This is a guest post by author James Dick
Writing Getting Stale? Try a New Genre
As a writer, I always hear others talking about writing blocks and how they can be so difficult to overcome. I, too, have experienced periods when I just couldn’t focus, but generally something as simple as taking a walk outside and experiencing the beauty of nature firsthand or spending time with my horses will free up my mind and kick start it again.
The biggest problem to interfere with my best writing, however, has not been a block but rather a feeling that my work is getting stale. It’s like what I am writing is too much like something I previously wrote albeit with different words and a different setting. It just doesn’t feel right and it saps my motivation as I think of others seeing what I am seeing about my writing. Perhaps it is just me and others never have these thoughts, but I know that they create a problem for me personally. Thankfully, I’ve come up with the perfect solution, something I should have easily identified earlier.
So, what is it? Well, I write about something from an entirely different genre. After all, most of us have knowledge and experience that is not limited to one genre, yet it has value if they result in a well thought out plan. It might require more work and more research, but it will expand the mind in ways I might not have previously considered, resulting in a fresh approach which will show a new enthusiasm in the words and thoughts produced.
I had to learn the hard way. I started out writing a blog, primarily on political subjects. I studied politics and government in college and have always enjoyed the political process and the “sausage making” that is the art of creating legislation. But after writing about it day after day, I felt myself becoming stale. It was as if I was writing something that wasn’t even my own material any longer and it was becoming boring. So, I started thinking about what other things I enjoy and could write about. It didn’t take long to come up with some good options.
Getting older and now retired, I love to reminisce about memories from my younger days. I sat down one day and tried it and the words just flowed effortlessly. And when I read it back I could picture others enjoying these same things, particularly people of or near my age. And above all it was fun again. Writing was fun again and I enjoyed every minute of it.
But I didn’t stop there; I asked myself the question: what else could I write about? Well, I live on a beautiful piece of rural property where my wife and I have horses, dogs, cats and even a few fowl. So, the nature that surrounds me and the animals that are part of our life, either as extensions of our rural family or as wild things nearby, provide innumerable subjects that are both fun to write and enjoyable to read.
And finally, last but certainly not least in importance, I embarked on writing both devotionals and commentaries about my strong religious faith. When I open my heart to allow the Spirit in, I find writing pieces that express my faith flow easily and I have developed a pretty good audience for them as well.
It has taught me that changing pace and looking at the obvious that was nevertheless not previously considered provides an opening to subjects that I both enjoyed and have a significant wealth of experience with. It has increased my energy and determination, has helped me clear my mind of clutter for better focus and has opened me to new opportunities to explore. But, above all, it has made writing fun again, making each day a new adventure that longs to be placed on paper. I recommend it to everyone, for it surely gets the creative juices flowing again and that’s something we can all use sometimes.