When you’ve been doing something for a couple of years, it’s easy to fall into habits. This is true of pretty much everything: we learn something new, and then we grow used to it, get comfortable, build up routines. Each morning, I wake up at the same time, I brush my teeth before I shower, and I pull on one of four pairs of the same cut of Levi’s.
When it comes to writing, you start by experimenting and trying different styles until eventually one sticks. The hardest word is the first one, the blank page, and the more you do it, the more instinctive it becomes. You get comfortable, and maybe, it gets easy. Writing a blog post becomes an exercise in following a recipe.
There’s a relief and a comfort to this. I’m sure all bloggers remember the difficulty of writing their first blog post, and the nervousness that followed, and I’m certainly no exception to this. I’m so glad I’m at a place where blogging doesn’t feel terrifying anymore. But sometimes you can get too comfortable. You see this happen a lot in relationships (or at least you do in TV/books/movies, which are my main source of information about the world). Routines grow boring, things start to get stale, and nobody’s really challenging themselves anymore.
And lately, I’ve started to feel that happening to my writing. I’ve been struggling to find time to write as often as I would like to, and when I do, I’m producing the same kind of content. I love writing my book reviews, and gushing about my favourite TV shows, but pushing out a review or a round-up each week just doesn’t feel like it’s exercising my writing muscles as much as I would like it to. These kind of posts have become a routine, and while I think writing them so often is helping me to get good at them, these activities now sit firmly in my comfort zone.
I should say now that there’s nothing wrong with this. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay in your comfort zone. There’s also nothing wrong if you disagree with me: maybe you don’t know where I’m coming from, and you find ways to challenge yourself even when you are sticking to a consistent style of writing. I don’t want to discount anybody’s writing habits, or de-value anybody’s work.
But I’m the kind of person who likes to be pushed. I get restless easily (in pretty much all areas of my life), and I feel so much more satisfied when I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’m itching to challenge my creativity, and with the (sparse) content I’ve been creating lately, I’m just not achieving that.
So here’s my challenge to myself: to stretch that creative muscle, by writing more regularly, and by writing something different. I’ve started to carry a notebook to work each day so that I can draft blog posts in my lunch break, and I’ve been thinking of different kinds of content I can create.
I’m going to continue writing my reviews, because I still love sharing my thoughts on my latest reads and watches with you all, but I also like the idea of writing about different aspects of pop culture – maybe by thinking more generally, or more critically about entertainment. I’m also curious to see what it looks like when I talk about things I don’t love. Most of my blog posts have a positive tone, so maybe it’s time to try writing the occasional post about a movie that really grated on me, or a popular book I just can’t get behind.
Occasionally, I’ve posted about my personal life, and about mental health, feminism and introversion, and I’d like to do a little more of this. And finally, I’d like to put a little more time into both writing my own blog and reading other blogs, because I feel like I’ve been neglecting this lately.
So let’s see how this goes.