Any writer knows that being creative isn’t always fun. It’s damn hard work, and requires pushing past the stodgy boring phase and into a mindset where you could type for hours. But if your creative pools have run dry and you’re stuck in a rut where the stodgy phase feels like it will go on forever, how do you get into the ‘flow’ of writing again?
How do you know you’re in it?
Sometimes you’re working on a massive project and just can’t seem to focus properly or get motivated; sometimes you’re just trying to get to the word count but the words won’t come; sometimes your cursor just drifts back to the internet tab. You're trying to write, you really are. You've got a few words on the page, that's good right?
The easiest way to know if you’re stuck in a writing rut, is to ask yourself: have you been writing lately? When was the last time you opened a Word document? How long did you spend staring at it before you exited? How long has it been since you got past that difficult phase and into a state of creative bliss?
How to get out
Alright, so you're in a rut and the age-old advice, 'just keep writing', isn't getting you anywhere. The last thing you need to do is keep doing what you're doing.
William Goldman said that:
The easiest thing to do on earth is not write."
It’s easy to give in to boredom and disinterest, and it takes a strong mind to focus on your imagination and replenish your creativity. It’s not always a matter of ‘working through it’, although it’s worth a try. Sometimes you need to go big – be drastic.
Move from the table to the chair, from the chair to the bed, from the bed to the floor. Wherever your usual space is, get away from it. A change of scenery can make you focus on new things around you and help spark new inspirations.
Get up an hour early and write in the morning, or spend time on your daily commute thinking creatively. Challenge your brain at different times during the day, when you least expect it; this will build your writing-muscles so they’re strong when you need to put them into action later.
Write something different
Write outside your genre, perspective, or character. Come up with something totally wild that’s just for you, really letting your imagination loose. You’ll find that by taking writing less seriously, you’re not so wound up over word choice and finer details that hold you back.
Create a playlist
Music can get you in a lyrical or atmospheric mood, and you can use these to spark your writing. Create playlists like prompts, writing to the vibe of each song and seeing where they take your story. The great thing about this exercise is that you can change it up any time you like by making new lists or adding onto old ones.
You can check out more of our writing advice here.