I’m not just saying that to see the words magically appear on the page. I know it. I know it because my own writing inspiration has taken a nosedive lately. I’ve blamed it on being tired. I have blamed it on the recent overload of family events and activities. I even have been know to blame it on boredom.
I’ve blamed it on everything except the real source of the blame — reading too much crap.
Writing Inspiration Depends On What You Read
But isn’t reading supposed to be a source of writing inspiration, you ask. Aren’t we told that to have a full quiver of idea arrows, reading is one of the best paths to doing that?
Well, yes and no.
Yes, reading things that inspire you, that spark ideas, that make you think, make you stretch your mind, does indeed lead to inspiration.
Reading crap, on the other hand, does not.
Let me explain.
Crap, By Any Other Name
Recently, I’ve found myself sucked into the world of political news and blogging. I just don’t seem to be capable of pulling myself out of the maelstrom. It’s as if I have no mind of my own.
Okay. Maybe I haven’t tried hard enough. But at least I know I must give it my best shot. Doesn’t that count for something?
But the simple truth is, I have been reading far too much crap, and it’s killing my creative energy. Forget writing inspiration. I can’t even find what-to-make-for-dinner inspiration these days.
It’s as though all the time I spend reading world events and political junk is exponentially robbing my brain of anything resembling an idea, much less a good one.
Surely I can choose not to get sucked in, right? Sometimes I wonder.
Why Crap Reading Is So Addictive
What is it about the crap I keep finding myself drawn to that won’t release its hold over me? Why do I seem to be in some sort of political news trance whose spell just won’t break? You might say I’m bewitched. And not in a good way.
And the biggest casualty of this wicked enchantment is my creativity. The crap just keeps sucking the life out of me, right along with my writing inspiration.
This. Must. Stop.
Escape From Crap Land
You would think that reading political news and being drawn to reading posts and articles centered around it would provide some level of writing inspiration.
You would be wrong.
So lest you fall into the same trap of reading too much crap, let me outline for you all the reasons — at least all my reasons — for why you must avoid this trap, no matter what.
1. It’s depressing.
Right out of the gate, the depressing nature of the news, especially in these days of a presidential election cycle from hell, means that your inspiration and creativity fly right out the window. Unless you want to write about nothing but your political opinions and outrages, filling your mind with nothing but tends to leave little room for anything else.
When you allow yourself to become depressed and upset by what you read, it’s all but impossible to shut that off and sit down and write about topics your audience is waiting to read.
I’ve found myself so caught up in the land of crap that despite my best intentions, the day passes with little productivity to show for it.
And that just heaps more buzzkill on top of buzzkill.
Trust me when I say you want to limit your crap reading to as little as possible, and run, run as fast and far as you can away from it before it holds you in its evil spell.
2. It’s a time suck.
Not only is getting sucked into the vortex of crap that is the news and politics these days — maybe any day — depressing, but it also robs you of time and energy.
Even as the stories you read have little to offer towards your quality of life, the fact that you get stuck in the mud with them means you get little to nothing of value accomplished. And that is depressing as well.
All crap roads lead to depressing. Just saying.
Unless you’re a political columnist, it’s best to avoid spending too much time mired in content that adds little to your life other than making you want to spit nails.
3. It destroys your writing inspiration.
The result of all this depressing news and wasted time is that reading crap nonstop just has a way of sucking the creative energy right out of you. You feel lethargic. You may even find it hard to sleep at night. I know I sometimes do.
And, you guessed it, all that wasted time and creative energy makes you feel — wait for it — depressed. Ha!
Are you starting to see a trend here?
I hope so.
So you may be asking, how do I avoid this happening to me? How can I stay informed, keep up with current events, without losing my creativity? And if your business tasks involve content creation, how do you avoid losing your writing inspiration?
Now, maybe you’re a stronger, better person than I am and you’re sitting there thinking what an idiot I am.
I am an idiot. At least sometimes. Especially these days. I am, in fact, my own worst enemy.
But just in case any of what I’m saying resonates with you, I’ll give you some of my pointers. For what they’re worth.
1. Don’t go there.
Easier said than done, sometimes, but the best defense against getting sucked into reading too much crap is to just not provide an opportunity to do so.
Don’t log into news sites. Steer clear of screaming headlines. Avoid social media posts that make you crazy. Don’t read those posted by others. Don’t write them yourself.
A tall order, I know. But give it your best shot.
2. Place a time limit.
If you find you just can’t tear yourself completely away, set some limits. Set a timer. Use your phone or a stopwatch. Put an alert on your computer. Do whatever it takes to create a break in the trance, before you go too far down the path.
There’s something strangely addicting to reading news stories, even when your brain is screaming at you to stop.
Without actively placing limitations to curtail your crap reading, you may not ever escape. So put in some checks and balances. Your sanity just might depend on it.
3. Read non-crap.
How’s that for stating the obvious? Why didn’t I think of that, you may be saying to yourself. When you create content, either for business ads or a blog site, many of your best sources of writing inspiration come from content others have written.
Not crap content, mind you, but real honest to goodness audience-driven content that will inspire you and your readers.
Listen to podcasts that cover topics of interest to both you and your target audience. There’s no end of good content out there from which to choose. Just avoid the political crap while you search for it.
4. Put blinders on.
The idea of blinders might sound counterintuitive. Doing so would seem to limit your horizons, not expand them, right?
And mostly that’s a correct assumption. However, when it comes to avoiding reading too much crap, a good set of virtual blinders can be a godsend.
You want to be open to inspiration. It’s the crap you want to avoid.
If you don’t go there, to begin with, you’ll avoid getting sucked in.
Follow Your Own Advice
I admit I’m good at following my own advice some of the time. Not all the time. But I’m working on it because content creation and meeting the needs of my clients must come first.
The world may explode while I’m not looking. All the horrors I imagine coming to pass, just might happen.
But somehow, I doubt I’ll miss anything crucial.
And it’s best to focus on what I can control.
Somehow everything else will work out. One way or another.