Stuck in a writing rut?

Me too…My typical excitement for the new year and my novel has mysteriously disappeared.  Instead of approaching my computer with enthusiasm, I find myself dreading it or worse avoiding it all together. 

There are countless articles out there with tips on how to overcome writer’s block.  But what if you are just lacking motivation?  Based on advice that I have read and some of my own experience, I have come up with a couple of things that seem to work for me. 

  • Read – I either re-read one of my favorite books or one in the same genre that I’m currently writing.  This usually reminds me why I’m writing in the first place – to craft a beautiful, brilliant story! 
  • Other artistic outlets – When i’m in a slump, picking up a paintbrush or my camera can usually get my creative juices flowing again. 
  • Tackle my to-do list – Sometimes items I have been putting off weigh heavily on my mind and I just can’t concentrate on writing.  Crossing a nagging task of of my to-do list helps alleviate the burden and allows me to regain focus. 
  • Write anyways – This is a common one listed to help get over writer’s block.  There are days when you just have to force your self to write.  Jotting down lists, working on a new story, or even writing in my journal helps me get back in the swing of things.
  • Take a couple days off – There are times when none of these work and I just need a “writing vacation.”  I have to remind myself that its OK to take a break every once in a while.  The perfectionist in me wants to get everything done right away and flawless, but that typically leaves me feeling overwhelmed and burned out.  This gives me a chance to clear my head and approach my writing with more focus. 

My novel has left me feeling very overwhelmed lately, so I took a “writing vacation.”  I spent the week trying to not feel guilty about not working on it and figured out what was really bothering me.  As I’ve been revising my very rough draft the plot and characters began to detach.   

Every time I sat down to work on it I felt lost and wasn’t sure how to bring it back together, which has left me very discouraged.  After taking a couple of days off I’ve been able to work up an outline and clear plan of attack. 

What helps you when writing seems overwhelming or discouraging?  I’d love to hear your solutions!

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