Ruts are nasty beasts. We call them many things: writer’s block, disillusionment, burn out, needing a mental break.
Whatever we want to call it, it’s still a rut, a dark place no one wants to be in, but each of us will eventually find ourselves trapped in its talons. We might see the light of day, but it isn’t very bright until we acknowledge the size of the problem.
When we are in a rut, it’s similar to trying to exercise when we haven’t the first clue how to go about it. We might think writing is the way out of it… but it isn’t. We’ve all read books where the main character has some help. A lot of help.
We might think that writing is a lonely life, but it isn’t; there are others, allies, there to help us. These are the people we can constantly know are there for us, even when life hits us with challenges we didn’t expect or didn’t want.
We have ways to, with our allies’ help, get out of that rut.
We can talk to them: Most writers will call this bouncing around ideas. This can also be called writer’s therapy, since we are talking about our fears. Our mental blocks, those dark corners in our minds that scare us. We bounce ideas around for parts of stories or just to get them out of our heads and into the fresh air. The allies we have will have a different perspective than we do, they can safely tell us if this is the wrong way to go. They can also support us when the challenges become harder than expected.
We can be insanely creative: Have we ever done this? It’s like a blog, there is an outlet for us, we writers would love to believe that the world around us simply doesn’t need us, and we are here to observe and copy it down.
Ask an ally and we quickly find that sitting and writing can be a creative exercise when we take action. Even a going for a run or just getting out of the area where we write can help.
We can be real: We’ve had those days when life seems to go by, and it feels one part real and three parts a great novel we aren’t in. When we take the opportunity to work with others, we can create motion where there is inertia. In this case, think about Newton’s first law of motion. When we are at rest, or in a rut, we need something to get us moving. It isn’t us, it’s the other person. The only thing we need to be is real to the other ally. Really real.
The last and most important factor is: help someone else. We’re all in this together. We’re all writers, we need allies, and so do our allies. Our own journeys out of these ruts, or the traps and talons of fear and doubt are only diminished by working with others, and encouraging them, pushing them and inspiring them and us.
Jump up, and bounce around, find our allies, and this is the way we can get out of our writing ruts.