Producing high-quality, relevant content that meets your target audience cravings, captures their shrinking attention spans, gains traction and drives bottom-line results is a tough, often daunting task.
Break up your content marketing routine and push yourself into new ways of writing with these five less common environments for unlocking your creativity.
On a plane
Instead of streaming the free TV, completing the in-flight crossword or diving into your Kindle, crack open your laptop and get to work.
And, no, just because your plane has WiFi doesn’t mean you should get wrapped up in email or dive into a never-ending, internet rabbit hole. Instead, stay disconnected, spend the $8 on something to drink, open up a blank document and get to writing.
“Ladies and gentleman, once again we do apologize that this aircraft has no WiFi,” the flight attendant said just after we reached 10,000 feet on my most recent flight.
As a result, I first outlined and then drafted this very post—temptation killed by lack of technology.
While most people were stumped at how to “use” their devices without the actual ability to connect to the wide, wide world of the internet, I was encouraged and empowered to dedicate time toward focused writing.
Instead of falling into the endless “research” loop, use your flight as an opportunity to disconnect, reflect and share your thoughts on a recent, relevant trend or event in your industry—perhaps the story you saved in your Evernote two weeks ago and tagged “write about.”
With a predetermined amount of time you have a built in deadline—use it not to create artificial pressure, but instead to establish a realistic goal.
Free from the routine distractions (but perhaps not free from that screaming toddler in 7B) your next flight is the perfect time to bang out a draft for a fresh blog post.
Go on a walk
Get up, get out and get moving and, not surprisingly, the ideas will start flowing. All you need is a good pair of shoes and your phone’s audio note-taking app. Though, it would help after to have transcription assistance (be it a VA, an app, yourself later or otherwise), soon enough you’ll have the strong skeleton of a great blog post.
Not only does recent research show walking (either inside or outside, depending on weather, preference and location) boosts creative-output upwards of 60%, but it’s a great way to break up your day, stretch out your body (and mind) and proactively make time for writing—err, I mean talking.
While watching the game
Next time you find yourself wrapped up in the energy and excitement of a competitive match on your TV screen, designate the commercial breaks as opportunities for your own game—pushing yourself in short sprints, funneling the competitive spirit of the game and your heightened energy into short bursts of writing.
Not only is the energy and excitement from watching sports proven to increase brain function, but the defined sprints will force your mind to channel the energy into sharpening your focus. Plus, you won’t have to suffer through yet another DraftKings and/or Fan Duel commercial again—#WORTHIT
Seek out a bustling, busy public place
While you might prefer to write in the quiet stillness of your office, or hunkered down with headphones blotting out your surroundings, for creative tasks like writing researchers have discovered some level of noise, energy and movement in your work environment has been found to be optimal.
Meaning, it’s not the caffeine (only) that stimulates your creativity when you write at your favorite coffee shop—but the atmospheric, acoustic music, frothing sounds, clinking glasses, conversations and movement that is keeping you just uncomfortable enough to maximize your creativity.
If you haven’t tried writing in a crowded, busy place—say a busier, noisier local coffee shop or bustling cafe—try penning your next post there, even if it is far outside your comfort zone.
Instead of meticulously attempting to control (noise-cancelling headphones to drown out the sales people), setting is incredibly important to the creative and writing process. Recent research has demonstrated, public, open and bustling spaces drive the mind to stretch, work harder and find more creative solutions.
The right amount of noise can actually increase creativity, while a level of messiness can make you just uncomfortable enough to find more creative solutions.
By feeding off the energy, and interrupting your typical busy, businesslike routine, the busy, noisy place is ideal for writing.
From a talk
There is no better place than a discussion, lecture, event or presentation to build out the framework to your next blog post.
That is, as long as your post is focused on the topic and information being presented…And, you respect the speaker enough to draft out the post until after they finish.
By forcing yourself to listen intently, take quality notes and hone your focus on the speaker and the message as a reporter would, you unlock additional value from the event. Plus, you’ll be able to share your thoughts and experience, valuable information and relevant anecdote with your audience. While you listen, think about how the presentation is relevant to your audience and note how you want to structure it—and then set aside an hour after the event to draft the post around your notes and outline.
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