How to Hoist Myself Out of A Rut

If other writers knew how long it’s been since I’ve actually written anything besides a blog post here and there, well, I’m pretty sure they’d throw me out of the writing club.

I’m not going to admit how long it’s been since I’ve written.

Mostly because I don’t want to admit it to myself.

I’ve been in a rut.

I don’t have writer’s block– I’ve got great ideas tucked away. I don’t have brain freeze nor am I choking on my words or working off of a lack of experience.

What I do have is as follows:

1) lack of time

2) lack of inspiration

I have been so so so so so uninspired to write lately. So uninspired that the story ideas that once felt so good now feel sad and a little cold. So uninspired that I look back over things I’ve written–good things– and consider them drivel. So uninspired that when I think about writing, I feel passionless.

As for the lack of time, I don’t know any mothers who don’t live with a perpetual lack of time, so I’ve got to stop using that as my excuse.

The lack of inspiration is coming from that same ole place– discouragement. Don’t we all suffer from this from time to time, no matter  our circumstances?

Even though I don’t want to admit it, that’s where I am. I’ve been suffering from a case of “I’m Not Good Enough” syndrome. But I know better, so I just need to banish that one, too. After all, I know the One who made me, and I know He has plans for me.

So here’s what I’m going to do:

  • 1) Read. Reading a good book usually inspires me to write a good book.
  • 2) Critique. When I read someone else’s work and help them develop it through a good critique partnership, I’m almost always inspired to write. Something about editing gets my juices flowing.
  • 3) Finish reading the 4,682 craft books I’ve started. Okay, I’ll set a more realistic goal– finish reading ONE of the many craft books I’ve started recently.
  • 4) Just shut up and do it. I’m going to sit down to a blank screen with a story idea and type. No more excuses.

Share with me: When you are in a creative rut, how do you get yourself out of it?


Filed under Writing

24 responses to “How to Hoist Myself Out of A Rut

  1. dominiqueamara

    I am a bit in a rut as well. Between college and work, I find it hard to sit down and write much of anything. But sometimes I just have to force myself, even if I don’t feel like it. By doing this, I am able to work a little bit on my personal writing projects. I would really like to read a book and get some inspiration to write, but I don’t even have time to read a book for pleasure now! All I have time to read is assigned readings from class (lol). So in essence, I think many of us writers get stuck in a rut often…but pushing through it is key. Great post!

  2. Do you want to join our Facebook accountability group? It helps a lot!

  3. Zen

    I mostly read or occupy myself with something else. I figure that trying to write my way out of the rut won’t really help me because I will most likely scrap down everything I wrote. But you never know when you might find inspiration in books or even movies. =]

  4. The rut I find myself in is a combo of time, discouragement and lack of self discipline. Working on it as we speak, and making a little headway. For me, I just need to buckle down and get to writing rather than be distracted by dozens of other things (like social media). My kids are grown, and I work part time from home, so my solution is perhaps easier than yours. Will be praying for you! 🙂

    • I’ve allowed those distractions to become my priority, and that’s so not okay. I’m determined to buckle down! I’ve even considered purchasing a separate laptop and not loading the internet on it. That way I’m forced to write with no distractions.

  5. Heather

    I am so glad you shared this. It’s good to know that others struggle this way too. You are exactly right that God has a plan for you!

  6. Heather

    How do you go about finding a good critique partner or group? That’s probably something I need to do.

  7. Ah, it ate my response. But what I said was that you ARE good enough. You’re a great friend and writer, and God made you for something amazing. Just keep looking to Him, and He will help you rediscover and focus your passion.

    • Amen, sister. I know the truth, but sometimes that ole “devil just gets in there and tries to steal my sexy.” lol. I stole that from the drama teacher at the school where I used to teach. I just have to knuckle down and get some words on the page.

  8. I’m in a “back against the wall” rut. I can’t even get near the MS for all the things I have to do this week. I might just curl up with a good book tonight and get inspired.

  9. Jennifer, there are seasons in life. And right now you’re in a tough one. It’s not easy to be creative when we feel well, but when we feel crummy, it’s even harder. You’ve not been feeling like yourself for some time, so I think it’s important to cut yourself some slack. The pregnancy and morning sickness won’t last forever. Your creativity and enthusiasm will return. So, I hereby give you permission to take good care of yourself and that precious little one inside. Dr. Keli has spoken. =)

  10. Oh, I’ve known ruts! Especially this year. The best thing that has gotten me through it was butt-in-chair and some alone time with a notebook. I just doodle my ideas until inspiration strikes to actually transfer thoughts to Word.

  11. Steven Jarris

    Excellent examples of how to hoist yourself out of a rut. I honestly feel that many people just fall into depression when they are in a rut. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Marie Bastian

    This is a great article! I find myself in creative ruts all the time. I just want to hoist myself out of them! And now I know how I can! Thanks so much!

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