Confession time: I totally procrastinated while writing this article (I know, the irony in the air is thick right now).
What might come as a surprise to you, though, is that I consciously chose to procrastinate.
I listened to podcasts. I read Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please. I took a nap (or three). I went out with friends. I did all these things while my deadline for the first draft of this article grew closer and closer, each minute ticking by. But I didn’t get mad at myself for not getting started. I didn’t even think about how I wasn’t writing my article.
When you’re in tune with your own writing process, you understand how procrastinating can actually be a part of your process, just as much as brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising, and proofreading are all steps in the writing process.
How well do you know your audience?
You probably know if they’re customers, clients, stakeholders, or supporters. You may know if they’re fans, interested but not engaged, or occasional visitors. But even if you have data on your audience, how well do you actually know them?
Do you know what they need? What they desire? What moves them to action?
When you’re creating content you hope they consume, are you creating that content with them in mind, or are you only pushing something you want at them?
Despite how much writing can be a pleasurable hobby, there are a staggering amount of “don’ts” that writers are told to avoid in order for their work to be viewed as “good.” Don’t use adjectives. Don’t give any exposition ever. Don’t use clichés or tropes because X audience is tired of them.
Don’t do this, don’t do that, on and on, until you stop and realize that, if you choose to not do all of the things you’re not supposed to do, well… you wouldn’t get much writing done, would you? There’d be no wiggle room for it.
“It is difficult to keep the public interested… the supply of new ideas is not endless,” complains the narrator of Donald Barthelme’s “The Flight of Pigeons from the Palace.”
For every writer, whether they pen literary fiction or produce streams of online content, the fight to stay interesting is an ongoing one.
Interesting to the reader, interesting to ourselves as writers, and interested in the process of putting words on a page. It is all too easy for overfamiliarity to seep in, causing mind-numbing boredom first in the writer, and in turn, the reader.