Unleash Your Creativity In Content Writing
How Do We Make Room For Personal Expression?
[We Can] Begin With Improvisation And Refine Structure From There
A Mindset And A Willingness To Take Risks
Each and every time I settle down to begin writing a blog post I feel the anticipation of what might occur. A sense of excitement. The possibilities stretch luxuriously in front of me just waiting to be plucked out of seemingly thin air. But in actuality, the air is thick and full of fragrance. I know that my ideas are yet to be fully formed but I look forward to a fruitful and interesting unraveling process of discovery as I write. I trust the magic and the alchemy of what’s about to occur.
Or I could just as easily have said this-
Each and every time I settle in to write I’m concerned about getting my ideas across and I worry about finding the thread of logic. The classic apprehensions…
How will I make sense out of the thoughts floating (or racing) through my mind? Can I pin them down and make them stop long enough to be crafted into something comprehensible? Will I be able to tap into my deeper self, the one that can pull rabbits out of an empty hat, who feels she has something to say and is capable of saying it?
Most importantly, how will I make it matter to anyone other than myself?
Which is true?
All of it – even though one is more explicitly positive and hopeful, the other is (somewhat) justifiably realistic self-interrogation. Both are helpful attitudes to have and will inform what’s about to happen.
Nothing much is merely simple or simply one way. But that’s not a problem. If we can hold both seemingly contradictory sentiments at once, we’ve broadened our potential for knowing ourselves a little better and therefore doing better work. And surprisingly, it will leave more room for creativity if we can absorb and account for opposites.
“Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem.” Rollo May, “The Courage To Create”
Writing is a challenge. We all know that. And mixed feelings about it flourish in our hesitation. They feed on doubt. Yet we still must write. It’s part of our job.
Before you tighten up the reins, put fences around your thinking, assume there are rules to follow, consider this:
Creativity in content writing can be used as a tool, not merely as a quality that shows up when it’s finished as it does in a creative product.
It Can Be As Simple As Beginning
If we approach the process as an improvisation we may stand a greater chance for hitting that alchemy. Skip over the hesitation and dive in even in our uncertainty. Creativity and improvisation within that creative space require us to buoy ourselves for chaos, mistakes, unexpected paths, channels of surprise. Yet it takes just one kernel to put a few words on a page and then let it roll. To allow thoughts to move from brain to finger tip as quickly as they’d like without meticulous pre-planning or analysis.
I found this perfect metaphor to describe the feeling in “Writing is Skating On a Vertical Ramp”–
“Writing is at times like sliding that ramp. It is hard, easy, scary and joyful all in one…
…First you stand there and writing feels super hard, then you bravely slide down to the area where you might start swinging back and forth …you slide up the other side of the ramp to the point where writing feels like a piece of cake, you gain momentum and “catch air”, happily able to sketch some thoughts…”
Teodora Petkova– a writer with a background in Classical Studies and Creative Writing who currently creates content for the web employs creativity every step of the way. (excerpt in its entirety is inserted at the end of this post)
What We Can Learn
In one of the operas at Fiedel School when I was a kid, there was a particular scene in which the only word I was meant to say was “oregano”. That was it. Just one word. There was a dance and a song with a bunch of other kids, but that was my only solo line. I was supposed to say it several times with increasingly wild enthusiasm and to throw my body into it as if I were under its oregano spell. One of the directors, my acting teacher, instructed me to go crazy with passion. I was asked to improvise on that word alone. At the time, I had dreams of becoming an actor so I put my all into trying but it was still tough to suspend my disbelief.
It was a matter of letting go, releasing whatever self-consciousness I had towards being so drastically (publicly) silly about a stupid spice. And that happened to be quite difficult for me. The spontaneity of it was intimidating. I felt uncomfortable but I had to overcome the fear for the sake of the performance. And I’ll tell you what- my relationship with oregano was forever changed. And I never forgot the embarrassment that came with the freedom and the revelation of the lesson even if it’s one I continue to need to learn over and over again.
Safety In Solitude
In the privacy of our own minds and in the discreet territory of our own keyboards we have the safety to make fools of ourselves.
We have the freedom to mess around with words until they become phrases, sentences, paragraphs, groups of paragraphs that say the something we hoped to say.
“Creativity doesn’t come naturally. You have to cultivate it. And you have to be creative with your cultivating.”
Demian Farnworth, chief copywriter for Copyblogger Media, sets a bar for creativity. He isn’t a fearful writer. He’s a writer who pushes the edges yet fully understands as well as instructs on the need for effectiveness and the work content writing has to perform. For a veritable library of ideas about creativity in content writing investigate this long list of interesting pieces on his personal blog, The Copybot and while you’re there, read some of his work.
In [Momentary] Conclusion
Here’s a secret I told myself. If I start with play and if I continue in that vein, what I end up with contains more overall creative style and elements than if I hadn’t done that. I achieve both creative process and (hopefully) a creative product. Starting loosely and without strict guideline lets me invite in what isn’t readily predefined. Even the most seemingly dry topic has this empty, ready and waiting strand in its DNA. It’s a matter of attitude. And method.
Some More Food For Your Creative Mind
“Inspiration from other sources is what creativity is all about. …an adaptive process that consists of looking at the same existing thing everyone else is and thinking about it differently. ….Look in unlikely places for connections and angles that can enhance your content.”
“…creativity is key when it comes to copy and content that works. While creativity for its own sake is a smart way to strengthen your lateral thinking skills and to align your work with what you love to do, it’s when you create something useful to others that you add value to the world.”
Brian Clark, How to Write Remarkably Creative Content
David Kelley, TED Talk: Overcoming fear of creativity “David Kelley’s company IDEO helped create many icons of the digital generation — but what matters even more to him is unlocking the creative potential of people and organizations to innovate routinely.”
David, through his experience with cancer determined that he wanted to devote his life to helping people regain the creative confidence that they lost along the way in their lives- to help people to realize they are naturally creative and to develop self efficacy. I find that to be highly relevant in a world where so many people do not believe they can be creative.
This inspiring TED talk from Elizabeth Gilbert incorporates the notion of where creativity comes from and our relationship with and to it. Elizabeth uses the ancient Greek and Roman daimōn to describe their concept of genius and the uncanny ways in which creativity comes to and is nourished by humans. (19 minutes)
“Writing is at times like sliding that ramp. It is hard, easy, scary and joyful all in one.
It goes like this:
First you stand there and writing feels super hard, then you bravely slide down to the area where you might start swinging back and forth wondering What the skate is writing? Several “to write or not to write” thoughts later, you’ve surrendered to the need to share and you slide up the other side of the ramp to the point where writing feels like a piece of cake, you gain momentum and “catch air”, happily able to sketch some thoughts and concepts in the noosphere for a few brief brave moments.
And then it all starts all over again.”
And Just One More
Johnathan Tilley at TEDxStuttgart
The Creative Process Is As Individual As It Is Universal
“A former actor, singer, and dancer in past productions of “A Chorus Line”, “Mamma Mia!”, and “Cats” Jonathan felt it was time to start speaking his own words about The Creative Process in front of audiences. He has devoted his life to sharing his thinking in order to help other creatives and entrepreneurs take action with their own process and purpose.”
This one has a gem of a moment in the middle (7:54) where Jonathan describes a dance improvisation on the Cats stage during the first rehearsal that seemed particularly relevant to this post. (17 minutes)
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Pre-Remix photo iStock Photo, Remix: Gina Fiedel