I was in this habit last year: Every post seemed to just be a sponsored post, or a contest. Yawn *rubs eyes*.
Not that those were bad. It was just what I felt was right back then, what I should have been doing. I would look at other mom bloggers, and they seemed to be blogging about events, products, contests, brand ambassadorships, and whatnot. Hey, I was doing those things too, so I thought, “Well, there: This is what I’ll be writing about.”
The thing is, somewhere down the road (cue Barry Manilow), I started feeling unsettled. I felt like I had ignored all my lessons as a Creative Writing teacher and forgotten everything I knew and loved about writing… because I wasn’t telling stories anymore! The truth is, I was just being lazy and unoriginal. I think maybe I got jaded, too.
If I was true to what I believed about writing, I could have milked the extraordinary out of the ordinary details of my life.
That’s why I committed to be more and write more this year, not just do the “blogging thing.”
Everyday moments are a potential gold mine of stories, just waiting to be told through your writing, whether you write a blog or do the old-school journalling. (I wish I had that plugin where I could Tweet this?! What’s that plugin, please?)
Here are just a few ways I jumpstarted the story-writing again here on my blog, and how you can, too.
Find a writing nugget in everything.
I’m about to write a blog post based on a silly thread resulting in a comment I posted on Facebook about Froot Loops. You know what? If I did this last year, I would have tons more stories to tell, more interesting personal posts for you to read. So I advise this: Use every instance that can be used as inspiration. When you talk to your kids, your friends, your family, or even with your friends on Facebook or wherever it is you dwell on social media: really pay attention. Often it’s in these tiny details and silly moments that you’ll find a nugget to write about for your next blog post.
“Emotion-ize” your story.
You may have heard of the Di Niro Method. It’s Robert De Niro’s signature style of method acting. Basically, Di Niro doesn’t just study lines for a role or research a character. Rather, he employs extreme tactics (such as living in Sicily while he was working on The Godfather II, and working as a taxi driver for The Taxi Cab), so that he could fully live out his role, right down to the core feelings and emotions.
It’s the same with writing a story: How would you “emotion-ize” your recent experiences, so that you can tell a story from your heart? Recall them; describe all the sensations you felt, from the sweetness to the bitterness and everything in between. Think about a time you felt shocked and sad (like recently with these corruption scandals in the government); think about another time you felt happy and alive (such as when your child said something unexpectedly sweet to you, and your heart melted into a puddle). Write down exactly what you felt when those things happened.
Don’t just say, “I felt so good,” when telling a story about the time your kid drew a picture of the cast of Sesame Street — from memory. (That’s a crayon picture by Vito, a couple of months ago. Good effort, right?!)
Personally, when Vito drew this picture and showed it to me, I felt as if I had entered a time warp that took me back to my own preschool days! I felt as if Vito was a reincarnation of me and my long-lost childhood, a time when I relished every moment I could scrawl on the walls with my Crayolas: a mini muralist of sorts, crafting stories out of colorful wax. (See the difference?)
In the same way, take a moment to dig up all those emotions you felt when experienced something recently, something you’d like to write about on your blog: Think of all the emotional and physical sensations that came along with that one act. What was your natural reaction? Did you tear up at something your child said? Did your heart smile or leap from your chest? Did you hear music from your mental dukebox of feel-good melodies? Store these emotions up in a metaphorical bottle in your heart, and pour that bottle out when you sit down to write your next blog post or journal entry.
How do you capture your everyday life in your writing, whether in your blog or journal?