5 Things You Already Do to Make Creativity a Habit

This month, GOOD Magazine is challenging its readers to make time for art on a daily basis. The editors even offer 31 suggestions for ways that readers can incorporate art into their lives. I like the suggestions, but few are geared toward creative writers.

This month, GOOD Magazine is challenging its readers to make time for art on a daily basis. The editors even offer 31 suggestions for ways that readers can incorporate art into their lives.

I like the suggestions – especially “break something (you have to destroy in order to create!)” – but many are geared toward developing creativity in the visual rather than the written, theatrical, and musical arts, to name a few.

Even though the exercises don’t necessarily require the act of writing, I still recommend that writers try some of these creative exercises. Of course, the visual arts influence literature as much as literature influences the visual arts. Why not write a poem about a painting at a museum or sketch a visual representation of a character?

When you finish the exercises from GOOD, you can explore my five ways to expand your creative writing capacity this month. The best news is that you probably already do many of these activities!

1. Create a character sketch using Pinterest. Make a new “board” named after your character and “pin” photos and links that represent your character: What hairstyle does he/she wear? How does he/she dress? How would he/she decorate a living space? What does he/she like to eat?

2. Look at a random friend’s Facebook profile and try to see how your friend’s posts could form the skeleton of a story. For the most part, your Facebook friends only share what they think best represents them. In the same way, writers only share the details they believe add to the narrative. How can you use your Facebook friend’s posts to construct a meaningful narrative?

3. Brainstorm advertising copy for your favorite products. Many beginning writers have no idea how to “sell” their stories or essays. They don’t feel the need to do so because their instructors are the only people reading their work. However, a well-crafted and catchy introductory paragraph or even a first line can make the reader want to “buy” the writing. As you use your favorite products (makeup, snacks, clothing, your car, etc.) throughout your day, think about how you would “sell” these items to a friend or even a stranger. What kind of nouns, adjective, and verbs would you use to catch a busy person’s attention?

4. Think of the most boring thing that has happened to you in a day and write a blog post about that event in a new, interesting way. If you don’t already have a blog, you could share that story with a friend or family member. Don’t apologize for the boring nature of your story. Rather, do everything you can to tell the story in a compelling way without lying.

5. Notice the people around you when you’re stuck in a particular setting like a public bus or on line at a convenience store. Observe their behaviors and interactions and then imagine how they would act differently in other circumstances or settings. We rarely think about how much setting or mood affects the way those around us behave. In the same way, beginning writers rarely devote enough attention to setting or mood. Understand the importance of setting the scene.

(Photo by Bohman)

How to Have a Great Idea

How does having a great idea make you feel? Excited? Overwhelmed? Does anyone feel angry when they have a new idea? Probably not. When I have a new idea, especially one that I know I can actualize, I feel most alive. I feel grateful. So, how can you have great ideas more often?

The best ideas are born spontaneously, and they will strike you when you least expect them: in the shower, in the car, in the middle of a meeting with your boss. When you have a big idea, you will most likely want to document it. Maybe you’ll scribble a note on a paper napkin or text-message the idea to yourself.

How does having a great idea make you feel? Excited? Overwhelmed? Does anyone feel angry when they have a new idea? Probably not. When I have a new idea, especially one that I know I can actualize, I feel most alive. I feel grateful.

So, how can you have great ideas more often? Think of it this way: when you have to do something you don’t really want to do by a certain deadline, like paying a bill, the fact that you have to pay that bill will burden you until you do it. But once you pay the bill, you will feel relief.

Living a creative, rich, idea-filled life is not always fun and games. It requires work and some discipline. Your need to have great ideas should a debt you owe yourself. Paying the bill will allow you to keep the lights or the heat working in your mind.

Be your own bill collector. Every day, you need to earn as much as you can to pay off that debt: experience, observation, human interaction, and an interest in the world.

