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when your writing falls into a rut

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jackie Treehorn, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Active Member

    Try mushrooms. They'll take your writing to places you never would have imagined.
  2. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Write something you WANT to write and are enthusiastic about, rather than something you HAVE to write -- an offbeat feature or a column, perhaps, something that interests you. That usually brings me back.
  3. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Take a week off and read eight hours a day. Read stuff you wouldn't normally read. Go to the library and read newspapers. (Read them on paper, not online; in cases like this, it makes a difference for me. I don't know why, exactly, but it does.)

    Spend 40 hours one week doing nothing but reading, and you'll stumble across something that kicks you back into gear.
  4. blondebomber

    blondebomber Member

    The best way is to snap out of a writing rut is to read more. Read different writers than you normally would, different genres. The only criterion is that it be quality stuff, but READ. You'll be surprised how quickly you become inspired to rush back to the keyboard.
  5. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    That's right, take the time to sit down for a few hours and read what writers at other publications are doing. There's no shame in borrowing another writer's style, or tone, or rhythm. Let their mindset rub off on you.

    Good analogy: Golfer George Archer once told me that when his golf game got a little bit off, he would go watch Sam Snead hit practice shots for 30 minutes or so just to get Snead's rhythmic swing embedded into his own head, sort of like a metronome. Archer said the rhythm, the ease with which Snead swung, would stick with him for a week or two and he would always play better.

    Trust me---these other writers to be modeled have already done the same thing themselves. Sometimes the most successful peple in any field are those who do the best job of emulating others.

    Also, keep in mind, some of the best writing is very descriptive without reading like it's forced descriptive narrative, like you would see in a college English paper. Think about writing that stimulates the senses, whether it be visual, sound or even smell.
  6. the_rookie

    the_rookie Member

    Same. I try to read USA Today and other American newspapers, but it's hard clicking or scrolling every other 10 seconds.
  7. Overrated

    Overrated Guest

    FNF makes a great point. After graduating college feeling like the top dog, I realized there are a bunch of other idiots out here just like me. I felt like I needed to wax poetic instead of giving the straight shit. Since I can't wax poetic, I thought all of my stuff sucked.

    As a freelancer, I took a while off and just read. Not to get ideas on how to write, but because I enjoy reading and it's why I'm able to write. After a few weeks, I was jonesing to start writing again. The stuff has been better since, too.

    It's great to know absolutely everything about what you cover, but you have to keep a balance with the other stuff in your life.
  8. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Read the New Yorker, cover to cover.
    Even the little bits, like the restaurant review that they do in two or three paragraphs.

    Go to the newstand and buy the big Sunday papers that they have for sale from around the country and read them.

    Read or re-read anything done by Dave Eggers. For my money, he is the best young writer today. Some of the best stuff I ever did was after I finished his Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Or spend some time online at McSweeny's.

    Or read all of Bubbler's posts. Dude's a genius.
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