Writers thrive on getting the creative juices flowing. There needs to be consistency, but there also needs to be some spontaneity as well. So here’s a few tips on breaking up your writing routine to hopefully get those ideas sparking in new and exciting ways.

 

Get outside.
A lot of writers do their best consistent work in a controlled environment. Outdoors is rarely such an environment. One can never truly predict the level (or quality) of sound, light, smell, or weather. However, getting outside and using those elements in a writing exercise or a current work in progress can awaken new ideas and senses neglected when most writing days are spent with the same sights, smells, and sounds.

 

Change your writing tool.
Whether it’s experimenting with a new color background on your screen, or a font change, or turning off a device entirely and going for hand writing, changing the tool you use to write with can also inspire new ways of thinking about your work. Colors affect moods, altering how you think and feel during a writing session. Additionally, typing and hand writing are two very different activities. Switching from one to another (or back and forth) can get your brain working in stimulating ways.

 

Change your timer(s).
Many use timers to help them stay on task for writing. Try changing up how you’re using one. If you tend to write for forty-five minutes then take a fifteen minute break, try writing for ten minute spurts with five minute breaks in between (or vice versa).

 

Mimic another writer.
Did you just read a great article, book chapter, poem or short story? Spend your next writing session trying to emulate the style and/or theme of that piece. Explore what that does to your own voice.

 

Before you begin, read something out loud.
Writing is such an internal, solitary act – it locks you in your own head. Before sitting down (or walking in place at your standing desk) to write, go get something you recently wrote and read a section of it out loud for a few minutes.  Feel your words spoken and use those feelings to fuel today’s writing session.

 

Change the time of day you write.
Your brain works differently over the course of the day. This may not be your ideal time to write (it’s best to schedule your regular writing time for what is ideal), but using your writer brain at a different time of day once in a while breaks up the monotony and keeps your mind active when it might otherwise just want to watch Netflix.

 

Write outside of your comfort zone.
Are you working on a novel right now? Start a poem. Got a screenplay you’re drafting? Write a scene as a novel chapter. Short story giving you trouble? Write in a new character and then get rid of them. Never written a personal essay before? Try one now. Don’t edit, just write it. Then return to your regularly scheduled project next time.

 

Hopefully these tricks will give you a new burst of inspiration, and perhaps you can try them all at our Writing Retreat in Lake Arrowhead in September.


Bree is the Assistant to the Director and Social Media Coordinator. You can email her at btodish@uclaextension.edu.

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