Without even realizing it, at every stage of our writing careers (from first learning the ropes to having several books published) we get used to crafting our stories a certain way. In the early stages we take courses, attend workshops and conferences as well as compete in casual/fun blogging challenges. But later, as our skill level increases it’s easy to fall into a comfortable pattern. Often, the only way to get the blinders off is by throwing caution to the wind and go bareback riding!
What I mean is, get advice from a professional – whether you’re trading talents, pulling strings with a colleague you met in a writers group, or breaking down and hiring an editor. Often, it’s these outside opinions that help us explore new territory in our writing.
I don’t know how many times I’ve written a piece, I really like it, bring it to a critique session and then have someone say, “Did you consider this when you wrote that scene?” And I’ll say, no, think nothing of it for the rest of the evening and then, the next time I’m sitting down to compose I get a nagging feeling at the back of my head. So I try what was suggested, just to see what will happen…
9 times out of 10 I will modify my original in some way because I pushed myself to try something different, a new approach.
Don’t let yourself get complacent. Keep experimenting and challenging yourself – even if it’s a technique you read about in your favourite blog or writers’ magazine. It will keep you on your toes and help infuse a fresh perspective on your work.