Adopt a renaissance mindset, get unstuck in your writing, and find inspiration and actionable pathways forward in your writing!
“Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended with diligence.”Abigail Adams
Stuck in your writing? Here are two ideas to spin around for inspiration and actionable pathways forward!
#1: Use the Writing Cauldron
J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) believed that while new stories were scarce, there is a ‘cauldron of story’ in which writers can dip into as they write.
My takeaway here? Learn the cauldron. Learn the story formulas, the archetypes, the classics, the rules, the footprints and blueprints left behind by others. This is not copying, this is learning the craft. This is appreciating the people who have invented valuable writing tools so the rest of us don’t have to start from scratch – from the ominous blank white screen with the flashing cursor (taunting us…). Find the value in existing writing tools and then make them your own in your writing.
If you’re writing fiction, you can create characters who reflect pieces of who you are, incorporate dialogue and observations from your life, and gain inspiration and details from your own personal story. If you’re writing a nonfiction book, do the same – draw inspiration and content from your life. Your story is a unique narrative that the best authors in history never could have predicted.
Have the wisdom to draw from existing writing tools and resources, and then combine them with “your stuff” – what you’ve picked up in this lifetime. The real cauldron of story is the combination of old and new, the wisdom of authors and experts before you, combined with the wisdom you’ve gained in your lifetime.
#2: Be Fascinated
Part of our “job description” as authors is to be constantly curious and fascinated by many aspects of life, well beyond how to write, publish, and market a book. All three are important topics, but what adds that extra layer of depth to our books, are all the other things in life we read and learn about. It’s the sum total of all those little obsessions, being a Jack or Jill of all trades, a renaissance person – that is where true creative inspiration lies.
2 Ways to Do This:
Adopt a renaissance mindset.
Outside of learning how to write, publish, and market a book, what else can you become fascinated by? What other areas of expertise can you pick up to broaden your author horizons and feed your writing? Having a renaissance mindset will also make you more valuable to your audience. The more fascinations you have, the less you will ever struggle to create conversations and content online. Branch out and enjoy the process of doing so!
Branch out in your reading material.
Look at your current book reading list. How diverse is it in terms of subject matter (and authors)? How many topics are on your list that might not appear, at first glance, to serve a purpose in the book publishing process, but that pique your interest nevertheless?
How can you expand the boundaries of your fascination zone by reading about history, science, technology, psychology, the arts, and philosophy, among many other topics? And yes, this might mean having a few books on your reading list simultaneously in progress – a novel, a book about writing or publishing, and another book – your “horizons expanding” book. Consider this all the more reason to develop a solid daily reading habit!
Adopt a renaissance mindset in reading, learning, and living and watch it spill over into your writing in beautiful and surprising ways!
Fiction Tools in Nonfiction Writing