‘Everything old is new again’ – at least in the world of writing. Originality can be hard to come by, and frankly, most of the stories we love best are iterations of the same formula. This doesn’t make us love these kinds of stories any less; it just makes the old storytelling ideas all the more important. Here are three tips to help you iterate on old ideas in your writing:
#1. Fresh Eyes:
Sometimes all you need is some time away from an idea to cast new light on it. This is why I always allow myself time away from my writing, both fiction and blogging, so that I can come back with a fresh perspective to help me iterate on my ideas. By taking time away, I’m allowing my subconscious to do some background work for me; mulling things over, applying new data points, and giving the ideas some breathing room. I have found time and space away from my writing, the single greatest assist in helping me to iterate on my ideas.
#2. Change An Element:
An old idea can become new again by changing only one element. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what that one element might be, which is why I find taking time away from my writing so helpful. I think the best kind of writing is the kind that defaults to clarity, so usually ‘changing one element’ for me, means eleminating something superfluous in my writing. A good exercise is to actively eliminate aspects of your writing, to see if it still makes sense. Or to try swapping out one element for another, and see if that brings something new to the table.
#3. Changing Times:
Sometimes an old idea doesn’t even need to change for it to feel fresh again. With enough time, society, culture, and trends will change around an idea. This can help to make something old feel fresh again. There are many writers who have dwelled in obscurity, waiting for readers to be ready for their ideas and for their writing to take off. Some writers don’t have the patience for this, but those who do are rewarded, because their writing seems fresh again to a new generation of readers.
How else can you iterate on older ideas to make them fresh again? Tell me in the comments below!
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