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How often have you heard that you should write often and try your hand at different things? Many times, I'm guessing, more often than you can count. And you know what? It's true.
I find myself in the somewhat enviable position that I write for a living. As a journalist I am either interviewing people, writing up articles or researching all day long. And it helps with my novel writing, no doubt about it.
It's not only beneficial though. When I return home after work I find myself strangely reluctant to sit down again and keep on writing, even though I would go on to write something very different.
The benefit is, of course, that it does benefit my writing (when I do make and effort and actually write something in my novel!), it becomes smoother and the rhythm is better. It doesn‘t help with everything though, my writing is oddly separated, one craft to another. I never find myself tempted, for example, to put something poetic into my news articles and I actually shudder when I contemplate putting something like:
When I ask him what made him want to become a sailor he gives a small laugh and shrugs.
I actually shudder with horror. I realize that some journalists get away with descriptive interviews and colourful articles but they‘re few and far between. In the same way I steer clearly away from dry language in creative writing, or at least, I try to.
I have written poetry as well (although it‘s been quite a long time since I last did it!) and I have found that being able to write poetry can truly benefit me; when I want to I can write a text that is quite literary and very different from the fantasy novels I write mostly these days.
Most people want to stick to something they know or have grown familiar with and I‘m no different. I do know from personal experience though that we should reach outside our comfort zone and try to write something different than what we‘re used to. I‘ve thought about writing a children‘s story for example, though I have always caved out when it actually comes to putting words on paper. Still, I think I will do it one day and it will be good for me as a writer and help me develop my craft even further. It is immensely helpful to force yourself to take a different view on things, to try a totally different style, to get to know situations and problems that don’t usually pop up in your writing. Actually, it’s healthy for everyone, not only writers, to break out of their comfort zones regularly. We are meant to expand our horizons, to develop and grow. If we remain too long in the same place, doing the same things we become stagnant. I think this is in fact often the problem when writers face that horrible block that all of us are afraid of.
This blog post is me breaking out of my comfort zone, I have never blogged in English before and in fact I have only three blog posts to my name in Icelandic. I worried! What if I make a fool of myself? What if I’m the most horrible blogger the site has ever seen? But the thing is, we can’t let these doubts stop us. Because if we do are treading our potential and stifling our growth.
So. How about it? How about trying to write something very different from what you’re used to writing? You won’t regret it.
P.S Ok, so it wasn’t only doubts that kept me from writing this blog post I am also lazy. There. I’ve said it. It’s this laziness that’s stopping me from writing diligently in my novel but that’s a subject for another blog post.
P.P.S I didn’t just promise I would write another blog post for CC, did I?