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For the really great stuff, you gotta cross pollinate!

By Jessica Albon

For the really great stuff, you gotta cross pollinate

Original photo by Don Graham

I’ve been working on a novel for about a year now and it’s unlike any project I’ve tackled before (for a lot of reasons). It’s obviously also very different from the professional copywriting for small businesses that I do.

It’s kind of strange to slip into of this world of fiction only to slip out again and into writing non-fiction. But it’s a good strange.

In fact, I’m finding that the fiction that I’m doing is making me a stronger non-fiction writer as well. I’m paying more attention to each word that I use and at first that felt clumsy and self-conscious (whereas I used to just let the writing flow) but now I’m seeing that this extra attention is resulting in much stronger sentences.

I’m using verbs more instead of leveraging adverbs and adjectives to get my point across. And I’m spending more time trying to make a sentence a real sentence instead of just shrugging my shoulders and saying, “Eh, but what I want to say is best conveyed by a fragment.” (Sometimes a fragment *is* necessary, but somehow, knowing that I’ll have to defend every fragment I use means I use fewer of them.)

Maybe you don’t want to write fiction, but you need cross pollination nonetheless.

For business owners, especially, it can be easy to get too immersed in our industry, in our work, in our clients, in our world. There’s so much to do and it can crowd out every thing else.

But the other–the hobbies, the magazines you flip through for fun, the movies, the farmers markets, etc, etc–is absolutely crucial if you want to do your work well.

It’s a key point in The Artist’s Way–regular Artist’s Dates to fill the creative well–and I think it ought to be a key point in the life of a business owner. You deserve weekly dates to pursue something completely unrelated to your business because even if you don’t bring anything specific back to your business, you bring yourself back to your business in a different way.

Today, I want to invite you to make some time to pursue your curiosity, your creativity, your inspiration this week. See where it leads you. When we don’t do this, we quickly find ourselves without ideas for our newsletters or blog posts (other than to rehash what everyone else is talking about). When we don’t do this, we find ourselves getting smaller and smaller and dimmer and dimmer. When we don’t do this, we cheat our clients and ourselves out of the most powerful version of our message.

I know it can be hard to find the time. And I know it can be hard, especially in the beginning, to find the inclination. But it’s worth it! So, make a commitment to pursuing your own form of cross pollination this weekend!