Positive Writer

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Conquering Writing Ruts

This post is by Positive Writer contributor The Magic Violinist.

Every writer gets into a rut at some point. You write a book. And another. And another. Pretty soon they all have the same plot, the same kinds of characters, and the same sorts of villain.

How do you conquer this writing rut? By following three simple steps.

Creative Commons by Caterina.Appia

Creative Commons by Caterina.Appia

When I’m in a writing rut, it’s bad. I rarely write more than five-hundred words a day, my characters all have the same personality, and my plots all start to involve a quest to retrieve some sort of magical artifact.

Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to get rid of these nasty ruts.

1. Write in a different genre

If all you’re writing is fantasy or mystery, try writing something else. I write a lot of middle-grade/YA fantasy, but just one romantic short story and contemporary YA novel has completely changed my writing style. I’m actually excited about my writing and I rarely have writer’s block.

2. Do some free writing

Turn on some classical music, lock yourself in your bedroom, and let loose. Write poetry, write about what you did yesterday, write crap. Soon your creative juices will start to flow and you’ll come up with some brand new ideas.

3. Inspire yourself

Read a book, watch a movie, listen to some music, talk to your writer friends. One of my favorite things to do when I’m in a rut is to look for an inspiring image online and write using that picture as a prompt. You know what they say: a picture’s worth a thousand words. (Or in my case, two-thousand).

When your rut is gone, it is utter bliss. It feels likes an invisible cage that was trapping your imagination has been unlocked and suddenly your typing is a cacophony of clicks and clacks.

Writing ruts can be difficult to get rid of, but with a little time and a lot of writing, it’ll be gone. Take it from someone who’s written three books with a shy, nerdy main character.

What are some of your tricks to conquering writing ruts? Share in the comments.

~The Magic Violinist

About The Magic Violinist

I am a home schooled teenager who daydreams, writes, reads, and does nerdy stuff in my free time. I have two awesome parents, a wonderful little brother, and an adorable, crazy dog named Scout. I blog at The Magic Violinist. I’m also a contributor to The Audacity to be a Writer. I’d say that I want to be an author when I grow up, but I don’t think I can wait that long.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins



  • Jean Reinhardt

    Thanks for posting this, I use all three methods above to help get the words flowing when I’m in a slump. Half way through my first book, YA fiction I must have hit the 30,000 word wall so I began to write a novella. It’s Historical Fiction, so a completely different genre and characters. I finished both books around the same time. This really works for me. Jean

    • themagicviolinist

      Wow, two books with one stone! I envy you. 😉

  • Enjoyed your post. As well as your three suggestions when a writer is in a rut. I’d have to say I keep writing even if the words are “I don’t know what to write…” I find it breaks through. I also learned this past week that what might seem like a rut is really being too tired. While at a campground, I sat before a screen and it remained white. I realized I was exhausted. I need to be able to think clearly to write that way. Thanks again for a good post.

    • themagicviolinist

      I’m glad you liked it. 🙂 Writing even when you don’t feel like writing is soooooo important. (As is sleep). 😉

      • Ooops, I hadn’t read your response to Anne till now, TMV. Now that’s kind of funny considering my post today lol 🙂

    • Anne, this is the comment from you that inspired the “Procrastination” post.

      • Thanks for clarifying Bryan, I would have thought about it and thought about it trying to remember. 🙂

  • I struggle with writing in genre other than non-fictional narrative. I fell into a deep writing sleep the last several weeks. Getting involved in a DIY project really motivated me to write about it.

    • themagicviolinist

      That’s great! 😀 Isn’t it wonderful to become excited again?

  • Wendy Strain

    Looks like my method is a bit different. I usually go out and talk with people I don’t know – grocery line, at the mall, just out and about somewhere. The unusual voice, their different perspective, the stories they tell all percolate into my brain and new stories/characters are formed on the way home.

    • themagicviolinist

      That is an awesome idea! 😀 I should try that out sometime.

  • Still struggling with the second story, never mind the rest. You ideas work. The first was romantic, the second a murder mystery but it’s not easy. I’m not a Dexter so I struggle with the murder scene. Any ideas on how to write that…only joking of course, you don’t look like a serial killer to me. 😉

    • themagicviolinist

      Ha! Yeah, nothing dangerous behind this keyboard. *Looks sideways* Just kidding!

      I suggest reading a few murder scenes from well-known books. Since I’ve been homeschooled my whole life, I read books about kids who go to school to learn about it, and it’s really helped me! Good luck! 🙂

  • Great post, Ms. Violinist! I love that you have, at such a young age, already identified strategies to escape from ruts and writer’s block. If there’s an ounce of quit in you, it’s not going to last long!

    • themagicviolinist

      Thank you! 🙂

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  • Thanks for sharing, good luck in your writing, seems you’re off to a great start.

    • themagicviolinist

      Thanks for commenting! 😀