You probably don’t even realize how many wondrous things are already bubbling in your mind. How can you catch the ideas you’re already making?

No matter how many friends you have, or how much time you spend with other people, you will inevitably spend a lot of time by yourself. Maybe you commute alone by car. Maybe you have a job that requires careful focus and silence. Maybe you sleep alone. I assume you use the bathroom by yourself.

In those moments, you maintain a dialogue with yourself. Your brain is never quiet. You probably reflect on things that happened to you that day – you replay your observations, analyze your interactions with other people, reinforce things you learned, note things you want to change, or choose things that you want to improve.

Start paying attention to your internal dialogue. Make it a point to listen to what you have to say to yourself! The ideas lurk there.

How can you actualize all these great new ideas? Carry them with you (see photo above) for a period of time. You need to keep the colorful sack of ideas near you always. It should be as precious as a purse or a backpack with all your most important belongings. Never let it out of your sight.

You will know that you’re ready to actualize that idea when it completely overtakes you. You won’t be able to stand keeping it in your head any longer! At that point, if you’ve been following all my advice, the “how” will be obviously apparent.

(Photo by skippyjon)

The Blinding Light of the Beginning Writer

I don’t like grammatical errors, not because I’m a grammar snob – I’m the first to admit that I don’t know every single rule and nuance – but because poor grammar in a piece of writing interferes with my ability to read it. Grammar can be taught; if someone wants to learn grammar badly enough, that person can learn it.

I don’t like grammatical errors, not because I’m a grammar snob – I’m the first to admit that I don’t know every single rule and nuance – but because poor grammar in a piece of writing interferes with my ability to read it.

Grammar can be taught; if someone wants to learn grammar badly enough, that person can learn it.

Most children learn grammar simply by listening to language. They may not be able to explain the difference between “is” and “are” and when to use those words appropriately. But they figure out how to use those words without thinking too hard about them. Later, in school, students learn the rules that describe the grammar they absorbed as children.

Sometimes, a child isn’t able to learn all the nuances of English grammar simply by listening to others speak. That’s why grammar lessons are helpful – they clear everything up for the student. Usually, as you get older, your grammar will improve, simply because you begin to understand and have rules for the way you have communicated your entire life.

However, having a working command of grammar doesn’t necessarily make anyone a good or imaginative writer. As most people grow older, their imagination fades. Imagination cannot be taught.

In fact, I think some of the best, most imaginative writing could be produced by enthusiastic, passionate young writers who don’t necessarily have the best command of grammar. I’m not trying to make excuses for native English speakers who don’t have a working knowledge of grammar by age 18. But the ones who still try to write despite their frustration with the language, the ones committed to expressing their ideas and emotions – those young writers produce some of the best, most imaginative writing.

Writing, without fully understanding how to do so, is quite brave, especially when we have so many other ways to communicate.

It’s up to someone who appreciates imagination and creativity to approach these writers and teach them the value of grammar, to possibly show them a new way to learn. Not everyone with poor grammar is careless, and many have ideas that they deserve to express.

When I read something by a beginner, I typically value imagination over order, but I value order because I know readers don’t have patience for disorder. And they deserve to see the beginning writer’s light too.

(Photo by Abulic Monkey)

Blogging and Creative Reinvention

When I feel stale, I like to reinvent myself, which is what I have done. As you can see, I’ve redesigned the layout. I’m also going to be covering more subject matter: writing, teaching, exploring current events and pop culture, living outside of New York City, and navigating friendships and dating in the Internet age.

About a year ago, I redesigned Comma ‘n Sentence and started to get serious about blogging about social media. During my year-long journey, I have trudged through the depths of social media, exploring how it affects our relationships and lives.

Now, to be honest, I’m kind of over social media – until something or someone new revolutionizes the current scene, I can no longer imagine myself getting excited about it. However, that doesn’t mean I want to stop blogging.

