Ever had a writing rut? Blogging rut? A life rut?
It happens to the best of us. Me. You.
But whenever you land headfirst in a rut, how do you react?
…do you even react? Hint: whining and complaining (and even blaming) isn’t what I’m talking about.
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve always got
That didn’t become a famous adage for nothing. If you’re stuck, clinging to your normal routine or behavior patterns won’t get you out of your rut. Ruts are life’s way of saying, “This isn’t working” or “It’s time to do something different.”
Write somewhere else. Use Microsoft Word instead of your blogging dashboard. Put headphones in. Change the music you’re listening to. Develop a new editorial calendar system. Write in the morning. Pour yourself a glass of wine. (Probably not in the morning, though.) Put different clothes on.
I’m not joking. Sometimes pants interfere with the word flow.
(Though let’s be honest. We’re reaching the point in Minnesota where “no pants” means “pajama pants” and that works too.)
I’ve used all of these tactics to shake off writer’s block. They’re minor changes, but they all operate like a slap to my face saying, “Wake UP, brain! Let’s DO this!”
When I hit a blogging rut, I created blog development time to renew my interest in my blog. When I hit an editing block *coughs*socialmedia*coughs*, I take my netbook and work in bed. Or on the couch. Or wherever the urge strikes. My netbook is awesome because it’s so slow I can only have one program open at a time. Instant work focuser.
Stop hiding in “But I’ve always done it this way” and “This is just fine” land
Bullshit. Life changes. So do you. You may have always done it the same way, but that doesn’t mean it’s efficient or effective or worth your time. And this is important: you’ll never know what works for you until you try.
Hey. Your parents were right when they said you couldn’t hate your vegetables until you tried them. It sucks when your parents are right. But you know how I found out I’m not a fan of artichokes? I ate one. And I’m not a beer drinker, either. I certainly tried; I studied in Germany for four months.
So you’re a night writer? Don’t go calling yourself that until you’ve written in the morning, afternoon, and evening too. You might find you write better at a different time. I write fiction better late at night, but I write non-fiction better during the day. Figured that out after getting stuck writing my thesis at night and deciding to write in the morning.
The next time you get stuck, don’t fight the rut with frustration and anger
You might learn something new about yourself in the process.
How do you shake yourself out of a blogging or writing rut?