Avoiding Ruts

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As I’ve mentioned before, my English 2010 students create websites based around an issue of their choosing. One of my students this summer is doing his about being more physically active, and something he said on his blog last week made a lot of sense to me:

Physical activity is definetely [sic] not an easy thing to figure out. One minute I love everything I do, from deadlifts to heavy squats and then I find myself bored with the whole dang routine! The important thing to remember is that variety is key. Once you fall into a rut you loose [sic] interest. This is one of the most important things to remember when participating in physical activity. You need to mix things up!

It’s so true with any activity, but I’ve especially been thinking about it in terms of writing.

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s easy to start dreading the routine of it. And I think that’s why I love coming up with new ways to approach my WIP.

This week those avatars I’ve created have been awesome for inspiring me to get back to work. They’re new and exciting and colorful, and best of all they help me see my novel in new ways — or even just clarify vague impressions I had before. I spent hours and hours tweaking them until every eye, nose and mouth; hair style, outfit and accessory; skin color, face shape and eyebrow looked exactly right. And once they looked right, their personalities leapt off the screen.

Suddenly I was typing up whole profiles like this one, whereas before I’ve always hated that chore. The pictures made it feel like a fun project instead. And thanks to what I typed in the profiles, my revisions feel like cake. I know exacty what character details I need to sprinkle through the story to give it the texture it needs.

What about you? How have you mixed things up when you’ve started to get in a rut with your favorite activity?

Leave a comment!

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5 responses »

  1. Um, I’m so very good at ruts. I tend to stay in them until they feel so deep that I don’t know if I can get out. I love the idea of focusing on a new aspect of your project, instead of a new project. Right now, I’m working on world building and history—two aspects I tend to skim past. It feels like an insurmountable hurdle. Wish me luck.

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  2. Such fun! I tried doing the avatar of my character, but I have such a strong visual it didn’t fit. I drew the character, and think I’ll spice that up instead and post it soon. But good luck on the writing!

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    • Yeah, mine still aren’t perfect. If you can draw, awesome! I’m excited to see it. Unfortunately for me, the avatars were much closer than my drawing skills allowed.

      Good luck on your writing, too! I just have seven more students to grade, a lesson plan to write, and then I can get back to revising. 😀

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  3. Pingback: Blocking a Novel Like a Stage « All About the Words

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