9.04.2013

IWSG: The Writing Rut

All year I'd been in a smooth writing groove - producing at least 1000 words a day when drafting and editing at a satisfying pace.

Enter summer and something happened. I hit a wall. Fell in a hole. Was stuck in a never-ending tunnel. I was in a writing rut for the first time and wasn't sure how to climb out.


At first I resisted. I struggled with my WiP while toying with the idea of resurrecting my first novel. When that endeavor fell flat, I searched for new ideas because maybe I just needed something fresh to work on.

But nothing felt right.

So I went the other direction... I let go and took a break, writing only when I was inspired and not beating myself up over it if I didn't often find my way to that place.

And guess what? It worked. I was being too critical, putting too much pressure on producing. I think once you get an agent (and even more so once you get a book deal (so I've heard...ahem)), you feel the need to keep writing novels - AND YOU SHOULD KEEP WRITING - but for me, for some reason, I was freezing. I'd forgotten what I wanted and loved to do and instead was focusing on what I felt I should be doing (and the should was of my own self-imposed creation). I needed to chill out and BREATHE. Reconnect with my characters and my story.

After I did that, I fell in love again...

Note to self: it is possible to love and write and produce all at once. Just remember to LET GO.
 
 
Ever hit a writing rut or get stuck in a never-ending tunnel? How did you find your way out?
 
 
 *Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting IWSG - a monthly blog hop where writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. iI’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!*
 


17 comments:

  1. Sounds like some excellent advice to me. We all need to step back sometimes.

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  2. I hit that rut about twice a day. Each time I have to slog through, allowing myself to write crap in hopes that I might someday pull a gem from the pile. So far though, I've only succeeded in writing mountains of crap.

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    1. Ha! MOUNTAINS OF CRAP - sounds like a catchy title to me JL!

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  3. Can certainly relate to the PARALYZING effect of being on sub. Should I be writing something similar to fit with my "brand" just in case I get a deal that could turn into a 2-book deal? Or what if it doesn't sell, then why would I write another likely dud...maybe I should do a 180...maybe I should jump genres...maybe I should just GIVE the EFF UP. Yeah, dark days at times.

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    1. The word 'paralyze' makes me anxious - another post for another time...I have issues.

      And yes, sing it soul sista! You feel me!

      xo

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  4. I actually have a publishing deal. AND an insane writing goal with hundreds of people watching to see if I'll succeed.

    Still, I take breaks when the words don't want to come. Best way there is for me to get back into a tricky story. Sometimes, the brain only needs a few days for something to drop into place in your story. :-)

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    1. Misha, you're making me anxious too! ;)

      Congrats on the pub deal!!! Will look up your book and add it to my Goodreads!

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    2. It's not on Goodreads yet, but I'm hoping to get that done soon... :-)

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  5. Oh very wise you. Sometimes taking a break, nurturing other aspects of our life, is just what we need to let the creativity flow again. Glad you found your groove again.

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  6. This is SO TRUE! I took the summer off too. Did a lot of critiqing, but really just took it off. Now I'm really excited to get back in the saddle. There's a lot of really anxious characters up in my head :)

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    1. So glad to hear this Kelley - I'm in good company :) And yeah, those pesky characters! I'm already being haunted by voices from my next novel and I'm only 2/3 through my current WiP!

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  7. I've even read a few posts by other writers who downplay the whole "write every day" mantra. It doesn't work for them. And writing until our well runs dry just doesn't seem productive to me. Sounds like you listened to your heart-- now that's advice I can take!

    Julie Luek
    A Thought Grows
    Co-host IWSG October

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  8. I've experienced the same thing and I did the same thing you did; let go. I allowed myself to not think about the novel. To watch TV. Drink some wine. Go to Zumba. And once I finally let go I was able to go back to the novel feeling refreshed.

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    1. Definitely Quanie. It's so important to step back. Thanks for stopping by :)

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