Get Out of Your Content Generation Rut
Sometimes writers struggle to find the words we need. It\’s certainly not enough to make us quit our love affair with writing, so we figure out ways to power through the slow times in our bid to get back on track. After all, the words should flow from us effortlessly, and when they do it\’s pure magic.
Here are some things you can do to help get you out of any \”word rut\” you happen to slip into, getting you back on course in no time.
Read Something Interesting
Long before we learned how to write—really write—we learned how to read. For many, that was our jumping-off point. We were inspired by the stories we read, the depictions they conjured, so we decided then and there we wanted to share our own words with others.
Slow periods for writers are inevitable. Do yourself a favor and find some inspirational words to wrap your mind around, and forget about the grind for a while. Look for some of that old gold that really excited you. Find an intriguing magazine article. Read some nonsense on a website that holds a contrary position to one of yours.
It won\’t take too long before your mind has freed itself from daily writing to enjoy the hard work of others. Their words will help stimulate your creativity, think about things in more descriptive terms, and best of all helped you forget, even if for just a few minutes, that you are in a word rut.
True, this is not a panacea for writer\’s block. Sometimes we really get jammed for words—even motivation—and need a serious jolt get right the course. However, reading something enjoyable, entertaining, and stimulating is an excellent way to help power through those times when the words are at a trickle rather than a torrent.
Visual Stimulation is Powerful
We live in a visual world, and as writers we have to come up with ways to paint and render and display images in words. Before we can describe a scene at a picnic in the park, we\’ve either had to experience that picnic, or we have to invent it. Likely, it\’s a combination of the two, but either way we have to use our tradecraft to recreate that image in our reader\’s minds. We have to transport them to that park.
Fortunately, finding a source of visual stimulation is a simple process today. There are about a thousand television channels to surf, and some ridiculous number of websites to visit. Finding something to look at is a breeze. Album covers, internet memes filled with cats, music videos, children\’s television programming, sports events, and anything else you can imagine.
Find something very interesting and just think about the things you might write about it. Will you focus on a single element or describe it all in great detail? Can you present in a unique or unexpected way? Whatever you decide, take time do give your mind a little visual vacation. Distance yourself from your word rut and let it fill with fresh new things to stimulate your thoughts.
Play a Game
Let\’s face it, a large part of the appeal of smartphones and tablet computers are all the great apps developed for them. Games are among the most popular types of apps, and if you say you don\’t have at least one game on your Android or iOS device, I\’m calling bull.
App games are a lot of fun, and some are downright addicting. How many times have Angry Birds or Words with Friends kept you up past your bedtime? Games represent a nice distraction, and the more mindless they are the more fruit they can bear for a writer struggling to find the right words.
This is a real chance to separate your unconscious and conscious brains from each other. Our unconscious brain, sometimes improperly called our subconscious brain, handles our automatic processes which generally aren\’t available for introspection. These include things like memory, motivation, implicit knowledge, automatic thoughts and reactions, and habits.
When we get into a writing groove, where everything flows with ease, our writing skills go into autopilot as our conscious brain describes the ideas to our fingers on the keyboard. Our unconscious mind wants to write, primarily because it does it so well, but when our two minds are out of sync, it feels like our ability to write is broken. Actually, it\’s just interrupted, frequently, and this is our source of frustration.
When we play a mindless game we let our conscious mind wander where it wants as our unconscious mind loads another angry bird into the slingshot and fires it at the glass house. This is a great way to clear your conscious mind. In the parlance of our time, it\’s like deleting your browser history, clearing the cache, and deleting the cookies.
Soon enough you\’ll have a fresh perspective and your complete writing mechanism will be a single, synchronized system.
No matter what you do to end the writer\’s block, you have to step away from your keyboard. It doesn\’t have to be so long that it starts to impact you financially, but it does have to be long enough to return with a fresh mind. When you feel mentally relaxed and refreshed, you\’re likely at peak performance. Shoot for that and before you know it you\’ll be back in the groove.