Peggy Bechko’s World: Writers, Get Out of Your Creative Rut!

In_a_rut.jpg

by Peggy Bechko

Writers have problems unique unto themselves. Not that other professions don’t’ have unique problems, but have you ever heard of ‘lawyer’s block’ or maybe ‘surgeon’s block’?

Sometimes writers can just get stale. Or maybe everything around them seems stale. Location, people, inspiration – can all seem like the same ol’ same ol’.

When I was very young and just starting out writing I was delirious to set up a corner in my room with shelves, desk and typewriter ( I know, I know, back in the stone age).

It was a dedicated space, and it was wonderful. Then I was able to use funds from book sales to enclose a small porch and deem that my dedicated writing space – even more wonderful as it overlooked a lagoon. You know, birds, trees, fish splashing.

But even the best situations can become boring or so familiar as to be not inspirational. When that happens the creativity spark can be endangered or even snuffed.

Bad news.

What to do?

Things have changed considerably over the years ( I’ll come back to that) but at the time it was as simple as reorienting the furniture in my small office. Shuffling things around, creating a new view.

Orient the desk so a glance up from the typewriter was a glance at a scene from National Geographic nature. Then the new view – rolling mullet, blue herons, tall slash pines, people swimming…..

All right! Toss on the swimsuit and go join them – and even that was great as I came back about an hour later with my head in a different place. So back to work, enjoying new view from time to time.

These days things are even better. With the arrival of computer – laptops – portability has certainly made things easier.

Stuck? You might simply move to a different room where you never write and work there. Or you could head out to a coffee shop or just to your own back yard. Parks are nice too, especially during week days when they’re sparsely populated. Another bonus, you probably can’t connect to the internet at a park and that keeps you on track with your writing with fewer distractions at your fingertips.

Or, if you’re not heavily into a story already and you’re casting about for ideas, go back to that coffee shop or restaurant idea. Hang out, watch people, pay attention to details. Then let your mind wander.

Consider what kind of lives the people around you might have. How are they dressed? What food or drink do they choose? Does the place have china or is everything on paper plates and in paper cups?

Is someone refusing a china cup and asking for a ‘to go’ cup, then sitting down at a table? What’s with that? Does he or she think a necessity for swift escape could be imminent?

When writing novel or script it’s the details that make the writing come alive, to jump off the page.

Maybe your brand of stuck is in need of those interesting people mentioned above, but if you don’t want to leave your comfy desk where you can write in jammies, maybe get yourself a social media account.

There are all kinds. Facebook, Twitter, and a whole bunch of others. Connect with other writers, readers, reviewers, filmmakers – whoever. You might even run across another writer close enough to where you are to suggest meeting for coffee somewhere to talk shop.

There are lots of ways to mix it up. Maybe a writer’s conference or a screenwriter’s workshop if you can swing it to get away entirely for a few days. Maybe write something different than you usually do.

Scriptwriter? Try a short story. Novelist? Try a short script (or a long one). Write at a different time of day than you normally do. Just change what you usually have for lunch. Do something! It’s amazing how the little shifts can affect creativity.

So what do you do to shake things up a bit? What are your tricks? Comments are always welcome and your tips could help someone else. Share them!


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. For more like this, you really should visit Peggy’s blog. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page.