In the year and a half since I started this blog, a lot has happened to me: I finished my Master’s degree, I entered “the real world”, I moved out of my parents’ house, and I learned how to navigate a lot of “grown-up” issues like health insurance and making decisions about my career path.

When I feel stale, I like to reinvent myself, which is what I have done. As you can see, I’ve redesigned the layout. I’m also going to be covering more subject matter: writing, teaching, exploring current events and pop culture, living outside of New York City, and navigating friendships and dating in the Internet age.

I was recently offered an opportunity that may or may not be the key to helping me pursue my dream job: being a full-time creative writing professor. I hope to blog about teaching, new things that I read, the creative process, staying inspired, and being yourself in a society that expects you to be everything but yourself.

I hope you will continue to follow me in this journey, and I appreciate you for reading regularly. If you have any suggestions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment!

(Photo by Margarita Banting)

5 Ways the Internet Can Boost Your Creative Output

Please don’t blame technology for a decline in creativity. If you are curious, the Internet can help fulfill a lot of your whims and whet your imagination. The Internet and social media have helped me become a more creative person; the overwhelming surplus of information can challenge your mind.

Earlier this week, Newsweek published an article called The Creativity Crisis, which examines the so-called decline in American creativity. Authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman write: “…it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.”

Is it even possible to nurture creativity? I believe that creativity requires an inherent curiosity about life, and you can’t teach curiosity. But you can expose children and adults to things that make them curious: the wonder of nature, the complexity of art, the newness of a strange city.

Please don’t blame technology for a decline in creativity. If you are curious, the Internet can help fulfill a lot of your whims and whet your imagination. The Internet and social media have helped me become a more creative person; the overwhelming surplus of information can challenge a mind’s ability to combine facts in new, interesting patterns.

Don’t believe me? Here are fives ways that the Internet can actually boost your creative output:

1. E-mail bloggers who have an interesting perspective, even if you don’t agree with it, or who write about a topic that intrigues you. Most bloggers really appreciate feedback, especially since blogging can sometimes seem like a lonely, lost cause. A blogger who is passionate about his or her subject matter will most likely be happy to discuss it; pick a blogger’s brain and be inspired!

2. Spend some time browsing Flickr’s Creative Commons. Viewing photography is a great way to explore the world and the possibilities of creative vision. What’s fun about the Creative Commons is that some of the licenses allow anyone to download the image and modify it, as long as you give credit to the photographer. Use another person’s art to inspire your own!

3. If you’re curious about a specific subject matter, pretend you’re a journalist and interview experts in that field. You can use tools like Help a Reporter Out or post a query on Craigslist to find people who are willing to talk about their experiences and/or knowledge.

4. Consult a search engine! Most search engines will yield results in many different forms: text, video, music, photos, etc. When you can learn more about a topic using different forms of media, various parts of your brain will be excited. Your creativity will respond to the sensory stimulation and perhaps inspire you to think about something in a new way.

5. Bookmark interesting places, foods, pictures, poems, etc. This way, you can remember interesting things you want to do at a later date, like visit a landmark or cook an ethnic dish. Browsing your bookmarks might inspire a new idea – what you once found interesting may incite an urgent desire to pursue a new project or do something daring!

(Photo by laffy4k)

Would Warhol Worship Wikipedia?

Only the rare artist can be perpetually find inspiration within herself. Most artists look to culture and other people for inspiration. Andy Warhol was inspired by everyday, contemporary objects. Today, we are so immersed in digital culture – why wouldn’t artists look to the Internet for inspiration?

Only the rare artist can be perpetually find inspiration within herself. Most artists and writers look to culture and other people for inspiration. For example, Andy Warhol was inspired by everyday, contemporary objects like Campbell’s soup cans and Brillo pads. Today, we are so immersed in digital culture – why wouldn’t artists and writers look to the Internet and social media for inspiration?

