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What HBO can teach us about how to write creatively

If you don't think people notice smart, creative writing, consider HBO.


In a digital age where all media comes free, pay television network HBO still competes with 28.7 million U.S. subscribers93 million worldwide subscribers, and an estimated $13 billion in revenue.

This would not surprise a fan of The Wire and The Sopranos, who laugh at the $12 monthly bill like they were paying pennies for gold. To quote Ryan Fuhrmann of Investopedia, "Many subscribers find that they can't live without their HBO."

HBO has competed with free television for a long time, and today, manages to differentiate itself from the hours of free streaming videos because people will always know the difference of quality creative. Like tasting the difference between fresh and frozen, people do pay attention to (and pay more for) quality.

10 tips to writing more creatively

1. Forget time and budget for a moment - Engage a writing project with inquisition, and be a little unrealistic. Write with a "wouldn't it be cool" attitude, complete with all the bells and whistles. Even though your ideas may be shot down by the cruel realities of time constraints, what you can keep will be the most inventive. You may even find an effective way to achieve something you didn't think possible before!

2. Keep a daily list of ideas - We are all too busy, but taking the time to create a playbook full of ideas will keep you sharp. When you are having a mental block, referring to your notes can also be a lifesaver.

3. Read a good book every week - Nothing like a good book to get the creative juices flowing. Taking active notes as you read, complete with critique and commentary, will create active participation that can be used to contribute to your work. It will also keep your playbook (mentioned above) full.

4. Start a blog - Writers who create blogs have the ability to critically analyze their work, and network with those of similar interests.  Blogging has been proven to be a great way to flesh out new ideas, and learn from old writings. Between your playbook and active reading, you will have plenty to blog.

5. Learn what everyone else is doing - Even though you are a writer, you are bombarded with content just like everyone else. Every once in a while, slow down to evaluate their methods. Even something as simple as taking a second to question your "junk mail." What kind of language do they use? How are they positioning their promotion? How does it make you feel? Why does(n't) it work? How could they have won your response? "Junk mail" can be a free learning tool.

Related Video: John Cleese on Creativity
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