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The writer’s challenge.

Marketing

Read Time: 3 Min

Do what you love every day, and it won’t feel like work…

Yep, we’ve all heard those words before. Yet, one of the biggest challenges we in the creative professions face is keeping our craft fresh. Tapping into creativity, day in and day out, can be exhausting if one’s inspiration isn’t being replenished, so I’m always looking for new ways to stoke my creative fire. Many times it’s as simple as reading an imaginative book, looking at thoughtful art, listening to “Rudie Can’t Fail” turned up to 11…you get the picture.

A fellow writer suggested that responding to writing prompts far outside my comfort zone could unleash new levels of creative thought. Scary. For me, that’s fiction. The mere thought of dialogue writing is enough to make me itchy in my own skin. Why? I just prefer to leave the fiction to Masters Gaiman and Vonnegut. There is no way I could compare.

Digression: a few weekends ago, I attended a panel discussion at Denver Comic Con about writing professionally for comic books. The line-up was packed with heavyweights: Jason Aaron; Steven Seagle; Ron Fortier; Matt Kindt; and Elliot Serrano …all pros who have reached an impressive level of success.

As each participant shared their story, I noticed a common thread running throughout: each of these talented gentlemen are 100% committed to their craft, and they practice it daily. And, each story seemed to boil down to one simple message: make something you want to make. In other words, if you want to write, then write. There are no initial value judgments if the writing is good or bad…the important part is just to do it. Through practice, something magical can, and often will, happen.

This begs the question: how many times have we shirked away from something because we thought we’d be no good at it?

Sisyphus by Franz von Stuck

Sisyphus by Franz von Stuck, 1920. Public Domain image.

Seagle issued a challenge at the panel discussion. It goes like this, simplified:

1) For 30 days, write 15 minutes a day, at the same time every day.

  • Write for the entire 15 minutes. No thinking, no editing…WRITING.
  • Treat it like a job…or even more serious: no phones, no distractions, nothing but writing.
  • If you face a block, just write about something you know from memory.

2) If you succeed, then the next month write for 30 minutes.

3) The next month, an hour.

If you can do this for three months, then you can probably be a professional writer. But, Seagle said, if you can’t make it through the first week, it’s likely time to hang up your pen.

Seagle said in 28 years of issuing this challenge, only two people have made it through.

I’m determined to be the third. Why? I’m a writer.

I’ve set August 1 as my start date. I’m going to write fiction. Because it scares the hell out of me. And hopefully this will make me a better writer overall, and ultimately a better copywriter for AOR.

What will you do to challenge yourself to be better at your job or at something you love doing? Think about it.

And then do it.

(Leave me a comment below if you want to join in the challenge!)

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