Welcome to the Dojo Wisdom for Writers Book Club! Every Wednesday, we meet to discuss one of the lessons in Dojo Wisdom for Writers. We’ll go in order, so it’s easy enough to follow along. Read the lesson, then read the blog post, then comment in the comments! Do feel free to comment on each other’s comments. I’ll answer questions as quickly as I can.
Lesson #12 – A warrior masters many techniques.
As a martial artist, you quickly learn that if you rely on the same old techniques time and again, your opponent will learn to anticipate what you’re going to do and will defeat you.
The “same old, same old” problem plays out for writers in the obvious ways—if you rely on the same old clients, when one of them goes away, you’re in trouble. If you rely on the same old approach to every story, your writing gets stale.
But the most damaging problem with “same old, same old” is what it does to your enthusiasm for your work. If every article feels like a retread of the previous one, and every new story is the last one just with different names, pretty soon you’ll be wondering if WalMart is hiring.
Have you ever read an article or a novel where you felt like the writer was phoning it in? If you’re bored, so is your reader.
Constantly stretching yourself is a way to keep you interest in your work high. That means you’re more likely to stick with it, to find success, to please your audience. It’s scary, sure, but it keeps you engaged.
Each year, I try to find at least a few new opportunities to try something new. What do you do to keep from falling into the trap of “same old, same old”?