5 Ways to Get Out of a Writing Rut: Kickstarting Creative Energy

 

By: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.com

“I am constantly looking for ways to amend my writing habits, in a way that can really change the way I both view and produce written content. Facing the uninspired, unmotivated feelings head on has certainly made a major change in just how productive I’ve become – as well as learning how to maintain that level of productivity. I remember, this time last year, I was making excuses for the lack of motivation and in turn, lack of overall productivity I’d been experiencing. I just couldn’t pull myself out of this incessant writing rut, and I turned to a variety of different alternatives to really get to the root of the problem so that I could fix it. Any time I’ve begun to feel a bit weary where my writing is concerned, or I just can’t seem to get the words down on paper, I turn to these alternatives. It isn’t and never has been an immediate fix, for every “rut” can manifest itself differently, but it has certainly helped in the long run. I can say that I am making five times the progress I had been this time last year, and I have work to show for it. That is an accomplishment within itself, and one I remind myself of on a day where I just can’t seem to start.”

Life can get the better of us sometimes, in ways we really cannot see coming. When this happens, it can really put a damper on our creative energy. We get stuck, entirely unsure of how to get out of a creative rut. I, myself, have been working on making necessary changes to my life when I fall into a creative rut, or when life gets a bit too overwhelming, because that is when they matter the most. Sometimes, we let the volume of work overwhelm us, hold us back from just how much we could really be accomplishing. October has always been a really hard month for me, and this is something I forget until it comes back around – because long ago, it used to be my favourite month; a time where I felt the most productive. 

I’ll say this, there is a difference between taking time to work through something, and taking time to try to suppress it altogether. The latter usually never works for me. I’ve worked for a very long time to hone my creativity, and I can’t simply allow it to slip through my fingers when the going gets tough. As much as it may be difficult, it is the start of a whole new month, and there is time to rebuild, recenter, and reintroduce creativity into my life in a way that could potentially change it for the better.

5 Ways to Get Out of a Writing Rut: What’s Worked For Me

  1. Acknowledge the problem, understand why you may be feeling unmotivated: Usually, it takes me a while to truly realize when I am not working as efficiently as I potentially could. I take the time to pull myself out of bed, sit down at my desk (as hard as it can be on some days) and crack open my journal. I don’t give myself any direction, I just write. I write whatever I want, whatever comes to mind, whether that’d be how I’m feeling or something that may aid in a creative work. We can’t create consistency if we don’t face the setbacks that may be clouding our minds, and I’ve been working to let go of stress as much as possible.
  2. Read something that excites you: I’ve loved reading, and I always will love reading. Though, understandably it can be difficult to find time to get lost in a book when you’ve got Uni readings to do, or when you’re just simply too busy with work. Sometimes, I’ll even try to set aside time to read, but find that I am too consumed with whatever else I’m doing to actually get down to reading leisurely. I’ve been telling myself to just read for ten minutes. It may seem like a really short amount of time, but it can surely make the greatest difference. Sometimes, when I read a passage that excites me, something as short as a paragraph even, it makes me want to write – even if I’m not happy with my work. It can really do wonders.
  3. Write a bit now, write a bit later: Spread out your writing sessions between your workload to maximize on time, as well as not stressing yourself out too much to reach a certain word count during the time you may have allotted to write. If I have a break, I’ll pull out my laptop and write for twenty minutes or so, and get back to work. When I have another break, I’d do the same. This doesn’t have to be a novel, or a particular project that you’re working on. It can simply be a journal entry, a short story, anything you want to put down on paper. Practice will definitely keep you going, and writing the first few things that come to mind can really kickstart a great story.
  4. Stop thinking about everyone else’s opinions on writing, being a writer, and what they might think of your work: This is also something that has set me back quite a bit, because instead of focusing my time and energy on what I was putting down on paper, I was too focused on whether it’d be a likeable read or whether it’d be received well. None of that matters, what matters is how your work makes you feel, how it fulfills you, and that alone is something to keep in mind when you feel as though writing today is just a bit too hard. If you were to set aside what everyone else thought, what would you write? That in itself is a starting point.
  5. Channeling your emotions, each and every one of them: You know when you wake up incredibly stressed out, and you may have a bit of time to get to writing, but you just can’t seem to get out of your head long enough to get any words down? Write anyway. You know when you’ve begun to feel as though your piece may not be as good as it could’ve been and you want to scrap it? Continue it anyway. If we see our emotions as setbacks, we might never get to writing. We’re creatives, and we feel deeply. That is something that allows us to authenticate a piece in a way that can really reach people. Think about that when you feel a bit stuck.

I know that NaNoWriMo is upon us soon, and I’ve also begun to work on my prep. I wish any of you participating the best of luck, and I hope these help you through the writing process this upcoming November.

Thank you for reading!

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