Feel like your story has been done before?
This is a common reason to stop writing before getting too far. You might ask yourself, “What’s the point if this has already been written?”
Even though there are tons of stories and authors in existence, there’s something that makes some pieces stand out in fresh ways.
Think about someone you know well and love. Picture their idiosyncrasies. Notice how their passions, interests, curiosities, fears, and quirks make them uniquely who they are.
When your story idea doesn’t feel as exciting or unique as you’d like, you can try mixing a few elements to up the interest.
Just like a person with contradictions and quirks, you can add multiple elements of “you” into your story. This introduces more of your personal essence to your writing.
- Brainstorm a list of things you’d be interested in exploring through writing.
List things you:
- know a lot about
(e.g. diet and nutrition, rock climbing, volunteering at an animal shelter)
- are passionate about
(e.g. environmental causes, hobbies like crochet or woodworking)
- love reading about
(e.g. family dramas, coming-of-age stories, romance, fantasy)
- are curious and want to learn more about
(e.g. other cultures, how recycling happens)
- have questions about
(e.g. what compels people to quit their jobs and move across the world, what makes people wake up from toxic relationships)
- Take a break from your brainstorm. You might go on a short walk, stand up and shake out your limbs, or sleep on it.
- Scan your ideas. Without reading each word, which ones jump off the page at you? Try to notice without thinking too hard. Go with what lights you up, feels exciting, or intrigues you. To have fun with it, you might try closing your eyes and pointing to the page to choose your ideas.
- Mix and match a few elements. What can make a story even more interesting is to put dissimilar pieces together. (e.g. someone who’s afraid of the pool has to learn to swim in order to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to meet a long-lost relative)
This is a great way to create rounded characters or a compelling plot. It might even jog your memories and help you decide on a subject for a memoir or personal essay.
I hope this helps you find ease in creating a fresh spin in your writing.
Similar to how mixed media increases the possibilities in art, you can find new potentials in your stories by adding layers.
When you’re pulling from your interests and going with what you’re pulled towards, you can’t go wrong!
Good luck and happy writing.
About the author
I help people reconnect to themselves and tell their stories.
I am a certified coach, writing mentor, writer, and group facilitator who enjoys helping people who’ve felt different and struggle with feeling disconnected.
Since 2008, I’ve worked with writers in every messy step of the creation process. I’m passionate about delving deep into the story underneath the story — the root cause of the struggle with communication — so you can feel good about the results.