When you reach a point in your blogging that feels detached and unfamiliar–like you’re being told what to say and how to say it–stop for a minute and consider the people, things and events that helped shape the blogger you are today.
Focus intently on strong influences. Perhaps a beloved grandparent who took you fishing every summer, or certain music that sums up an unforgettable era of your life.
Use those influences to enhance your creativity or share a story that connects your ideas with your real-world experience.
For example, I used to listen to rap music in high school. I especially admired the rappers who were both lyrical masterminds and courageous underdogs.
De la Soul and NWA were two of my all time my favorites, even to this day. When many rappers started selling out to get radio play, these guys continued to push the envelope with their brilliant and unconventional styles.
I got the sense from listening to them that they cared more about doing what they loved than doing what other people wanted to hear. This is a very significant thought to keep in mind if you ever feel pressured to sell out to please the status quo.
So how does listening to rap music in high school help me today? Two important ways:
- I’m a looser and more daring writer. I learned that a few simple, carefully chosen words can convey great meaning and passion, and also sound really cool.
- I learned about courage in the midst of challenge and adversity. This was the theme of many of their songs (hard times, bad circumstances). Being a renegade helps in times of mass mediocrity.
Ask yourself how a personal influence or life experience could enhance the uniqueness and quality of your work. How could it help you stand out in a crowd and be noticed by others? What small change could make a big difference?
Hopefully you see what I’m getting at: when you start feeling like everyone else, realize you’re not. You have infinite sources of influences and experiences that–when carefully examined–can make you shine. It’s always with you, can’t be copied and won’t cost you a dime.
So start searching, because you never know where a nugget of creativity or unconventional wisdom might blossom.Image by www.votejoec.com.