best friend.
Re-Read The Classics:
I know a lot of us complained about reading the classics when we were in high school or college because they were so darn hard to get through, but as adults it's easier and you'd be surprised how much you will enjoy them now. I equate reading the classics to weight lifting. With all of the reality TV and other frivolous forms of entertainment we're exposed to we need to do some mental weight work sometimes. If you are thinking about writing a period piece or doing some research for a non-fiction project about history, reading some earlier writings can be very helpful.
Write More Letters:
There is nothing more intimate than writing a letter, whether it is addressed to a friend or lover. Taking the time to slow down and print or write in cursive on fine paper or a card slows the heart rate down. Also, if you've ever noticed, we take better care when we put pen or pencil to paper. Writing is not a race, it is an art-form and sometimes going slower can make us better.
Go To Book Expos:
I could write paragraphs about the benefits of going to book expos, but here are just a few things: meeting other writers, going to conferences, getting free books, learning new trends in publishing and did I mention the free books? Immersing yourself into your craft in this way is like eating your literary Wheaties. Do this and often. Your writing will thank you.
Take Up New Hobbies:
Anytime you learn something new, you are building a pathway to better writing. Being able to describe something you've just learned and explain it with clarity and flair is the mark of a great writer.
Break Up With Someone:
No one wants to do this, but sometimes it can be necessary and healthy, especially if the relationship is toxic or run its course. Holding onto a person who isn't good for you can hinder your writing and other areas of your life. Also, working out our emotions in reality builds self esteem and confidence and can help us be more bold and honest in our writing. It worked for singer Adele! Her pure melodious voice no doubt helped her album 21 shoot up the charts and earn her countless awards and achievements, but it was what she was singing about that registered with her fans. What was that you might ask? Most of the songs on her album were centered around a break-up with her boyfriend. Pain can be a good thing when it comes to writing and creating art. Use it!
Stalk Your Favorite Writer On Facebook:
Okay, maybe not stalk, but "like" their page and become privy to their writing habits and other valuable pieces of information they may share about the writing process. To be the best, you should know how the best writers roll!
Take A Road Trip With Your Bestie:
Road trip! Road trip! Eating snacks, singing off key and car dancing while trying not to run out of gas is loads of fun, but road trips can also be very educational. Take photos and document your journey (do a live blog!) and make sure you meet people and ask questions. Writers are very nosy by nature so use this quality to your advantage. Experiences are to be written about.
Splurge On A New Smart Phone Or Tablet:
As an early adopter and gadget girl, this is a given for me, as I get a new phone almost every year, but for others this may be a challenge. As the publishing landscape changes, writers should be on top of all of the new e-publishing trends and having the tools of the trade is the best way to stay educated. If you have an iPad or Smart Phone try writing your next blog post on it and seeing if you like the experience. Writing well sometimes means working smarter, not harder.
Strike Up Conversations With Strangers:
Writers can be shy, but throw that off to the side and engage people. How do you expect to engage your readers if you can't chop it up with a stranger once in a while? The next person you introduce yourself to just might be an acquisitions editor. Stranger things have happened. I'm also a dialogue driven writer so whenever I chat up someone new, I'm listening for accents, regional dialects, and the like. A conversation is always a potential scene in my book.
Change Your Work Commute Route:
Inspiration can come in the form of a balled up piece of paper blowing across a highway lane. If you travel the same way to work or school each day you are depriving yourself of different moments. If you travel differently, you may write differently.
Eat At A New Restaurant Every Week:
Foodies unite! I love restaurants not only for the opportunity to eat and enjoy new foods, but the wait staff, cooks, cashiers and other customers are usually great character material! Some snack shacks have free WiFi too and are great places to write. As an exercise, take your laptop, visit a new food stop and create a scene using five people in the restaurant as characters.
Ditch Vanilla Sex And Do Something Wild!:
Endorphins! Yes! Great sex is good for the body and the mind and those fabulous feelings can spill over onto the page. Keeping it spicy in the bedroom (bathroom, kitchen or on the balcony) makes for a happy writer and a happy writer writes better! Also, share some of your sex tips with your lead character. No one has to know!
Book Five-Star & Dive Hotel Rooms:
Most of us would want to stay at a five star hotel, a dive, not so much. Remember though, the lives we write about, report about and document aren't always pretty and it's good to explore the underbelly of life as well as the glamorous elements. The next time you're in a good or bad hotel, imagine the person who was there before you, why they were there, what they were escaping from or running to. Were they alone? Did they pick someone up? Look in the drawers, they may have left behind some clues. Use them in your writing.
Take A Spontaneous Drive To Nowhere:
When I was living in Detroit, I loved jumping into my creme colored Cadillac and driving for hours (gas was cheaper back then) with no destination in mind. I discovered some great private spots and shops and met some provocative characters. Some of the best conversations I had were with people I met on the road and a few of them have made their way into my poetry or other writing.
Invite A Friend You Haven't Seen In A While To Dinner:
The best characters aren't always strangers, but people we already know. When was the last time you had a heart to heart talk with a close friend and learned something new about them? Do this also in your writing. Put your characters in situtations where they can be vulnerable and reveal secrets that will surprise even you, their creator.
Keep Books And Magazines In Your Bathroom:
They say a writer will read with satisfaction a can of creamed corn so why not keep reading material that can spark your mind in a place where you are your most relaxed? I have read whole novels in just a few sittings in the little girl's room! The more we read, the better we write!
Interview Elderly People:
Whether it's your own grandparents or other elderly family members or family of friends or strangers, people who have lived and seen things are so valuable to writers. They hold precious memories that we can use to craft stories, write articles and countless books. Older people are our life source and should be leaned on and valued. We live, because they lived before us. Let's carry their legacies on in our words.