In an article for the New York Times, Sara Corbett writes:

How is information technology changing the art world? The same way, you might argue, that it is changing everything else. It has put new tools into creative hands: there are artists making complicated impressionistic works using a paint application on their iPhones. There are artists working with G.P.S. mapping tools, hacking video games and creating art made from YouTube clips. Across the free-market souk of the Internet, more and more artists are trafficking in data, even as confusion about value and copyright proliferates.

And art in return is also changing information technology, by doing what art has done since the beginning, when the Babylonians first painted their palace walls, the Spanish royals first sat for a portrait or Gauguin first laid eyes on the South Pacific — by pushing the limits of our perception.

Here are 10 unique ways that artists have used the Internet to fuel their creativity:

Craigslist Missed Connections: Artist Sophie Blackall uses Craigslist’s Missed Connections section as inspiration for her art. She writes, “Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, a smile or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I’m trying to pin a few of them down.” Her quirky illustrations include the headline and part of the original ad.

Art from spam: Inspired by the subject lines of spam e-mails, artist Linzie Hunter decided to incorporate the nonsensical arrangements of words into playful abstract works of art. According to her artist statement, Hunter believes that removing the subject lines from their original context makes them “…amusing, entertaining and sometimes inspirational meditations for modern life.”

Hand-drawn Twitter avatars: On David Hoang’s Twitter channel, you can watch this artist draw Twitter avatars. Users submit their images, or he randomly chooses an avatar to recreate. On his website (http://davidhoang.com/handdrawnavatars), Hoang writes, “In a world of “instant-uploads” and automatic avatar creations, I take a step back and spend 20-30 minutes on a high quality drawing for the Twitter user. In exchange of the user’s permission for me to use his/her photo, I also record the experience and present the final YouTube video as a music video.”

Farmville farm art: Some people get way too excited about their Farmville properties. A search for Farmville art on YouTube will reveal videos made up of screenshots from creative Farmville farms. Players stockpile their hay stacks and later use these hay stacks to make interesting images in their fields.

Facebook portraits: Matt Held paints Facebook profile pictures. Initially, he asked anyone interested in participating in his project to join his Facebook group. Currently, over 12,000 people belong to his group. Held chooses the most interesting profile pictures and draws them. For his portraits, he takes the subject’s personality into consideration; Held spends some time on the person’s Facebook profile and tries to get to “know” him or her better.

Facebook status updates as works of art: According to an article in Mashable, artist Stacey Williams-Ng creates oil paintings based on her friends’ Facebook status updates. These paintings were even on exhibit at a show in Wisconsin!

Nothing to Tweet Home About: Extremely inspired by the Internet, artist An Xiao specializes in art that spans the digital and analog worlds. For her project “Nothing to Tweet Home About”, Xiao sent about 100 postcards with a brief tweet and a geotag written on the back of each one. She arranged each postcard on a wall, where the tweets could be read outside of the digital context. Xiao writes, “…these updates can create an impression of an individual, a living self-portrait aggregated from minutiae from my daily life.”

Google Street View paintings: Even Google Maps Street View has inspired art. Oil painter Bill Guffey has created about three dozen paintings for his Street View series.

Google image search: Using watercolors, artist Ken Solomon is taking the screenshot to a while new level. Solomon Googles a famous artist, like Warhol, then makes a painting from of the Google Image search results.

Using Second Life to sell art in real life: Some artists, desperate to make a living from their craft, have found new and innovative ways to sell art online. In the article I quoted above, Corbett profiles a Second Life character named Filthy Fluno, who was created by a man who’s an artist in real life.

She writes: “…Filthy Fluno made so many friends and helped sell so much art that Lipsky decided it would be O.K. to quit his day job. Early last year, he managed to borrow an uncared-for couple of rooms above a clothing store in Lowell and converted them into a low-key studio gallery called CounterpART, which also has a twin gallery in Second Life — run by Filthy Fluno and featuring digitally uploaded versions of Lipsky’s work.”

