Just to clarify, I am not feeling writer’s rut! Or writer’s block.
Luckily, block seems to be behind me–at the moment the only thing keeping me from finishing my book is lack of time. Given a good day, a productive day, I could probably have the thing wrapped up. That’s not saying whatever I wrote would be worth the computer it was written on, but hey. It would be finished, which is more than I can say about most other things I write.
No, I’m doing quite peachy, thank you very much. (Aside from having cheated on my coffee resolution and feeling appropriately guilty for it.) In fact, I got some gerbils! (I take some pictures so you guys can see them, they’re adorable. <3)
This is just something that my script-writing teacher mentioned a week or so ago, and it was a topic I wanted to write about.
Is it anything like writer’s block? No, not really. Writer’s block is typified by an inability to write. Whether this is caused by a feeling of inadequacy, a fear of blank paper, or not knowing how to get started–everyone’s cause is different, but the effects are awful. I hate writer’s block, when I get it. You wouldn’t think, with the 50 billion novel ideas I have piled up, that I could EVER be at a loss for what to write, but… Them’s the breaks.
(It’s actually kind of like when you say ‘I’m bored.’ You don’t mean ‘I have nothing in the world to do.’ What you mean is, ‘None of the things I should be doing are appealing to me, and I would rather flop around on the couch and complain about it.’ I get you, bro.)
So! WRITER’S RUT. What the heck is that, then? It’s more like feeling that you’ve gotten to a place in your writing where you’re doing the same-old same-old. Where you’ve stopped taking any risks, stopped surprising or interesting yourself. (At least as my teacher explained it.) “I never get writer’s block,” she told us, “but writer’s rut–now that I definitely get!”
So wouldn’t a lot of writer’s have Writer’s Rut? I mean, if you’re writing a billion-and-one books in a series, isn’t that like writing the same thing over and over and over? So what’s the difference between doing that and having ‘writer’s rut’? I’m not really sure I know. (I know, this post is really helpful, right?)
As far as I can tell, Shelley just likes to keep it moving. You should never write things when there’s no soul behind them; if you don’t have a piece of sand in your mouth, irritating and scratching until you finally have to turn it into a pearl. If you find yourself writing things with the hum-drum repetitiveness that plagues you when you, say, brush your teeth or enter data into an Excel spreadsheet, that’s probably a hint that you could be suffering from Writer’s Rut. Take a step back. Remind yourself why you’re writing what you’re writing. Is it because you’re going down a list of stories and this is the next one on the list? Because this is what you always write? That’s no fun! (And writing should ALWAYS be fun, at least if you’re trying to be an author.)
Think about what really motivates you, what gets you thinking, what makes dialogue pop up while you’re in the shower or has you sitting too long at a stop-sign daydreaming. Then write about that. Forget if you leave another project hanging, or if it isn’t what you planned. Heck, forget if it isn’t even in your genre!
Nobody should be in a rut, let alone write from one. Write what you know. But, more importantly, write what you love.