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Variety is the Spice of Your Writing Life

January 21, 2013

Warning: Another exercising-equals-writing metaphor ahead. Enter at your own risk!

I have to be honest. I’m tired of getting my butt kicked by the evil, sadistic bastard Shaun T. I can tell Tony Horton’s jokes along with him as I do P90X, almost like it’s a movie I’ve seen too many times.

So for Christmas this year, I decided I wanted two new workouts. There are some supplemental Insanity workouts that include an upper-body weight routine (and my upper body needs lots of work). And there’s a new workout set called Les Mills Combat which looked like a lot of fun. They came today, and today for the first time in weeks, my workout is something I did because I wanted to. I was excited when I popped the DVD in and pressed play.

The teachers for Les Mills Combat. She scares me. A lot.

Now comes the equals-writing part. Ruts are as much a part of writing as any other activity. I’ve had them. You’ve had them. They’re like wandering around the desert praying each day for an oasis and convincing yourself that there’s no bloody way in hell that an oasis is possible. Your dry spot is going to last forever and whatever talent you used to have got sucked into the talent black hole.

It’s kind of hard to be a productive writer if you don’t see productivity as likely. It’s hard to be effective if writing is a chore you do because writers write and–by-y-y-y-y d-a-a-a-amn–you’re a writer.

Maybe it’s time to write something else for little while. Here are some possibilities:

  • Write a difficult scene from another character’s point of view. See what they see, because their viewpoint is different than yours.
  • Take a break from your work-in-progress, if you can, and maybe write a blog post or two.
  • Write about something you care about that’s completely different than anything you’re currently working on.
  • Find a writing prompt (there are a lot of them on this high-quality website).
  • Write your eulogy.
  • Write your protagonist’s or antagonist’s eulogy.
  • Write something totally different.

If that doesn’t work, you can sit down at a typewriter and write All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but that’s been done before, and it didn’t work out very well.



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