Ten Tips for Writers in Ruts

I am currently in the middle of digging myself out of a writing rut.  It's working, but unfortunately I seem to have all kinds of small weird odds n' ends to deal with lately.  Slowly but surely, I will be getting back into the swing of things.

Any writer out there will know the pain of being in a writing slump.  For all you out there (bloggers, novelists, journalists, etc), these are my top ten ways to get out of a writing slump.

  1. Dry Erase Board or Chalk Board - If you don't have one already, go get yourself a dry erase board or a chalk board.  Use this to plot out your outlines and for writing notes.  I always have a handful of writing projects going on.  I was so excited when I got mine (it's 2'x3').  It gave me a boost and I wrote for a whole week!
  2. Found at Barnes & Noble.  So Cute!
  3. Beginnings Journal - I can't resist a new journal.  I love them.  I picked up a new moleskin journal and am determined to write 1-2 pages a day in it.  Write what?  ONLY beginnings of stories and excerpts for maybe something in the future.  It doesn't matter if it's bad writing or good writing.  It's a daily exercise to make my brain function.  Such a little daily exercise can be done while waiting for dinner to cook or while watching tv or listening to music or whatever.
  4. Word Puzzles - Start playing some word games whether it's scrabble or doing a crossword puzzle or cryptograms or word searches.  Sometimes just playing with words can inspire something.
  5. New Playlist - I will admit that I LOVE having a playlist made for whatever I'm writing.  I add to it as I go along.  Sometimes I spend an entire weekend picking out a handful of songs that reflect a new writing project.  If you're the same way, start putting together a playlist for a new project.
  6. Adventure Time - When writing hits a block, I generally like to make time to find a mini-adventure to go on.  This could be a self-made photo scavenger hunt or a hike or fishing or a long drive or camping or whatever.  It's the process of doing something that you don't regularly do.
  7. Re-Read A Book - You probably have a favorite book that always seems to inspire you.  It could be fiction, poetry, non-fiction, or even a "how-to" on writing.  Go read through it for the billionth time.  Sometimes it's helpful to go back through your books to recharge the ol' brain battery.
  8.  Talk About It - Go to lunch or get coffee with a friend and talk to them about your story.  It can help to say stuff out loud.  You might also get a fabulous idea from your friend.  If anything, you get out of your house and have a social moment.
  9. Photos Around You - Take a walk or go for a drive.  Take your camera with you.  Find 10-20 (or however many) items to take photos of.  Let these things inspire you.  When you get home, you can print them out or pin them on pinterest or whatever.  It may be those factory smoke stacks or the field of pumpkins or birds on a pond that give you that extra inspiration.
  10. Spa Day - I don't do this very often at all.  I think that sometimes we get into ruts because we lose a little self-spirit.  You can always take a spa day for yourself.  Maybe have a friend along.  Get a massage and a facial, have your nails done, go get your hair done, and be sure to have a great meal while you're at it.  You will end up relaxed and your spirit should be a little amped up.
  11. Market & Farm Day - Regardless if you cook or not, drag yourself out to a market.  It could be a farmer's market or a fish market or a flower market.  Go observe people.  Go buy some food.  You might also want to visit a farm or orchard as well.  On these days, I like to grab some wine, items for a salad, a lovely piece of cheese, and some kind of meat (anything from smoked salmon to salami to ground bison).  The smells, the people, the textures of the food items...it's fabulous.  When I went to London, I had a market day down at the Borough Market.  Loved it!

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