Last year, I took a poetry workshop called “Hypnopoeia” with the poet Kristen Prevallet. In the workshop, we took a look at different states of mind when writing poetry, ranging from the ways in which rhythm and sound affect the reading of a poem to writing while in a deep meditation or hypnosis. Our sessions were interesting and exciting — there was always the potential of having some really interesting idea or breakthrough while being exposed to ideas that were very far outside of the box.
While hypnosis may not be your thing (and I can say, with experience, that it’s not really mine), there’s something to be said for writing outside of your comfort zone. Using different exercises and practicing different writing styles is an excellent way to bring a new perspective to your usual blogging practice.
Something I’ve done is set up a private “practice” blog where I can post anything I want. (You can sign up for as many WordPress.com blogs as you’d like here and mark them as private by changing your privacy settings.) On my practice blog, it doesn’t matter if what I write is good or not. In fact, I expect the things that I’m writing with experimentation in mind to be bad. Without expectations, I’m free to try anything — there is no self-censorship involved.
One way that I like to challenge myself is by writing in a style that’s completely different from my usual style. As someone who tends to be overly verbose, limiting the amount of words I can use — either to a certain set of words or a certain number of words — can be extremely challenging. Likewise, if you’re a food blogger or write a personal blog, picking a news story to cover may be a fun challenge for yourself.
In addition to writing exercises like the prompts here at the Daily Post, brainstorm some challenges that put you outside of your comfort zone. Like to write politically-minded posts? How about writing from the opposite perspective. Think you don’t have what it takes to be a photo blogger? Try answering one of the Daily Post questions with a picture.
What kind of writing exercises have you tried? Which helped and which were a total flop? Post some of your ideas in the comments — and your examples!