Positive Writer

This blog is about overcoming doubt and creating work that matters!

10 Ways to Leave Your Comfort Zone and Write!

When you feel like you can’t write another word, or the words you are writing don’t feel fresh and inspiring, it’s time to leave your comfort zone.

just-write-already

Creative ruts happen to us all, from writers with several books under their belts, to first-time bloggers. Because we can’t expect to live in a constant stream of creative energy, ruts are merely a byproduct of the writing life, and they’re unavoidable.

The key is knowing how to crawl out of one and come out the other side feeling refreshed and inspired to tackle your next project, or follow-through on your current project. They’re not caused by anything we do or don’t do, just a byproduct of the life of a writer.

Since a new year just began, there’s no better time to try something new and see where it leads you. If you’re feeling stalled, here are some tips on:

Leave Your Comfort Zone and Write!

Tweet this to help others get back in their writing groove.

10 Ways to Leave Your Comfort Zone

1. Read a book from another genre.

If you’re a playwright, read a novel. If you’re in the middle of writing a memoir, read a book of poetry. The new perspective and fresh language might inspire you. If you’re up for an exercise, borrow the first line of a novel chapter or poem and just start writing to see where you end up.

2. Read a book from another discipline.

Instead of reading how-to books for writers, peruse a book about painting, history, or how to be a better photographer. Sometimes being exposed to other disciplines can rejuvenate your own.

3. Try a new cuisine.

Writers need to eat. If you’re always frequenting Italian restaurants, make a reservation for Cuban or Indian next time. Let the experience be sensory. What do you smell and taste? If you arrive for dinner with an open mind, you might leave with a new idea for a short story, or insights to a potential new character.

4. Explore your town.

Think you’ve experienced everything your town has to offer? There’s probably a new neighborhood, coffee shop, or attraction you haven’t visited yet. Spend a weekend afternoon playing tourist in your backyard.

5. Escape.

If you can manage a weekend getaway, the thrill of exploring a new city for the first time is sure to inspire. You don’t have to fly across country or to an exotic destination, either. See what cities are within a 2 hour drive and start planning.

6. Visit a museum.

Museums are full of potential when it comes to expanding your creativity, especially when new shows are always coming to town. Bring a notebook, sit in front of something that moves you, and listen.

7. Exercise differently.

If you always attend a spin class on Monday and Wednesday nights, try Zumba or yoga instead. Logging miles on the pavement? Pack a picnic and go for a hike. Especially when you get outdoors, the views alone can breathe new life into your projects and help you find clarity on something as small as a word or sentence that wasn’t sitting well with you.

8. Buy a new notebook.

This one works every time. There’s something invigorating about brainstorming on a blank page where anything is possible.

9. Network.

If you’re the kind of writer who prefers to go through the day without so much as a single interaction with another person, you’re missing out on new opportunities and relationships. Reach out to someone you recently met and would like to know better. This can be a colleague you met at a conference, fellow blogger, or friend of a friend. They don’t have to be writers, just someone who you’re inspired by in some way. The more you talk to other creative people, the more your ideas will take shape, not to mention that it’s invigorating to be around other people who are passionate about their work.

10. Read and/or listen to author interviews.

Here’s an interview Bryan Hutchinson did with Jeff Goins and another one he did with Seth Godin.

This is the kind of list that doesn’t need to be fulfilled all at once. Pick your favorite suggestion and give it a try.

Also, try to go easy on yourself! The words will come again, they always do.

What are your favorite ways to find inspiration when you feel like your writing energy is depleted? Let me know in the comments!

About Nicole Gulotta

By day, Nicole Gulotta is the assistant manager of the world's largest humanitarian award. By night, she's a gourmet home cook, writer, and recipe developer. She received an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is based in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and French bulldog. Twitter: @nicolegulotta Blog: Eat This Poem

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  • Debra L. Butterfield

    Great ideas, Nicole. I especially like the “read a book from another discipline.” Maybe some of these ideas will also help me recover some energy too.

    • Nicole Gulotta

      Thanks Debra! If you’re missing some writing energy, incorporating a few of these ideas in a mindful way should certainly help! Sometimes we need to get a fresh perspective before feeling renewed again.

  • http://brucercross.com/ Bruce R. Cross

    Nicole – your list is a breath of fresh air….love the cuisine change (Indian…hmmm!!)…..taking in the Olympics last night hit me with a couple of great thoughts…thanks for sharing

    • Nicole Gulotta

      Thanks for your feedback, Bruce! Enjoy your next dinner out!

  • http://alexbrantham.com/ AlexBrantham

    Another idea: watch a TV program that you would never normally be seen dead watching, not even if you had a head full of cold and everyone you know is out of town. Remember that somebody watches this: who are they? Put yourself inside their head – it will be quite different from yours.

    • Nicole Gulotta

      That’s a great one Alex, thanks!

  • http://www.outcollectinglight.com/ Roni Delmonico

    Here’s my notebook – I LOVED that idea!:)

    • Nicole Gulotta

      Love this, Roni! New notebooks are always a great way to find more energy.

  • Marianne Kesler

    Good ideas! I just posted a blog on creativity which shared a bit of this concept.
    Recently i posted a picture of a new notebook on fb and was surprised how people chimed in to say how much simply getting a new notebook inspired them!
    http://mariannekesler.com/blog/starting_out_on_the_wrong_foot/

  • Tim Rettig

    Thanks for the good piece!
    Personally I go an extreme way to stay out of my comfort zone. I move from country to country every two or three years. Just when I’m about to understand the local way of thinking – it’s time to move on. That way I learn something new every day just by going through my daily routine.