How are you inspired by the Internet?

(Photo by wharman)

Would Picasso Have a Twitter Account?

The real work on those stories happened offline, during long hours of solitude and intense concentration. Sure, I realize that my manuscript is not yet complete and could stand many more revisions, but I was happy to share what I had, to come out of the “darkness” and see the light.

In a blog post for The Guardian, Robert McCrum writes:

For new and original books to flourish, there must be privacy, even secrecy. In Time Regained, Marcel Proust expressed this perfectly. “Real books”, he wrote, “should be the offspring not of daylight and casual talk, but of darkness and silence.”

How many “real books” enjoy “darkness and silence” today? Not many. In 2010, the world of books, and the arts generally, is a bright, raucous and populist place. The internet – and blogs like this – expose everything to scrutiny and discussion. There’s a lot of self-expression, but not necessarily much creativity.

As a creative writer, I resent and disagree with McCrum’s assertions. I have shared creative work online, via my blog Laryssa Writes Fiction. In fact, I posted what amounts to a book-length work and allowed anyone who was interested access to it.

However, the real work on those stories happened offline, during long hours of solitude and intense concentration. Sure, I realize that my manuscript is not yet complete and could stand many more revisions, but I was happy to share what I had, to come out of the “darkness” and see the light.

How would I be able to write dialogue if I couldn’t observe and participate in casual talk? The best banter, the stuff of believable dialogue, occurs on social networks and via online chat tools: Twitter posts, Facebook status updates, Gchat conversations.

Trust me: when I’m working seriously on something, I deal with more than enough darkness. A person cannot sustain too much intense creative output without needing to air out the mind and wrestle with the mindlessness that sometimes is the Internet.

And what’s so bad about scrutiny and discussion? Sure, not everyone who reads your work, views your photo, or finds your piece of art may be qualified to offer you helpful criticism or be able to help you grow as an artist, but isn’t some of the point of creating art sharing it?

What’s the difference between self-expression and creativity? Shouldn’t everyone have the right to express oneself, even if the goal of self expression is not necessarily high art? Isn’t noise, chatter, and collective expression what make the world so interesting anyway? You don’t need an M.F.A. or some other fancy training to do it. What do you think?

(Photo by sudhamshu)

Two Twitter Trending Topic Poems

On the Twitter homepage, users can see Twitter’s 10 trending topics. These can include the most popular hashtags or the most widely-tweeted words and phrases. The top 10 trending topics are constantly changing, and they can be organized by specific location or worldwide. I decided to write two 10-line poems to honor the topics.

On the Twitter homepage, users can see Twitter’s 10 trending topics. These include the most popular hashtags and/or the most widely-tweeted words and phrases. The top 10 trending topics are constantly changing, and users can be organized by specific location or browse them worldwide.

At approximately 11 and then again at 11:30 PM on Thursday night, I listed of Twitter’s 10 trending topics. I decided to write two 10-line poems to honor them. In the poems below, each line begins with the trending topic (in bold text, listed in the order Twitter provided) and then continues with my text.

To Be Her Secret

#DontActLikeYouNever thought about taking her home. She’s the girl at the bar
#nowplaying music so bad you’d stuff toilet paper in your ears if you were alone.
#LetsBeClear: it’s the worst music you’ve ever heard, worse than
Justin Bieber accompanied by a chorus of dying cats and the
#realhousewives of New Jersey gossiping in a rest stop bathroom.
Mavs are playing on one of the flat screen TVs while you flirt with this
#Libra, a pretty girl with curly blond hair. She confesses her hatred for the
Spurs; her ex used to make her watch every game with him.
George Hill was the only redeeming factor,” she says. “George and
Rapper Eminem – they’re my secret crushes.” You want to be her secret too.

