What you Need to Learn About Writing, Creativity and Self-Sabotage

, | Colin Dawson

Writing for learning needs to be free flowing, it needs to exercise the mind and have just enough repetition of the good (important) bits to be committed to long term memory.

I’m going to share with you over the next few Modletters some of the lessons of 10 years of writing for eLearning.

  1. Ideas breed ideas . . .it’s like idea sex

I used to be nervous about running out of ideas, how to find new ways of presenting key points.

The more I wrote, the more ideas I got.  For instance, each section has a loose end . . .      a question unanswered or a detail worth exploring which can spark an idea for the next section.

As Maya Angelou said, “You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have.”

2. An empty creative well doesn’t exist

We simply lose our ability to tap into our creativity.

So, look after yourself well and do the work, and your muse will return.

When you feel you can’t get the right words on the screen, go for a walk, take a break.  This works well even if you are sweating a deadline.

3. Wild-up your attention

When we read other people’s eLearning, we’ll produce something similar.

So, follow your curiosity.

Read something wild, and see where it leads to

4. The best writing is personal

When you appear in your writing, your learners sense your presence, and your writing feels more alive.

So, bring in fascinating episodes that fascinate you.

When I was writing industrial relations training, I was able to call on a rich experience of union/management negotiations.

5. We all self-sabotage

Negative thoughts swirl around in our minds, spoiling the fun of what we mostly enjoy doing.

Thoughts like:  I’m not creative.  This stuff looks boring.  I’m not good enough.

I learned to observe my negative thought patterns and change them.  That’s how I enjoy writing my Modletters and Modlettes today.

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