Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
This past Monday, I posted a Tweet/Facebook status that read: “Working on a blog post for Xpiritmental - man, do I love writing...” Shortly after, a friend of mine and I had a brief exchange on Facebook about writing which culminated in him asking how I approach it.
As I was thinking about how a Facebook comment section probably wasn’t the best place to address his question, it occurred to me that my response to him could be of interest and value to the readers of Xpiritmental as well, so I committed to respond to him via blog post.
Then I started writing the post and quickly realized that this was a big enough topic to warrant a few posts. So, I’m going to start with an outline of where my inspiration comes from for the things I write. Then I’ll move on to a couple posts on the more formal strategies for maintaining consistency/direction and finally, I’ll close off with some general thoughts. To be clear, I’m not completely sure how many posts this series is going to end up being, but at this point, it’s looking like four will cut it.
So…regarding my writing inspiration:
Frankly, the exchange that initiated this series of posts is a wonderful example of where I get my inspiration to write. Basically everything that I write on this blog and in my Twitter and Facebook accounts is based on the things that occur to me in my day-to-day life/work. More to the point, the inspiration comes from things like:
- Situations that I find myself in with clients.
- Conversations I am part of (or party to).
- Things I read online on other blogs/tweets or offline (yes, paper-based books and magazines still exist and they are WONDERFUL!).
- Conversations that occur as a result of my blogs and tweets.
I believe that our daily circumstances have a wonderful way of bringing relevant topics to the surface and it’s for that reason that I lean on them to drive my writing.
There are risks with gathering my inspiration from daily events though.
One of them is that repetition sets in. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing (within reason). Topics that repeatedly come up in my life, and in turn my writing, do so for very good reasons. The repetition seems to indicate to me that they are either a topic of great enough interest that they warrant further attention or are challenges that, although I’ve already addressed them once, haven’t seen any change and therefore could use another highlight.
The other risk that comes to mind in getting my inspiration this way is that I could be writing about such widely varied topics that the body of work as a whole no longer resonates or carries value for my readers. For that reason, it’s only prudent to put safeguards in place to ensure that you remain on point.
I’ll tackle some ideas on setting up those safeguards in the coming posts.