Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Keeping it Fresh

Ah, another post for the incredible support group Alex created. 
Sometimes Often I worry that when it comes to writing, I'll never meet my full potential but really, I later find that this, like so many other worries, is irrational. 
Because our potential as writers is entirely within us.
I recently read a great NY Times article about the importance of "cleansing your literary palate" in order to keep your own work fresh. What we soak in influences us. The words we read become folded within and seep out while we work. This is why reading things from all genres is essential. Stepping out of our comfort zone is crucial in our reading and the rest of our lives.
It's important for us to keep pushing ourselves to not only meet our potential but continually redefine it. There are enough things in life that are out of our control. Our writing potential is not one of them. 

"Basically, earlier patterns in what you say or read or write “prime” you to repeat them when you’re acting automatically. Our tendency to say the same sorts of sentences as those around us was first studied by someone looking at, of all things, walkie-talkie conversations between burglars. Our words and sentence patterns are also primed in the same way, such that the words we chose are the words we will choose later.
 As a warm-up activity, you might try actively imitating a writing style different from your own. It’s hard to do and highly unpriming.”


  1. Redefine out potential - I like that!

  2. This is fascinating to me. I hadn't done much writing other than grant proposals before moving into my blog, but I find that if I don't purposefully push myself, I cling to the same sentence patterns and syntax. It's an important thing to remember and I love the wisdom of what you shared.

  3. yes, fascinating. i can totally see how writing styles move into the direction of the words we read. i always get a great word when i come here!

  4. "There are enough things in life that are out of our control. Our writing potential is not one of them." Love love love that!!!

  5. I love reading books in genres that I don't normally read. It definitely helps my writing potential.

  6. Hi,

    A great, thought provoking post! I've finally finished my first book and it has been tough because the style and audience aren't necessarily what I'd call natural. I think it has made me a better writer...but next time, I will return to the comfort zone!!

    Thanks for the post,


    1. Hi, Neil! I smiled when I saw your comment because you have the same name as my male main character :) Congrats on finishing your book!

  7. What an interesting idea -- to purposely study and try to write in a different style. I agree that what you read influences how you write, what goes in comes out again. But I do like the idea of experimenting.

  8. What a wonderful idea, Saumya, to continue redefine our potential.

  9. I'm interested to know where I can find the NY Times article that you've mentioned? Thanks!