The Rat Race of Finding the Next ‘Golden Nugget' to Write About

Gillian Sisley

We are content curation machines. But how do we deal with the internal and external pressures to create the best content possible?

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Hello, fellow writers.

We are a particular, unique breed of human.

We are dedicated to pursuing a hobby/career in something that is in no way lucrative, easy, and very rarely allows us to pay the bills.

And yet, the passion flares in us. We continue to write because in doing so we express parts of our soul that otherwise remain silent.

And while there are many of us who choose to write only for pleasure, there are others (like me) who are pursuing writing as a career.

People like me who would like to work full-time and survive off of the earnings I can make from writing.

It may be a piper’s dream, but at the end of the day it’s my dream.

And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

That said, the road to writing professionally is no picnic. And the biggest enemy, while also our ticket to success, is consistent, regular content creation.

The content curation process is indeed a double-ended sword.

Writing professionally is in no way a passive form of income.

When not creative writing, I’m a ghostwriter for my copywriting business.

But the thing about trying to make an income at your own gig is there’s an ever-present, and dangerous, shadow hanging overhead:

That shadow is desperation. And in desperation, we can easily make mistakes.

I know this to be a very true reality in business. When I get desperate, I make mistakes and sabotage myself.

My writing is no different.

When I write out of anxiety, or a desperation to be accepted or validated by readers, my work often bombs.

It’s in the moments when I’m writing most sincerely, and from the heart, that I’ve written my best work.

And that’s all well and good — but the bills don’t wait to come in until we find inspiration or topics to write from the heart.

There’s no such thing as a unique idea anymore.

Hate to break it to you, but that thing you want to write about? It’s already been written about before.

It’s depressing, but also very true.

There’s no such thing as a unique idea anymore, because everything has already been said and done.

And as a writer, that can feel extremely discouraging.

So, how does a writer even create something that people want to read, if there’s no such thing as a unique idea in this day in age?

The answer to this is not to be concerned with writing something entirely new an innovative — it’s to concern yourself with writing that which is relevant.

We humans, while complex, tend to work in a cyclical way. The trends of decades ago always come back. The ideas we cared about once may become outdated, but we will again care about them someday.

To know what people care about, as writers we must keep our fingers on the pulse of society.

That isn’t to say that we have to write about only that which is trendy. If there is something that we as writers care about, odds are there is someone else who cares about it, too.

One of the best ways for us to survive the rat race of content curation as writers is to take into account what our ideal reader would be excited to read, as well.

“Readers must be given room to bring their own emotions to a piece so crammed with emotional content; the writer must tenaciously resist explaining why the material is so moving.” ― William Zinsser

Running on the continuous hamster wheel risks inevitable burnout.

Show me one writer who has been writing for more than 6 months who hasn’t experienced some form of creative burnout, and I would be shocked.

We’re not just writing for the sake of it — we’re putting our hearts and souls and truest beings into existence through scribbled and types words.

Giving so much of ourselves to the page could only ever result in giving faster than we can recharge.

And the added concern of trying to stay relevant and in front of readers just charges this fear even more.

It encourages us to push even further than we should, often avoiding the signs from our body which are indicating to us that we need to slow down.

We tend to say, as writers, that burnout “snuck up on us”. This actually isn’t the truth. There were signs — we just happily ignored them for the sake of creation and staying in the game.

That’s another key characteristic of creative writers — we like to live in a magical place called “blissful ignorance”.

Final word.

The writing industry isn’t a straightforward journey.

It’s a tumultuous landscape, and it takes someone with grit and determination to survive it.

We, fellow writers, are a unique breed.

We are a creative, clever, and innovative breed.

We have hearts full of lights and wonder that we feel compelled to share with the world.

And despite the rat race of this industry, and the pushing and pulling of pressures from all sides, at the end of the day:

We continue to write because in doing so we express parts of our soul that otherwise remain silent.

And that passion is worth the effort to keep it alive and burning.

“Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.” -- William Knowlton Zinsser, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

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