Curiousity killed the cat, but saved the writer

It was only when I got to the end of the article about things TV doctors do that real life ones don’t that I remembered that I don’t watch any hospital dramas, and I have no ambitions to become a doctor (I actually had a conversation with my friend today about how great my fear of papercuts is and how I will never be a doctor).

This incident was vaguely reminiscent of yesterday, when I closely followed the news of Zayn Malik leaving One Direction although I’m not even a huge fan of the band. And then there was Tuesday night, when I scoured Twitter for news of who A is even though I have never watched Pretty Little Liars.

Thinking about it, I realized that I actually read a lot of things online that quite literally have nothing to do with my interests or life. This can be attributed to my natural curiosity, one which I’m sure many other writers have as well.

As a current writer and aspiring journalist I have always held the belief that writers, and especially journalists, should be interested in everything. You don’t always have the opportunity to choose what you want to write about; you might be grossed out by injuries – like I am – but at some point you might have to write about them. If you can’t make yourself curious about that topic, you won’t enjoy writing about it and the quality of your work may suffer from your lack of passion.

The best way to be curious about everything is to keep an open mind. It’s so easy to only expose yourself to things that make sense to your life, but curiosity is not playing it safe. You have to keep an open mind to things that might not directly fit into your life, and you have to try to make them fit into your life.

For example, the article about doctors that I read didn’t seem to make sense with any aspect of my life. However, after reading it and considering why I read it, I reminded myself of the fact that writers should be interested in everything; and thus, this post was born.

If you find it difficult to be curious about everything, try viewing things with a critical eye. Often, stories in the media are presented as absolute. When we question the assumption that everything in the news is true, we’re left with an entirely new perspective – and an entirely new curiosity. Anyone can write what the news is telling us; your writing will stand out if it challenges accepted truths, or sheds new light on an old story.

Sometimes, shedding new light means looking at a news event or story from your own personal perspective or even a perspective of someone different than you. For example, a few weeks ago I was working on a piece about pay inequity between genders. There are already a lot of articles on that topic, so I tried to think about what perspective I could give on the issue that would make people see it differently.

I am a teenage girl. My unique perspective struck me as I pondered that fact. I decided that I could explain pay inequity as it affects me, being the gender that is paid less for the exact same job. I could also explain being young enough that I don’t have a job, but that I still worry about pay inequity – and how it could affect me when I enter the workforce.

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it is a writer’s secret weapon. When we are curious about life we open ourselves up to a plethora of new experiences to learn from and write about. In Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project novel, she talks about shutting her eyes and choosing and buying random magazines from the store. She ended up with one about horses, and writes that although she didn’t have a lot of interest in horses she was intrigued by “the strangely fascinating life cycle of horse parasites”, and the challenges of hoof care and sick horses.

Today, I challenge you to be curious. Read one article or blog post that you normally would skip over. The worst thing that can happen is that you learn something new…. which actually isn’t a bad thing at all.

18 thoughts on “Curiousity killed the cat, but saved the writer

  1. Definitely digging the ‘curiosity might have killed the cat, but it’s a writer’s secret weapon’ line, very true writers have to be interested in just about everything to be able to find fresh perspectives. Another awesome post!

  2. Loved this one ! Your post has made me a bit uncomfortable (in a good way that opens my mind!) because I feel like I live in a protective bubble where I only read and talk about things that I feel connect with me as well as comfort me. I am really terrible at reading and watching the news but at the back of mind, I know it’s a good thing to do for a writer or anyone for that matter. Thank you for sharing this and inspiring me to take a a closer look at things that do not fall into my realm of interest. Also, thanks for participating ! Hope to read more of such lovely stuff ! 😀

  3. I guess I can relate to this, ‘cuz I’m a die hard quizzer and that’s basically what I do all day, tinker ’bout stuff, why it happened, how did it happen, what happened after it……… A really great read!

  4. Love this and totally agree! I’m very curious, even about things I don’t care about. I just like knowing and trying to understand the “why” about something or an action. You learn more about people and the world around you by inquiring and being curious.

  5. You never know what you might learn by reading something out of your comfort zone. I read the newspaper in its entirety most days, save for the classified section and then sometimes even that. Even the sports section has some interesting articles at times. ~Elle

  6. What an inspiring post! I must say between my incredibly short attention span, and incredibly short amount of time I have available through the day it is difficult to spend time reading things that don’t interest me, although sometimes I have to force myself over that hump to find new outlooks and inspirations for my day to day writing. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I agree that it can be difficult to find new inspiration when you’re short on time; I try to read the news – and various other sources – when I can find the time! I’m so glad my post inspired you 🙂

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