Are You Feeding Your Writing Brain?

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Are You Feeding Your Writing Brain?

This isn’t a post about caffeine. Or, doughnuts.  (Stick with me!)

Often on the blog, I chat about writing tips and trends to move your career forward as a writer. But today I want to talk about what you do when you’re not at the keyboard.

Your hobbies and pastimes influence your writing. After all, you have to have experiences, ideas and opinions to interject into your work, and you know they’re swayed by your daily life.

So, are you feeding your writing brain?

As a full-time content marketing writer, it’s no surprise that I read a lot.  I also make time for experiential learning and listening to podcasts to fuel my creativity and awareness, so I can add organic personality into the writing work I do for my clients and myself.

3 Ways to Feed Your Writing Brain

1. Listen to podcasts. You never know what story, interview or tid bit of information will spark your next pitch or writing angle. When I’m in a wordy rut, I like to listen to other writers talk about the craft. I can often pick up actionable pointers and topic ideas.

I know you’re probably thinking that you don’t have time to add yet another thing to the day, but really, this one is so easy. I queue up podcasts and listen when I’m driving, showering, on the elliptical, doing yard work, cooking and when I’m washing dishes. These tasks can be pretty passive at times, so it’s easy to devote my attention to listening.

My favorite podcasts at the moment are:
⦁    Problogger Podcast – This show is work-related and inspires my entrepreneurial spirit.
⦁    The Daily  – I’m a newsie at heart and look forward to my morning fix of current events news from The New York Times.
⦁    Up First and Fresh Air from NPR – Again, feature stories and news are popular on my podcast rotation. I appreciate National Public Radio’s candid and personalized approach.
⦁    Brand Storytelling – I love listening to interviews with top professionals in my industry.
⦁    The Brand Journalism Advantage – OK, so I love my job. Yes, this is more about working in content marketing!

2. Read everything. I think I read as much as I write. You might assume I only read industry news or blogs, but feeding the mind with new ideas can come from anywhere.

I read the freebie magazines that land in my mailbox, fiction (I’m a James Patterson fan!), non-fiction, poetry (Bring on some Poe!) and biographies. Recently I dug out an old French textbook from high school and challenged myself to read some of that. Why not?

If you’re not actively reading daily, start doing so. It will help you generate fresh ideas and motivation to do your own writing. Plus, it’s imperative to know what’s being written about in your niche or industry!

3. Experience Life. If you sit behind a computer screen all day, every day you won’t have many moments to lament about in your prose. Although I don’t write fiction, I’m asked to inject scene descriptions, first-person accounts and even mock dialogs in my content marketing work.

I often draw on interactions with friends and strangers to fuel these anecdotes. If you’re not out there living life, it’s tough to come up with relatable content that speaks to your readers on a personal, I’ve-been-in-your-shoes level.

So, take the yoga class. Enjoy drinks with your buddies. Volunteer with a local charity. Experiences fuel writing topics!

How do you like to feed your writing brain and make the content creation process smoother? I’d love to know! Comment below using Facebook or Tweet me @AngelaTague about your (pre, during or post) writing process!

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