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Tales From The Rut

November 5th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments
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Well, most of us have been there haven’t we?  That rut where you don’t feel like anything you do (when you manage to do it) is any good, and you can’t seem to get out of it. 

That’s where I’ve been for a few months.  I had a huge burst of energy back in July and got quite a bit of writing done, but then I fell into this rut.  So, how do we combat this?  How do we get back into writing?

The Rhythm

In a ditch

Image by Gene Selkov on Flickr

Well, Matt has extolled the virtues many times of developing a rhythm to your writing, trying to set aside a specified time each day or week in order to really focus on your writing.  Obviously though, life throws up hurdles, and this can sometimes be impossible.  Whether you’ve got kids, or work throws you all over the place, or whatever reason, sometimes you cant hit your specified targets or goals.  Sometimes (like me) this might cause you to start feeling bad about yourself (or your writing) because you can feel like you’ve failed.  I do this on a regular basis.  I can be out somewhere, and mull over ideas and get some really good ones sorted out in my head, but when I get the chance to sit down and write them out, other things get in the way.  Perhaps I can’t be bothered, perhaps I need to eat, perhaps I put on the PS3 and play games for hours on end instead. 

The worst thing about this is that the more time passes, the deeper the rut seems to get, because (for me personally) I feel like I’ve got more and more to make up for, and this starts to have an exponential effect. 

Side Projects

I know, I know, I’m super guilty of this.  Can’t face getting back into the meat of your main project?  Just start a new one!  Well this might not entirely be a bad thing.  A while ago I started writing a little something, just something easy with no real direction.  The thing about it was, it was easy.  While it may be distracting from the big important project that you’re working on, but sometimes can’t face, isn’t it better to write something else, something easy to tide you over, instead of doing no writing at all?  Just to keep those writing muscles limber, so they don’t completely atrophy. 

Ah, here I am on my writing/working out metaphor again! 

Breaking the Wall

The biggest problem I’ve had is that the project I’ve been working on most recently stalled because I hit a wall with the plot.  I talked about this in previous posts (waaaaaaay back, which shows you how long I’ve been in this rut), and I honestly had no idea how to proceed.  Thankfully I got some feedback from Matt which helped me re-jig (in my mind at least, not on paper) what I’d written so far, and how this led to a solution to getting past this wall.  I am now very happy to say I know how I can progress with the story (including some very unexpected twists that I didn’t see before) so now all I have to do is, y’know, write… 

And Finally

Do an outline!  I’ve never been one to write down outlines much before.  Mainly because I’m more of a seat of the pants writer and don’t always know how a project will end.  But another part of me has always felt that, if I have the idea cemented in my head (and I do have a lot in my head) then it feels like a bit of a waste of time to write an outline when I could be writing the actual thing.  By that I don’t mean that outlines are bad, by any means, but if you know how things are going to happen, then why write it down, taking away precious writing time that could be used to write? 

Well that’s all well and good when you’re all the way up there, but here at the bottom of the rut, you need to do everything you can to get you going again, right?

  • http://getmewriting.com Matt Roberts

    There’s some ideas in here about ruttage (that sounds wrong):

    The suggestions are in the second half of the article.
    N.B. I know you’re not strictly speaking about “writer’s block” here, bu the advice in the article still stands.