To Sexile Again

#dontactlikeyounever wished you were in college again,
#nowplaying beer pong in the basement with your roommates.
#letsbeclear: you never really liked beer, and the roommies were
Halo Reach Beta-playing nerds who needed to get laid. Doing
Eenie Meenie Miney Moe with A) college, B) working, or C) auditioning for
#realhousewives, you hope Moe stops on A) college.
Spurs, according to the dream dictionary, are what you dream about when the
Mavs are going to win. If you really have that much power, why can’t you make
Justin Bieber go away? Why not be the beer pong champion? Why not write
#FF, the code letters for “sexile”, on the dry erase board tonight?

(Photo by JMRosenfeld)

Laryssa Wirstiuk is a social media marketing and online image consultant. Learn more about how she can help you and your business gain friends and customers by visiting Comma ‘n Sentence Consulting.

How to Brainstorm a Concept for a Blog

Choosing a blog concept is difficult because your decision sets the stage for the future of your blog. You don’t want to limit yourself by being too specific, but you should try to create and maintain a niche that will help you build an audience of interested readers. The first post will be the most difficult post.

Dear Laryssa,

I was thinking about starting a blog. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while because I miss writing on a regular basis. However, I have no idea what the theme of my blog would be. I’m obsessed with music, funny things on the Internet, and food, but I’m not sure how to “blogify” any of those topics in an original way. Do you have any suggestions?

Sincerely,

Christine

– – –

Dear Christine,

I’m so excited to hear that you are thinking about starting a blog! Choosing a blog concept is difficult because your decision sets the stage for the future of your blog. You don’t want to limit yourself by being too specific, but you should try to create and maintain a niche that will help you build an audience.

For blogging beginners, I highly recommend tumblr. Because tumblr allows you to “reblog” things that other people have blogged, you will have no trouble generating content. Reblogging can help you establish a concept if you’re not really sure where you want to start. Don’t be afraid to let your blog evolve!

The first post will be the most difficult post. Choose a mildly interesting subject and start writing. Don’t censor yourself or worry too much. Just be yourself and use your natural voice! If you write consistently and trust yourself, an awesome concept is bound to emerge. You don’t need all the answers just yet.

You will have to blog regularly for a few weeks before you start to understand and embrace your concept. For example, Comma ‘n Sentence was originally a place where I blogged about my progress with and ideas for Too Shy to Stop. However, blogging about these things made me interested in a broader spectrum of subjects: social media marketing, editing, creativity, online publications, and the ways people connect and read online.

Pay attention to what interests you. If you find yourself reblogging pictures of pastries, you might have an epiphany: “Wow, my blog is becoming a pastry blog!” Once you realize this, you can readjust your focus and further customize your blog: take unique pictures of pastries, write reviews of bakeries, interview pastry chefs, etc.

Whatever you choose, make sure you are obsessed with it. Your blog topic should be something you talk or think about every day. When you have a new idea, make a note of it. Create a list of blog topics for the future. A list will help you when you have writer’s block or need inspiration.

Save pictures and videos that inspire you or make you think about your blog topic. Visit other blogs about similar topics and comment on posts. Follow people on Twitter who are interested in the things you write about. Find ways to have conversations with your friends about your blog topic.

Decide how often you want to blog because the frequency will definitely affect the types of content that you post. Will you post text? Photos? Video? Audio? Do you work better on a schedule or spontaneously? Will you be writing and posting at the same time every day? How will you share your posts with your readers? What will motivate you to continue blogging?

Ultimately, your blog should be a reflection of your personality. If you think you’re an interesting person, then you will surely have an interesting blog.

Love,

Laryssa

(Photo by jurvetson)

More Mileage from a Blog You Sometimes Fuel

One of my favorite professors asked, “What’s the point of doing this if you’re not having fun?”. Remember: she was speaking to a room full of people so determined to cpublish a book that they would drag themselves through miles of mud to do just that. But I will never forget the question she posed.

