How To Write Better: Aesthetic Isolation for Writers
When you’re deep in a major project as a writer, it can be too distracting to enjoy the entertainment that we normally enjoy. For this reason, I recommend a little tactic called “aesthetic isolation.”
First of all, what is aesthetic isolation? It’s a method where writers only read certain books, watch certain movies or shows, and listen to certain music that aids the creative process.
Why choose aesthetic isolation?
When you’re writing a story, it’s extremely easy to be influenced by your entertainment. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can mean an influence that doesn’t fit with your novel’s style. For example, what if you’re writing a murder mystery and yet you read a romance? You could become so inspired by the love story that your novel starts to incorporate one too. Of course, that’s not what you want, but it’s easy to get carried away and take your novel on a long detour that you eventually have to backtrack on in revision.
How do you do it?
You know those pitches that agents and publishers ask you to make for your novel, where you compare your novel to other stories? For example, I keep describing my own novel as Outlander, meets Doctor Who, meets Lost. So for me, my aesthetic isolation includes reading and watching these series, and only a few additional ones. I have to be very careful not to overindulge in the wrong genre so that I can maintain the aesthetic I’ve chosen for my novel itself.
Does aesthetic isolation work for every writer? Surely not. Nothing works for everyone. But it’s definitely worth a try if you struggled with any of the following issues:
— Difficulty maintaining your genre standards
— Struggling with adhering to your outline
— Accidentally putting in irrelevant scenes that you like but that don’t go with the rest of your novel
— Loss of focus on your story’s overall goal
If you give this practice a try, I would love to hear about your novel, the entertainment you choose to aesthetically isolate with, and how it works for you!
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