Friday, March 4, 2011

Stuck in a Rut? Post Nano Series Evaluation

It's been months since you buckled down and cranked out 50,000 words towards a new novel. It's months before time to think about the next Nano challenge (if you just do November like me). The shine has worn off and life has fallen into routine.

Perhaps even your writing has fallen into a steady pattern--which could be good. But sometimes we get stuck in a rut. Trudging along the well beaten path because it's been tried and it's easier than forging our own trail.
Wheel Ruts at Guernsey, Wyoming Photo by Linda Meyer

It's time to stop and evaluate where we are. I'm sure you've all heard that in order to keep things fresh and exciting in your love life you need to mix it up. Try something new, go somewhere you've never been together, learn something new so you have new things to talk about, and so on. You know the whole Variety is the Spice of Life bit. 
found on google images
For instance, if you always go to Wal-Mart on your date with hubby, mix it up and go to Target instead. Yeah, laugh it up, but this is my life. And yes, we laugh about it too, but I digress...

I love cinnamon, but sometimes a meal goes better with Thai chili sauce than cinnamon, right? So, if we are in love with our writing, we need to mix it up as well. We need variety in our writing projects, times, methods, etc. You know this. I knew it, but I forgot.
I was blissfully happy with my writing area. It's a great space. However, after months of sitting there I entered the writing blahs again. It was so nice that I stopped going to the library or Ikea to write. With cold weather, I stayed inside instead of taking my notebook outside, and on and on with the excuses. Well, last week, hubby took my van to the dealership for a standard tune up 30/60K miles thing. He brought home a cute little rental for me to drive until the van was finished.

The day contained the same trips around town, but for some reason it felt different. It was shiny in a way I didn't understand at first. Sitting in the carpool line I felt the urge to open a notebook and write. Nothing specific, but a deep need to feel the pen moving across the page, revealing a story word by word. Adventure. Discovery. The things that I love and have been missing with my writing lately.

Later I realized that a new car and new radio stations (it had XM radio) was just enough change to pull me out of my rut. I felt better, energized and ready to move forward. I had been writing little bits here and there, but the spark was gone. The thoughts in my mind were more along the lines of, "It's all been done" "there's nothing I can add" and so forth. And yes, it has all been done. But I can do it again in my own way, making it new and different. 

Here's my challenge to you for this weekend and next week:
Be spontaneous. 
Step out of your routine and try something new.

And a question:
Where are your favorite places to write?

Let's start a list so we can try out new places.
Car pool line
Outside at the park
Panera Bread
Amelie's French Bakery--it's the perfect artsy place to be, with pastries!
Ikea cafe I love their vegetable medallions.
My back porch
My desk
The kitchen table
Doctor's offices (including the Dentist)

And finally, watch this and remember how simple things are the best in life. Smile, it's going to be a great weekend!


  1. Great advice.

    I usually write in the tv room because I don't have a desk in my bedroom and living at parents' house does limit certain things. Though I could consider taking over sister's bedroom since she doesn't live here anymore and there is a desk in there. I live in a small town so we don't even have a coffee shop to go to but I found out Pizza Hut has wireless internet. I could write there if I really wanted to and once I wrote during nanowrimo at the bowling alley (no internet) since I bowl in league once a week.

  2. I really need an awesome new writing area. This whole laptop thing is a bit uncomfortable at times. Well, unless it's resting on a table...which it isn't, being a LAPtop and all ;)

    As for my NaNo, I've looked at the first chapter or two, but haven't done much editing on it at all. I'll get there!!

  3. Dawn, I vote take the sister's room. LOL, I think writing in a bowling alley could be fascinating. So many people to observe for inspiration.

    Trisha, no rush on the Nano, get to it when it feels right. I just promised my region to send some tips, motivation, and other reminders through out the year to help them keep writing.

  4. Oh to sit and write and look out the window. I write on the back of children's homework scraps, utility bill envelopes, and the transcribe it to my laptop sitting atop my lap somewhere (usually in front of a t.v.). I rarely have more than five minutes to myself. Now, my computer crashed with a virus. I saved my scraps of paper but never backed up my latest novel which had high hopes for an agent. :-(

  5. I'm still finishing revisions, but I'll have to try some changes soon.

  6. I need something to spur on my writing. It's been dead-pen-in-hand lately. Trying something new is a great idea! And a place I love to write, or at least find inspiration, driving up to any place that's got a great view. A hill near Snowbasin ski resort, in particular. Thanks for the challenge! New follower and fellow crusader stopping by ~ :)

  7. Thanks for the advice!

    I always write at the desk in the living room--it's the only place where there's a computer.

    LOL at the video. :D

  8. I have to write in my office because I don't have a laptop, but when I'm planning a new book or doing muse exercises I like to write where I feel inspired at the moment. In the kitchen, on the deck, in front of the TV...whatever gets the creativity going.

  9. Favorite place to write? Cross-legged on my bed wrapped in blankets with my laptop in my lap. OR in my boyfriend's bedroom in his chair while he's sleeping in the background.

  10. All good points. There's a little cafe not too far from my house (I can walk! :) that has the most amazing lattes. I spent most of my NaNo time writing there, and even talked to the owner a few times about my story when I got stuck (she was a great listener, I might add). I haven't been there much since, but I think I'm going over there this afternoon. Here's hoping the change of scene will help where I am right now.

    Is it a little masochistic that I kinda miss NaNo? :)

    PS--I wanted to comment on your post on Thursday, but so many people had much better advice than I could offer. I hope it worked out. Did you get your one-liner in on time? I've got my fingers crossed for you!

  11. Great advice. I usually write in the living room, since our computer is there. I do write on my laptop in my bedroom at times as well. :)

  12. Hi Charity

    I write in the sitting room with my laptop on my lap, but I seriously don't think it is a good idea. I need to mix it up and find somewhere else to write!

    Now then, you are invited to a "dinner party" for Crusader Group 14 over at my blog.

    Writes of Passage

    Come and join in!


  13. Your writing space looks awesome. I like to mix it up a little too. I need variety. I also need a getaway/break/vacation. ANYthing will do.


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