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Staying Curious as a Writer

Here's a question for all the thinkers out there. Who do you think is the more curious creature? Writers or cats?

In my opinion, as a writer, I'm more curious than a cat simply because I have more freedom and the ability to explore a bigger world.

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Why are writers curious? The answer is simple. Curiosity is directly proportional to creation and creativity. Inspiration isn't formed simply by sitting on a toilet, even if that is true 95% of the time—either that or when we sleep.

Most creative individuals could probably attest to how creativity functions. It's self-destructive. Let me give you an example. You have a whole day to write a chapter. However, you spent it binge-watching the new horror series on Netflix, trying a new cooking recipe, dyeing your eyebrows and cleaning out your socks drawer instead of writing that chapter. As the clock approaches midnight, your brain starts to gain clarity of the situation, and suddenly, you feel the pressure of life and death as your fingers type for their lives, filling the manuscript with words while you drown yourself in coffee.

Sounds familiar? You're not alone.

I won't claim that practising the way of curiosity would automatically grant any writer spectacular insights into the creative realm. However, here are some ways to increase curiosity in a monotonous world to make creativity and inspiration a part of your daily life without becoming overly self-destructive.

#1: Choose 1 new thing to learn daily

The world is your oyster. However, your mind is finite. It's impossible to cram an entire encyclopedia into your head with 100% understanding of everything in a single day. So why hurry?

Instead, take the time and discipline to learn one new thing daily and master it to the fullest potential. A little at a time adds up, and you'll be surprised by the difference in yourself at the end of a year. Don't worry if you take more than a day to learn something new. You can always break it down into smaller parts. It's not a fixed project with a deadline. Self-improvement is constantly filled with ups and downs. The sooner you become used to it, the easier it is to move along.

#2: Schedule Breaks

This is something I notice. While my brain works well on caffeine and under pressure, at some point, my mental TV will be broken, and all I get from the creative department is radio silence. No amount of coffee or stress will get it working again, and I spend the rest of my week in depression.

Scheduled breaks are a great way to disconnect and let the overheated brain cool so that it can reboot and come back fresher than before. A tired brain might make great crazy ideas. However, an exhausted brain won't work at all. Strike that balance, and don't rest for too long! Creative people are simultaneously lazy people.

#3: Set a Timer for Work / Content Creation

Why wait until midnight when you can create your own type of deadline pressure? The Pomodoro technique, sprinting on a discord server with other writer friends, and watching co-working streams are some great ways to get pumping.

Personally, I think it's not necessary to work alone all the time. Writing is a lonely journey. Not everyone can understand or sympathise with your creation struggles. However, having someone to share that pain side by side with their own struggles make it a lot bearable. Set a timer and remember to reward yourself appropriately when you meet the deadline.

After all, if you don't love yourself most, who else will?

#4: Socialise and Share Your Thoughts With Others

Stress is creativity's biggest nightmare. It gives creativity social anxiety, and often, the things birthed from stress aren't the best they could be. To bring creativity and curiosity back, exploring new angles to a problem could be a solution.

Don't keep it to yourself! Give others a chance to procrastinate on their work as well by sharing your thoughts and troubles with them. You might find yourself unexpectedly finding inspiration from their sharing as well. At worst, you could both laugh over how stupid the world is and feel better to recharge for the next productivity session.

#5: Read Something

The biggest mistake is not reading something new. Without fresh input, how can there ever be creativity and curiosity? No, watching videos do not count. Reading is what requires more effort and discipline. Without the same attention span, how can one truly master the art of curiosity?

I'm not talking about an itch-to-scratch type of curiosity. I'm talking about climbing mountains and swimming oceans to seek the ever-elusive answer type of curiosity. Curiosity killed the cat, so if you don't at least have that determination, can you really call yourself a curious person? Creativity is dead without curiosity. Always remember to fight for what you want to find out, don't expect to be spoon fed answers to your questions. Instead, seek to create an answer by yourself.

In conclusion...

There is no limit to curiosity, like how there is no limit to creativity. However, our bodies and minds have physical and mental limits. With only 24 hours in a day, prioritising what to be curious about and allocating the right amount of time in a day can go a long way. Kiss goodbye to burnout and practice healthy curiosity! It doesn't always need to kill the cat.

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