What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. ~Ecclesiastes 1:9
Being creative in a world where nothing is new is difficult. We all want to be the one to shake the earth and move mountains with our brilliant ideas and thundering blog posts, but it’s tough.
It’s all been said. Finding the angle is a challenge.
Sure, giving our work a personal voice helps to be original. It’s much more fulfilling to read a post that carries personality and a sense of the writer’s voice. After all, each of us is unique, with unique thoughts and perceptions that make us different from the next person.
Is your own voice enough, though?
When you’re writing about common concepts that anyone can find in a textbook, you aren’t being original. The textbook author probably wasn’t original either. The concepts and theories we strive to put forward as different have been done repeatedly from every angle possible.
“Beating a dead horse” takes on new meaning with over 17 million blogs.
What’s Old is New Again
Let’s take a look at what you can do to make a basic “Information 101” concept that isn’t new at all come off as more creative and unique:
- Infuse the 101 concept with a personal experience that you lived to drive the message home. The concept may not be original, but its application and effect on your life as well certainly is. No one has lived what you have. No one has experienced your life but you.
- Add some examples that aren’t what people would think of automatically. Using common ones is just too easy. If you can find it in a Google search, it isn’t good enough. Step off the beaten path. Stretch your mind and seek a metaphor or an analogy that is different, even if your main concept isn’t.
- Step back in time. With centuries behind us, history provides a wealth of rich experiences that you can draw on and bring forward into your work. Use storytelling to wind a tale from the past and use it as an example for the concept you write on today.
Give Yourself Restrictions
One of the biggest problems with being creative is that we try to throw our mental doors open wide and take a flying leap. For some people, that works just fine. The mind flies on the winds of imagination, catching the breezes of inspiration.
For others, that flying leap ends in a smashing splat. Our mind goes blank. We can’t think. We struggle to be different, but everything we think of is just old news.
It’s almost hopeless.
Procrastinators have the answer. These people put everything off until the last minute. They deliberately ignore what they have to do and restrict their own time. Then they burst into activity with minutes to spare and a job to do.
And they perform brilliantly. Limited by a looming deadline, procrastinators accomplish a great deal. They use every resource they can. They also create a result that is often far better than what would have been had they paced themselves.
So limit yourself. Ask a friend to give you a title topic, or a subject or three points to cover. See how your creativity responds to the challenge of fitting into limitations.
You might be surprised.
Fun with Dragons
Here’s a mental challenge to break the creativity barrier:
Choose three random words. It doesn’t matter what they are. They could be sheep, lilac and dragon, for example.
Write a three-paragraph blog post on copywriting, with each of your chosen words the focus of one paragraph.
Devote all your resources. Unleash your creativity inside the restrictions to wander loose. Find ways to relate the words to the subject. Use metaphors. Use examples. Use history. Tell a story.
- Impossible? Not at all.
- Demanding? Sure.
- Worth it? Oh yeah.
By limiting your creativity, it needs to stretch beyond its comfort zone to find a solution. It goes through a warm-up process while your brain neurons start firing. Then you’ll get the burst of an idea that suddenly sparks a fire.
You’ll write. You’ll feel the rush.
And then you’ll enjoy the satisfying cool-down as you polish off you’re your post – lilacs, dragons and all.
You’d be amazed at what your creativity can come up with. Are you up for the challenge?