Some of us write for fun. Some of us write for pay. Some of us write, because it keeps the cost of prescription medication at bay. Whatever the reason, we write.
I used to write a lot of body copy, the bit that goes at the bottom of an ad. It usually included terms and conditions and a blurb about the company or product. After a while, everything I wrote turned into body copy. I could say everything I wanted to in three to five lines and end it with a pay off line. You could almost hear the jingle in the background.
I once taught an ex-journalist who had the similar problem. After a few years of writing a weekly, 750-word column she found it difficult to write more. She would write a piece, be it a short story or a writing prompt and end on exactly 750 words.
Not all writing habits are good.
Writing becomes a habit and that is a good thing. But we should guard against falling into a rut. If you write press releases or reports I am sure you will find yourself following a set pattern and ending with a similar result each time. That is great for business writing and saves time, but for a creative writer it becomes dangerous.
I looked through my writing practice journals and noticed that my pieces are almost all the same length, using the same viewpoint, similar settings and structure. These are timed sessions, so obviously I write a certain number words in that time, but am I challenging myself? Has the habit become just that, a habit? Something I do blindly – without thought?
Multiple Writing Projects: A Little Something On The Side
What can I do to change that? Multiple projects can help. Don’t write only one thing. Try writing a new short story. Identify your go-to style and structure and turn it on its head. Try writing a screenplay or scripting a radio drama. This will help you to think about visuals and sounds.
My writing practice obviously needs an overhaul. I will check to see whatever I did the previous day and makes sure to do something different. I will change the word count, try new settings and vary the viewpoints.
Find ways to write different pieces. Challenge yourself to write something you have never written before. A project on the side might be just what you need.
What writing rut have you fallen into?
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