Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

Taking time away from work for play is always important. This is especially true for writers in a creative, idea-driven industry.

And while most people understand that play is an important element in idea generation, many don’t realize all the ways that play can help a writer develop content.

Fun, leisurely activities include an array of tips and examples for writing well. Writers just have to know where and when to look.

On Facebook

Admit it. You spend way too much time on Facebook and Twitter. But don’t feel guilty about your over-indulgence in social media. It’s work related.

Just by checking in on the activities of your online friends, you are learning how to be a better content producer by analyzing what is good shareable content.

If five of your friends share the same link, you probably clicked on it too.  But this time stop and pay more attention to the details of the link.

What are the characteristics of the headlines? Did the feature photo catch your attention? What made both so engaging to you?

By paying attention to the specific characteristics of the content that you and your friends are sharing, you can train yourself to be more intuitive when it comes to creating your own compelling headlines and photo choices.

While Watching Television

Plopped on the couch in front of the television probably feels the farthest place from work. But even while watching your favorite shows you can learn a few things without even lifting a finger, except maybe to change the channel.

Do you watch the news? How about talk shows? Producers of shows like these often chop up their content into easily digestible slices – just like a good web writer should do to their content.

Get some good use out of pesky commercials. Make mental notes of the words that catch your attention. Did a specific phrase or word immediately demand your attention? It will likely be just as noticeable in your web content headlines.

And what about those quirky gimmicks or pop culture references used in commercials? Those off-beat ad ideas, like the Geico Cavemen or the Get Crackin’ Pistachios Nut celebrity cameos, are prefect examples of how advertisers bait their viewers and draw them in with something irrelevant to the main idea.

Think about how you can use quirky, off-beat ideas in your content to make it engaging but also linked back to the main topic.

When Reading Magazines

It’s obvious that reading will help your writing, but there are some additional ways to make sure you are getting the most out of your magazine flipping.

When browsing through your favorite magazines pay attention to small bulleted and list articles. How can you mimic the content’s format, blurbs, and concise sentence structurein your web content?

And what about the use of photos? Which articles caught your attention with images not words? The same things will happen to your readers if you use the right images and Infographics.

Also, be mindful of the material that you are reading. Try reading entertaining materials that touch on a wide range of subjects – like Mental Floss, which is full of useful and interesting trivia and facts.

As a writer, your mind is your biggest weapon and all of the information that you fill it with is more ammunition for your content. The more knowledgeable you are in a wide variety of topics the better writer you will be.

Finding Other Examples of Linkbait in Life

Now that you are working on training your mind to notice helpful tips during play, you will likely start to see the same in your ordinary, everyday activity.

Always be mindful of the words and content around you. The back of cereal box, restaurant menus, billboards – there are countless examples of attention grabbing headlines and content all around you.

Life shouldn’t be all about work, so finding ways to hide work during play will hopefully leave a little more time for the fun.