You read a book. It’s the shiz. You wish you could be that author. You know you can’t, but you want to at least use some of that inspiration you feel rising up inside you to improve your own writing.
Yet your attempts seem to fall flat. No matter how hard you try, you feel like a preschooler trying to copy your mom’s sketch of a castle. Why. Is. It. Not. Happening.
If you’re like me, one of the most frustrating gaps in your life is the inability to turn what you read into writing that pays. Now, we’ve already talked about how to draw inspiration from your reading … but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier.
That’s what we’re going to talk about today: the problems with doing it, and the fixes you can use to overcome your blocks. Lezzgo.
No matter how much you love YA, no one is handing you a book contract at this moment. Somehow, your adoration of Jane Austen still hasn’t resulted in a “yes” from that literary magazine.
And so on.
I say, let’s all calm down and shoot a little lower. This isn’t a dismissal of your dreams; it’s a willingness to accept that we all start somewhere. You just need to learn how to draw inspiration from your reading.
Next time you read something that inspires you, resist the urge to start a new novel. Instead, write a blog post motivated by it. Use it to transform a boring English essay into something inspired. Inject a little passion into a copywriting assignment.
How? Identify what you most love about what you’ve just read and write it down. This might look like “The characters feel so real” or “She describes the seasons with such eloquence.”
Cool beans. Now go do that.
WRONG, my fine friend.
I mean, here’s the thing about characters.
They. Are. Everywhere.
We think of “characters” as people in books, period. But that just isn’t true. If you’re looking to learn how to draw inspiration from your reading, this is one of the best tips.
Remember that even in an essay or a piece of web copy, the “character” still exists: It’s the person reading it. Who is that person? What do they love? Can you flesh them out? How would you reach that person best? If you can nail these questions, you’ll nail the piece. To wit:
Every time a digital marketer creates an audience profile or target persona, they’ve just developed a character.
Every time you write a blog post that brings your voice to their ears, you’ve brought two characters into the world – you and your listener – however ephemeral your relationship may be.
Often, in copywriting, the reader is the protagonist and their pain points play the story’s antagonists. You’re not involved in the story, but you best believe they are.
So next time you look into how to draw inspiration from your reading, ask yourself: Who is this story about? You? Your reader? Their loved ones? Their fears? Their hopes and dreams?
There’s a tale to be told, my friend. Just make sure you know who’s in it, and your writing will get so much better.
Here’s the thing about a strong voice: Your readers need you to have one.
No one likes a milquetoast writer. If your prose sounds like a pile of wet cardboard stuffed with verbs, people will lose interest right quick and in a hurry.
I’m not saying your voice is in any way cardboard-y or verbacious (it’s a word now!). I’m just saying it’s worth doing the work to ensure you’re always working harder to get the voice you want.
Writing a lot is the best way to do this, but it’s not the best way.
The best way is to craft an intentional voice and write a lot.
Luckily, the premium content has got your back. Head to the Leaf Library and check out The Quick and Dirty Guide to Finding Your Writing Voice.
It’s worth the three seconds it will take you to get there, so sign up for immediate access and to unlock your 10-day email course about improved blogging.
Better writing, drawn from your reading, is just around the corner!
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