Getting out of a writing rut

3-D printer.

3-D printer at the Muncie Public Library’s Connection Corner

I’ve blogged before about getting through those moments when you feel stuck on a project. But those tips assume you have a project that you’re working on, whether you’re revising or just getting started. What about when you’re between projects, and have no ideas (or too many ideas!) for the next one? Where do you start?

Sometimes, it helps me to take a break before diving into a new project. I’m excited about a story idea, but when I start to write, I just can’t get into it. My last project is too fresh in my mind. So instead of starting another novel right away, I’ll use prompts or writing exercises to hone my craft while I take the time to mentally prepare myself for another book. It’s nice to practice a skill on a scene level without having to think about how that scene will fit into a larger project, and it gives me a chance to really push myself without any pressure.

Another good way to cleanse your palate between projects is to read. Read books in your genre and books outside your genre. Read about things that interest you — both in fiction and in nonfiction. You never know when something will spark an idea for your own work.

TARDIS.

I made a miniature TARDIS with the MakerBot 3-D printer and a design from Thingiverse

Finally, find another creative outlet. If you like music, take a class, join a community band, or just sing to yourself in the shower. If you like to draw, pull out your sketchpad. I’ve been reading a lot about different maker activities in libraries, and finally had a chance to check out the 3-D printer, digital design equipment, and recording studio at a nearby library yesterday. I learned a lot, and left with ideas I can apply to both my library and writing careers.

How do you clear your mind between projects?

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