Lost Your Writing Mojo?

Assignments may pay good money, offer security, keep the wolf from the door, but they just don’t hook up with the creative juice. You have lost your writing mojo.

Have you got your writing mojo working?

Sooner or later most of us get involved in writing gigs that drain our inspiration.

Assignments may pay good money, offer security, keep the wolf from the door, but they just don’t hook up with your creative juice.  You have lost your writing mojo.

Chances are you got into writing about a topic that turned you on.  People liked your writing because you had a natural drive to make that topic interesting.

Something made you a writer. It’s your job to remember what that was.

What was it that made you take the path to here? What turned you on about writing? Was it getting your byline on a feature? Was it writing your first piece that made money? Was it getting a chance to share an idea that nobody else had?

Phil Donahue once said, “If you want to be interesting, be interested.”

Readers can feel it if you aren’t into it.  You have got to believe that what you have to say is so cool, so new or so different that your reader would miss out if you didn’t tell them.  That may mean you need to dig a little deeper.  So you have to write about something that seems dull to you.  But here is the deal:  you are a writer.  It is your job to make it interesting.  You have to find the most interesting angle on the story, dig up new info, and find a compelling way of telling the story.

Look at Reader’s Digest:  I am Joe’s spleen.

Nobody gave a crap about the spleen.  The editors at Readers Digest knew that nobody would read articles like “How the Spleen Works.”  But they found a new angle for a whole series on the human body:  I Am Joe’s . . .  (fill in human organ of your choice).  THAT  got readers’ attention.  Readers wondered what it would be like to BE a spleen.  What would your job be if you were a spleen?  What challenges would you face?  What if you didn’t get along with Joe’s pancreas?  What would happen to Joe if you screwed up?

Dull topic, cool approach. That’s real writing mojo.

Lost Your Writing Mojo

Creativity demands a little effort.

Is Technology Getting In the Way of Your Writing?

when writing tools break words stop flowing

You Can Write

But are the WordPress plugins’ “tools” and “features” and “settings” and “tags” becoming a  distraction?  Today the WordPress “admin bar” stopped showing up at the top of my blog site.  Ordinarily I can log in, write something, preview it as it appears on the site, click on the dashboard, go back in and edit.  Now I can’t do that and have no idea why.

WordPress Plugins are great.

But they don’t always get along.  And the ways they change the writing interface can become a real pain.  The HTML tab on my Add New Post interface mysteriously greyed out and stopped working awhile back.  I don’t know why.  I can still insert HTML by clicking “edit your profile” and clicking “disable the visual editor when writing.” It’s a pain.

And this latest glitch has my blog not recognizing me as an admin, so my own clicks register in Google Analytics.  Hmmm, another exciting computing problem to troubleshoot.  In the meantime, I’m not using tools, I’m repairing them.

Which plugin is causing the problem or what setting? Was there an automatic update that changed things?  Questions demanding turning things off and back on.  Fiddling.  Wasting time.

The goal of writing is to organize words to fashion a transparent window on ideas

When your reader notices the writing, he or she is not immersed in content.  The window is dirty, or it creates a distracting distortion or lensing effect, or in the worst case, your reader’s window has become opaque.

Writing tools need to be similarly unobtrusive.  If I’m looking at the little submarine window in WordPress and constantly wondering about font size or headers (which drive SEO, don’t forget about SEO).  Or thinking about anything other than communicating with my reader, the tool has become a filter or even an obstacle.

When writing tools are not easy and fun, and especially when they aren’t predictable, they discourage writing.  Is my blog going to stop working entirely?  When tools generate problems, they turn a writer into a tinker.   So today I realized that the technology that is supposed to let me share my work had generated so many idiosyncrasies that I am no longer writing.  I’m peering into a tiny box, wondering what will go wrong next, and worrying which conflicted setting is going to hijack my concentration.

Today I feel like doing a Thoreau

I want to, simplify, simplify, thoreau WordPress away, and abandon this do-it-yourself technological Rubik’s Cube.  Maybe I will buy a professional theme that comes with all the caching, and compression, and internal links, and everything else the plugins do.  I want to stop thinking about buttons and switches and think about words instead.

Postscript — Appears to have been a setting, discovered at the expense of about an hour.

Post post script:  Found a great plug-in that solved multiple problems created by other plug-ins.

Why Computer Experts Are Like Rural Folk When It Comes to Giving Directions

If you’ve ever asked for directions in a rural area you may have run into a local character who knows exactly where he is.  He has been here his whole life.  He knows every nook and cranny of the countryside.

But he has great difficulty giving directions to an outsider.

Friendly and with every intention of helping you, he offers advice:

“Just keep driving down this road until you come to where the old MacIntosh place used to be before it burned down.   It’s right across from the old mailbox and near the rusty barbed wire fence.  Just take a right and keep going past the field where they hold the county carnival every summer.  Then take a left at the stump of the big tree that got hit by lightning a couple of years ago.  You can’t miss it.”

This well-meaning rural denizen knows exactly what he’s talking about.  Every word he utters is true.  He can imagine every detail in his mind as he describes it to you.

Unfortunately he does not share your frame of reference.  He can’t see through your eyes.  In fact, he is so immersed in his area of expertise and its vocabulary that he cannot distinguish  terms that need further explanation from those that don’t.

If pressed for clarification, he will earnestly expand on the obvious. “Well, a carnival is just like a county fair but without the agricultural exhibits and competitions.  No 4-H.  It’s mostly just rides.  What do you mean you don’t understand about the field?  It’s just a field, it’s not important for the rides except they can’t set up near trees.”

The local cannot see his world from the perspective of the uninitiated.  His only hope is to dispense information of all sorts – every bit of it obvious to him —  until the listener seems to “get it.”  This can take a long time and frustrate both the speaker and listener.

Now compare this to articles by experts on how to use blogging software, followed by pages of confused questions and equally confused answers.  Turns out, that users don’t need computer experts as much as they need experts at explaining unfamiliar subjects to the lost travelers of the Internet.