Admit it: you only update your blog when you feel guilty. Twitter reeks of blog neglect and half-hearted attempts at updating:

@OhThatStevie: @JennyBec1969 I honestly am going to try to update my blog a little more often than once every blue moon.

@littleponderer: Watching Underbelly. I should update my blog but I’ve been soooo busy – hopefully will update it tomorrow.

@jacksonstf09: It is amazing how awesome a person can feel after a 2 hour workout…I feel AMAZING…I really should update my blog. I think I will 2day.

@defiantprincess: I wanna update my blog.. but too lazy to type. Should I ?

@farchadhilahmoh: so bored. i think i should update my blog to chase the boringness away.

@noeminoems: i should update my blog..but that can wait, like how it has waited for months now x:

@Huizhenpawnyou: Should I update my blog?

You get the point. If I had a penny for every time someone used the words “should” and “blog” in the same sentence, I would be a very rich woman.

When I was in grad school for creative writing, one of my favorite professors asked, “What’s the point of doing this if you’re not having fun?”.

Remember: she was speaking to a room full of writers, people so determined to complete a manuscript and publish a book that they would drag themselves through miles of mud littered with glass shards and syringes to do those things. But I will never forget the question she posed.

Have you ever wondered why my blog is so entertaining (ha ha ha)? If I had to write about social media in a formal way, if these posts were homework assignments, I would not last more than a week. I have to constantly reinvent this website to keep the work fun for myself.

You need to imagine that your blog is a game you play with yourself. Consider the ways you amuse yourself when you’re stuck in traffic, when you’re waiting forever in a doctor’s waiting room, when a flight is delayed, when you can’t sleep at night.

Your blog should be the most fun you’ve had since marathon Monopoly sessions with your next-door neighbor.

I know you’re laughing right now. You’re thinking: “Going out with my friends is way more fun than blogging” or “Playing with my new puppy is way more fun than blogging”. Well, if you think those things are more fun than blogging, then you should be doing those things and not blogging.

Okay, I admit that was kind of harsh. You should be doing those things, blogging when you can, and not complaining or feeling guilty about it.

Before you play with your new puppy, though, consider these points:

1. Blogging is a great way to experiment with an idea before you fully commit to it. A blog post is hardly ever a fully realized and realized piece of writing. Anyone who believes that his/her blog posts are written at full potential really needs to give true writers more credit. Good writing takes many drafts to develop and perfect.

However, if you really like an idea and want to pursue it further, you should consider taking it off your blog and to another venue. My Comma ‘n Sentence blog posts have become longer-form articles (see “Too Shy to Schmooze: Creative Networking” and “Business Owners Building Networking Bridges“). Currently, I’m working on expanding the ideas I first shared in “The World Wide Web Is the New Water Cooler“.

2. Blogging is a great way to discover and reinvent yourself. After blogging for a few months, you might actually enjoy reading your old posts. You will start to notice how you’ve grown as a writer and a person, and you can use this knowledge to gain greater insight into yourself. In addition, you can also use your old posts to help you brainstorm ideas for new posts. 

3. Blogging can give you motivation (as long as you have enough motivation to blog). Whether or not you actually have an audience for your blog, blogging makes you think that you’re writing for an audience. Someone, somewhere on the Interwebz, expects you to write clearly and creatively. This knowledge will challenge and motivate you.

I recently started a creative writing blog for this very reason. I was having trouble motivating myself to tackle revisions, and I hoped that blogging would hold me accountable. In grad school, I was forced to write and revise for my professors and workshop-mates; blogging for an “audience” mimics that feeling. I don’t want to disappoint my loyal readers!

4. Blogging can give you hope. Half the fun of blogging is sharing what you write! I don’t know about you, but one thing that gets me out of bed every morning is the excitement I feel when I think about promoting and sharing my work with my current and potential friends.

Don’t get me wrong: life is great for so many reasons. But I’d rather not imagine my life without writing and sharing. 

(Photo by kevinspencer)