Writing: Getting into the Groove

Getting into the groove.

No matter what you’re writing, I’m sure there’s a point where you get stuck. A point when writing another word seems impossible and there’s no way you’re going to finish the thing. We’ve all been there. So I thought this post would be best spent by looking at ways to kick-start (or re-start) those parts of the creative process where you feel lost in the woods. These are my top five ways of re-acquainting yourself with your writing and picking up where you left off.


1. Try a new voice.

Whether you’re writing a novel, short story or screenplay, there is bound to be more than one character involved. If you’re writing solely from a particular character’s point of view, try switching it up a bit. Write from the other person in the romance storyline’s point of view, or from the mind of the teenager’s parent. Seeing your character through someone else’s eyes can lead to new insights, new plotlines and most importantly, more words on the damn page.


2. Start something new.

Sometimes, you really are at your limit. The plot’s stuck. You have no idea what your protagonist should do next. It’s a stalemate. But, at the back of your mind, a new character is lurking, a new story. It’s something that itches and itches and refuses to go away. So give in to it. Give yourself an hour, a day, a week to work on something else, and your original project, when you come back to it, will seem exciting and new.


3. Switch genres.

You may not end up actually using anything that comes from this exercise. But then again, you might. Try a few paragraphs of your historical romance novel as a futuristic speculative fiction. Write a few lines in rhyme. Changing the style really makes you appreciate the way you write. Sometimes, you may realize that a change in style is what the piece needs. Sometimes, it just proves you were on the right track all along.


4. Word games.

Try starting each sentence with the next letter of the alphabet to the one before it. Eliminate all words starting in ‘t’. Restricting word choice makes it abundantly clear how much every word really does matter. And we all know what happens when you deny yourself something–-you just want to use it all the more.


5. Take a break.

I know that sounds like an obvious one, but it’s one I forget. A lot. Although it’s dedicated and professional and what we should all be striving for, sitting at your desk and writing just for the sake of writing does not always work. Neither does looking at the screen and hoping words will appear on it. Make a coffee; walk your dog; kiss your partner. Your life exists outside of the office, too. When you come back to the screen, you’ll be fresh and ready to go.


I hope these tips help. They’ve all definitely gotten me out of a rut at one time or another. We spring clean everything else, why not our writing?


Helen Dring is a fiction writer from Liverpool, England. She is studying for an MA in Creative Writing and is currently writing her first novel. She likes fairy tales, ghost stories and modern history.

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