Savvy Speaks: Inspiring Your Writing

Savvy Speaks: Inspiring Your Writing
Savvy Sisters - Wed Aug 24, 2011 @ 09:32AM
Comments: 18

When you're trying to be creative for the same (or similar) industries day in and day out, it's easy to fall into a rut. How do the Savvy Sisters keep it fresh? This week we share some of our more unusual (read: non-B2B) sources for creative inspiration.


How do you weave a tale?

I gain inspiration by seeing how others turn a phrase and beautifully spin their words, whether in articles, blog posts, or novels. Some of my current favorites are the articles in Fast Company magazine and Vanity Fair, Ann Handley's Annarchy blog (which she needs to add to much more frequently - please, Ann?!), and Let the Great World Spin.



My best kept secret for coming up with fresh ideas is not to chase them, but to let them come to me. Even B2B writers must dance with the muse. If I'm struggling to come up with a creative idea for a piece, I walk away from the puzzle and do something else - go for a walk, work on another piece, cruise some blogs, run some errands, or scan my Twitter streams. Eventually, I'll see or hear something or be reminded of something that becomes the catalyst for a great idea that's the perfect solution to my writing dilemma. The cosmos always delivers ... you just have to keep your eyes and ears open. 


OK, I admit it, I watch TV

No one is more at the top of the writing game than the "Mad" men and women who write TV ads. While alomst everyone else in the world groans and heads for the kitchen when the ads come on, I get more excited than when the show itself comes back from summer hiatus. Of course, a lot of them are total crap, but the ones that are great are really great. I try to take some of that clever messaging and those inspired turns of phrase from the B2C wolrd into my B2B writing.


Listen to great storytelling
I love to listen to great storytelling. Here are some of my favorite podcasts:
This American LifeThis long-standing show from NPR has been a favorite for years. The episodes are an hour, so it's great when you have a long car ride. 
The Moth: I always look forward to listening to these "true stories, told without notes in front of a live audience." Without fail, these entertain and teach me something about how to tell a great story. 
StoryCorps I'm addicted to these very short story interviews from NPR. Great inspiration when I only have a few minutes! 
And, as I was getting these links for the post, I realized what nice websites each of these has as well - more inspiration on how to present multimedia!


Pay attention to what's happening  


As a full-time writer I'm constantly looking for inspiration and story ideas. Some of my best tricks for coming up with topics include:


Read with a notebook. Honestly, some of my best writing ideas have been triggered by a book I've read at the beach or a magazine I've picked up in the waiting room. I am NEVER without a notebook and pen.


People watch. It's amazing what people can do and what they say. I recently even wrote a post about one line of dialog I had overheard. To imagine why someone would say something or behave in a certain way can lead to entire story lines.


Pay attention. I recently attended a community meeting. Ho-hum, same old thing, but then someone stood up and made a comment about a rowing club the next town over. Wait, a rowing club?? I ended up getting an article written on something I just happened to chance across.


Ask questions. People love to talk about their ideas and projects. Two of my favorite questions are: “What makes you say that?” and “Can you tell me more about...” These questions give people permission to go on (and sometimes on) about their work, projects, and lives.   


How do you keep your writing fresh?

What are some of your more unusual sources of inspiration?

Comments: 18


1. Julianne Will  |  my website   |   Thu Aug 25, 2011 @ 08:15AM

I second, third and fourth these ideas. I push my vocabulary to its outer limits after reading a great piece of writing--full-time food writers, who must say something unique about the 34th taco truck they've tracked down in the past 10 months, are particularly inspiring. When I was writing headlines on deadlines at newspapers, I'd get up and head down the hall to the restroom to find my muse. (She often caught me before I got there and sent me scurrying back to my desk, lending extra urgency to the deadline!) And I'm often surprised by what ideas I come across while reading magazines, which is why I have a leaning tower dating back to 2008 that I still dust faithfully. Those old Wired magazines are especially fascinating from today's vantage point! Thanks for sharing your behind-the-magic perspective.

2. Jamie Lee Wallace  |  my website   |   Thu Aug 25, 2011 @ 01:17PM

Julianne - LOVE your comment ... I think it almost qualifies as its own post. Lots of great ideas and delivered with such humor. :) Thanks!!

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