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.
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!
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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.
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.
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.
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!