Monday, July 12, 2010

Lab Experiment

Welcome to Monday. Here Under the Tiki Hut, I usually blog about something writing related on Mondays. I stress related because I believe writing is such a personal experience that just because something works for me, it might be the worst thing ever for you and your writing.

I don't necessarily mean things like grammar rules. More like a plotter telling a pantser, "You must outline!"

So I aim for things others may not cover.  Today I'm writing about what to do when nothing works.

Don't be afraid to experiment with your writing - especially if you're having difficulty with something. It doesn't matter what the "something" is. Maybe it has to do with story. Or craft. Or time. Or whatever.

Try writing in a different genre.
Try a different viewpoint character for the troublesome passage.
Try a different ending if the one you wrote doesn't satisfy you.

Take a writing class.
Buy a good grammar book.
Find a good critique partner.

Change the time of day you write.
Change all or some of those little rituals you do - we all have at least one quirk here. Yes, I'm talking to you :)
Rearrange your desk to give yourself a new outlook.

Bottom Line:
Find what works for you.
When it stops working ... change it.

31 comments:

VR Barkowski said...

Great post, Carol. Change is a scary thing, but without it, all there is is stasis. We must never stop challenging ourselves as writers.

Journaling Woman said...

This is great advice. I hate change, but I admit that changing up things helps my creative juices to flow again.

T

Joanne said...

Great advice. I often find that if I'm stuck on a particular scene, approaching it from a direction that I think just could never work, works! Something about bringing a completely different angle to the writing really opens up the thought process.

Mason Canyon said...

Sometimes we all need a little change. When reading, I have to change genres sometimes or I get bogged down. If you take a quick break, you can come back with fresh eyes.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Lydia Kang said...

It's true, sometimes we need to change, but change is hard and scary! but in the end, the results are often wonderful. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wise advice! Once little change can make all the difference in the world.

Terry Odell said...

So true. I don't recommend that everyone move across country and set up a totally new writing environment, but the conception that "this is how it has to be done" will slam you against that brick wall.

Talli Roland said...

Happy Monday, Carol!

Thanks for the reminder to change things up! I think it's important to challenge ourselves on a regular basis.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Excellent post, love the suggestions, Carol--the more I "change it up" the more I get writing flow.

Aubrie said...

Good advice! I always try to change things up when I'm stuck in a rut, and you just gave me more ideas!

Elana Johnson said...

This is the best post ever. Have you seen the QT blog today? You should submit this post. :)

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Excellent advice, Carol! If I really hit a brick wall, I'll just put whatever it is away for a while. I may work on something different, or I may work on nothing at all. Yes, I do commit the ultimate sin - I just don't write. It always comes back.

Wine helps.

Helen Ginger said...

I admit, cleaning my desk helps. It doesn't take long for it to become a cluttered mess (like now). If I clean it up and organize it, I can then focus on writing.

Carol Kilgore said...

VR - I think it does us good to step outside our comfort zones every once in a while.

Teresa - Mine, too!

Joanne - Works for me, too.

Carol Kilgore said...

Mason - I wobble between a couple of favorite genres, but every once in a while I try something different, too. Sometimes more often than other times.

Lydia - So true. To get something different, we have to try something new.

Alex - Exactly.

Carol Kilgore said...

Terry - So true. I've been slammed against that brick wall before. It's not fun.

Talli - I totally agree.

Conda - That's the best reason ever to change!

Carol Kilgore said...

If you can't tell, I'm having difficulty with Blogger comments today.

Aubrie - Great! Hope something here works for you.

Elana - Thanks for the heads up! I just did :)

Elspeth - Oh. I forgot to mention wine. Always with wine. Hmmm ... that might make a good title: "Always with Wine"

Helen - I'm amazed at myself because my desk is still clean from a couple weeks back. The binder isn't complete yet, but desk is SO nice :)

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

A good Monday to you! Yes, change is good.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Sounds like some very good advice. I think I’m to the point where I need to do each and everything you mentioned!)

Carol Kilgore said...

Holly - Yup. Have a great week.

Jane - Let's hit it, lady. One and two and three and four. And repeat. . . . :)

Sheila Deeth said...

Your advice about trying a different viewpoint really helps.

Not sure I can change the time of day though - I write whenever there's time. When there isn't time I dream.

Clarissa Draper said...

Great tips. I like to change things around sometimes. I find that it makes my writing life more exciting.
CD

Carol Kilgore said...

Sheila - I write when I can, too, although I do try to maintain a schedule.

Clarissa - Anything to gain a little edge.

kimberlyloomis said...

Good advice, Carol! Sometimes it gets a bit too easy to settle into a rut and then, one day, it fails and we're left floundering. Good time for courage and more of that ingenuity us writers are so good at demonstrating on paper/screen. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

You're right about that. We portray others doing all these smart things while we sit in our jammies and drink coffee :)

arlee bird said...

Change can certainly stimulate new outlook. I'm almost embarrassed about all of the great writing books that I have (and continue to amass) and have still not read. They are there for me when I need them.

The thing I like most about blogging is that it gives me a forum for experimenting with styles and subjects and just tossing them out there to see what kind of reactions I get.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Carol Kilgore said...

"They are there for me when I need them."
I think that's the important part.

KarenG said...

Really good suggestions!! Mixing it up helps to open new pathways in the brain and increase creativity. Nothing like a rut to ruin the writing.

Carol Kilgore said...

Thanks, Karen. New pathways are good :)

cassandrajade said...

This is excellent advice. While sometimes you have to keep going with what you are doing, othertimes you need to be brave enough to step to the side and try something different.
Thanks so much for sharing this post.

Carol Kilgore said...

You're welcome :)