5 Ways to Climb Out of a Writing Rut


Many times when I’m stuck and my brain refuses to wrap itself around one more word, I find it is best to turn off the computer and drag oneself out of the office. No matter what the rut is, I have learned it helps the creative process to leave the premises and unearth some inspiration. Have you ever stared at the words on the computer screen, but your eyes are so glazed over that they can’t recognize the letters that form the words? Are you sometimes simply stuck? Frustration slinks up your back and bursts out your brain leaving a crater sized hole in your creativity. Empty.

Here are five ways to help you scale up the ladder and out of the ditch we call a rut; they usually have nothing to do with writing, by the way.

1. I usually jump on my horse and head out into the woods. If you don’t ride, you can: fill in the blank. What is your hobby? Photography? Reading? How about just taking a walk, playing a game with your kids or spouse. No matter what it is, simply get out of the house and walk that dog, sing to the parakeet, play with the cat.

2. Turn the music up and dance. Listen to the lyric––shout them out. Jot down any ideas that may percolate as you sing and dance. Lyrics can really be inspirational depending on what genre you are writing and what type of music you are listening to, or hopefully singing to at the top of your lungs.

3. Take a drive, preferably to the local library or better yet, local historical center or museum. Research for the current piece of writing or book you are working on. Get new ideas and inspiration for a potential novel. But get out of the house. Find old newspapers, if you’re writing is historical, and take notes. Scan old photo’s and jot down garments wore by those in the photo, expressions on their faces, anything that you see.

4. If you play an instrument, or had long ago, drag it out of the closet or attic and reacquaint yourself with it. Your brain will have to refocus and use the creative side. That creativity will transfer to pen and paper, keys and computer screen.

5. Exercise. Get the oxygen back into the brain so it can do its job and create.
I know many days I had to get up and, depending on the season, either ride my horses or go for a walk. Many times I take my camera with me and shoot pictures. I usually have my I-pod tuned into my favorite songs and by the time I returned to my office, my fingers are eager to fly over the keys.

Images for my outdoor scenes became increasingly clear. I can hear those birds and crickets. The green pine needles radiate a deeper hue. The warm summer breeze or sparking glitter of the fresh snow spark my emotions, allowing the creative side of my brain to lift me out of the rut and into my story, one page at a time.

What are you currently working on? What helps you to climb out of your rut?

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