Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Beauty of a Writer’s Rut

From Cheryl's Writing Crate...

I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who has not gotten stuck in some type of a rut.  Whether you’re a chef, teacher, artist, fitness instructor, parent, gardener or a writer like I am, there are ebbs and flows of exceptional creativity. And even when you’re simply satisfied with the status quo, every now and again—BAM—we hit a brick wall and don’t know which way to turn to get on to a more fulfilling path.

When people find out I have 8 kids, they either think I’m crazy (depends on the day!) or assume that I must not have time to do anything much more than laundry, cook meals, and, on a good day, get my teeth brushed.  While those tasks certainly do take a good portion of my time, I have somehow always squeaked out enough time to write, even if it was a snippet of 15 little minutes. 

As my kids have gotten older and are now all in school, I’ve had the luxury of writing for more than 15 minutes at a time, and some days I actually have an hour or so!  For me, that’s the equivalent of winning the lottery!  (Well, almost!)  I’ve found, however, that I now face a challenge I never really had before; I’ve hit a handful of writer’s ruts. 

When I had to write quickly and on the go for so long, I had no choice but to get the words from my racing mind to my pen and pad or usually my keyboard because I didn’t know when the next rushed opportunity would present itself.  Now, however, with a little bit more time on my hands I’ve experienced a whole new scenario in the writing process, and, I have to tell you, I’m grateful for it.

My writing voice has pretty much stayed the same for the past 10 years.  I’m known for my humor and tell-it-like-it-is approach to family life. Because I’m writing about very personal and real life situations, I open myself up and invite thousands of people to enter some of my most private moments, which I have found most families can relate to.  Family humor and column writing is my favorite and most comfortable genre, but I also enjoy writing feature articles about the community, health-related articles, and am very excited to be in the process of writing my first novel.  As much as writing energizes me and gives me purpose, now that I am venturing out into more uncharted writing territories I find that it is also causing me to get stuck on a more regular basis.

At first I found this daunting, but now when I feel I’m in a rut with my writing style, my character development, or simply a stale imagination, I have used these opportunities to build some momentum which leads me to try new things such as coloring abstract designs with bright crayons or watercolors, or baking a new cookie, or reading a cookbook or craft magazine to inspire a breakthrough.  These are all things I keep close by in my Writer’s Crate!
Swishing a paint brush around with vibrant colors helps me to break through a writer's rut!

For me, ruts are a new blessing in disguise and I welcome them.  Without stand stills and blocks of boredom in my writing life, I may never take the time to tap into other creative venues that end up being building blocks for a more enthused muse.

How about you?  How do you break through your writing ruts?

1 comment:

  1. Whenever I trip over the dreaded Writer's Block, I stop writing (because trying to force words from the Writer's Block never works and usually sounds unnatural) and hit the Internet and look up a list of creative writing prompts. They're just a sentence or two that set a scene and conflict meant for others to write a short story with. They're so helpful because they get the creative juices flowing again, like rubbing your foot when it falls asleep to get the blood circulating again.