Writing 911! 5 Tips to Breathe New Life into Your Writing: Guest Post by Karen Swim

Whether you write as part of your profession, or as a hobby there may come a time when your writing feels flat and lifeless.

You put the words on the page and they seem dead on arrival.

You are all out of ideas and procrastinating because you are bored and certain your readers will be too. For those “must do” writing tasks, you may get it done and the mechanics are all there but the magic is decidedly missing.

Don’t worry, you can rescue your writing from the valley of dry bones with these 5 tips guaranteed to breathe new life into your writing.

Doctor applying mask to patient
1. Adopt the tone of a character from a novel, television or even your own family (we all have “characters” in our family).

I love writing following a Grey’s Anatomy episode. The writing has a fast pace and upbeat rhythm. That rhythm extends to the writers blog, which is updated weekly by the lead writer of the episode.

I mirror their lead and write “in character” following an episode. The technique allows me to uncover a lighter tone, stretch my writing muscles in a different way, and inject my business writing with new life.

2. The mind is a wondrous thing, and engaging another part of the brain seems to allow just enough breathing room to unlock your creativity.

If you have to write a report, write a haiku instead.

Try writing the opposite of what you need to do or challenge your brain with a non-writing task such as a computer game, or puzzle.

Even 15 minutes of a different activity can be just enough to allow your mind to shift and release a fresh perspective.

3. Read something outside of your norm. A great way to break out of a writing rut is to read a book you would not normally choose.

If you have been reading industry trades, business books and biographies, head to the teen fiction section for something wildly different.

If you are a fiction lover, test-drive a non-fiction novel. You will find a different style and pace that can infuse your own writing style with new life.

You may even find a new section of the bookstore to frequent!

4.  Use writing prompts. Writing prompts are an excellent way to challenge your creativity.

You are not writing for a purpose and thereby free to allow your muse complete artistic license.

You can use someone else’s writing prompt or create your own. Take the headline of a story, a line from a blog post, or the first line of a novel and create a short story.

A couple of years ago I participated in facilitated writing prompts. My creativity soared following those sessions and my business writing took on new life.

5. Take a different angle.

Over the years, I have had to write on topics that held no personal interest for me. Rather than faking an interest in the topic, I approached it from a different angle.

I would write it with a reader in mind, or create an adventure, treat it like a discovery and get lost in the excitement of learning.

The result was always a piece that was technically accurate without being flat and boring.

You do not have to wait for writing 911 to use these writing tips. Frequent use can keep your writing healthy and fresh. Writing is necessary but it does not have to boring!

How do you breathe new life into your own writing?


Karen D SwimKaren D. Swim owns and operates Words For Hire, a writing and integrated marketing services firm.

She can also be found breathing deeply and dancing through the daisies at her blog, Words for Hire .

Photo Credit: Leah-Anne Thompson (lovleah, istockphoto.com)