How To Get Your Groove Back After A Writing Rut
3 tips to help you get things moving again.
The biggest vampire to your income, influence, and impact as an aspiring online entrepreneur is…
Being stuck in a writing rut.
When you don’t write, you don’t publish. You stop pitching. You stop creating, and collaborating, and commenting, and connecting. You fester and spin your wheels in silence.
Not this silence. This is the kind of silence that quietly mindf*cks you into giving up on your daydreams.
On the articles side, I’ve been coasting for a while. So I took a breather and focused on filling my own cup back up first.
Before I get to those cup-filling tips, though, let’s first get on the same page about why you should even bother writing in the first place.
Why It’s Important To Keep Writing
Writing builds several important skills that you will need to effectively manage your personal brand.
- Writing helps you flesh out ideas. Most of the ideas that fly out of your brain and onto the page are half-baked at first. Writing is an oven that helps your different anecdotes or pearls of wisdom congeal together in a way that makes sense (And tastes good, too).
- Writing helps you increase frequency and repetition. I’m big on email marketing; it’s a nice way to stay top-of-mind with readers and doesn’t require a lot of technical skill. Readers need to see your message over and over again (And in a way that feels relevant to them, not just nagging) to remember who you are.
- Writing creates content today that you can leverage tomorrow. The only reason I was able to pivot my business into Camp Wordsmith™ last year was because I had a lot of published content to work with, expand on, and sharpen. Can’t sculpt a statue unless you have a block of marble sitting in front of you first.
Writing is also a muscle. When you don’t use it regularly, it atrophies.
- 15 years ago, when I was in music school, I could play loud fanfares for 8 hours a day without breaking a sweat. Now, I can barely play a scale — my skills and muscles have atrophied.
- 8 years ago, I ran an Ironman triathlon. (Just know that these races are *really* long.) Now, I can’t jog a 5K without stopping to walk — my skills and muscles have atrophied.
The best way to get better at writing and content creation is to… practice it regularly. The longer you’re stuck in a rut, the harder it becomes to start back up again.
So here are three tips that invigorated me and might reinvigorate you, too.
#1: Get Inspired By Other Creations
Have y’all seen Titane yet? What a bizarre movie.
The French quasi-horror film, hot off its Palme d’Or win at Cannes last summer, is absolutely bonkers. Let me take a stab at a one-sentence synopsis:
“A childhood car accident (and subsequent cranial implant) gives serial killer Alexia a thirst for auto-eroticism; after being impregnated by a Cadillac, she breaks her own nose in order to masquerade as a missing boy, eventually being taken in by the lost child’s still-grieving father in what becomes a character study on parental dynamics.”
This is a real movie, y’all. And all I can think while watching a film or show like this is:
“Damn… someone sat around, dreamt this up, and then brought it to life.”
When we’re presented with incredible feats of creativity and/or technique, we become moved and inspired to be more creative and prolific ourselves.
This is the kind of inspiration that feels weightless, airy, and exciting. It has a different charge to it than the word “hustle”. There’s a sense of hope.
You need hope in this industry. Cultivate it however you can.
Takeaway: To feel inspired to create, consume the wild, imaginative creations of others.
#2: Observe Masters Of A Craft In Their Element
Writing is a craft. You have to work on it. You WILL get better and faster at it with time.
It can be good to watch or listen to other masters of their craft: Artists and athletes and thinkers who have dedicated thousands of hours to a skill.
A guilty pleasure of mine is dance videos on YouTube. The amount of technique these dancers have enables a freedom of expression that is glorious to watch and experience.
There are loads of compilations like this on the internet:
- Athletes in their element
- Artists deeply submerged in flow state
- Actors and performers delivering incredible live productions
What’s a guilty pleasure of yours that also gets you inspired? Would love to hear.
Takeaway: Spend time watching people who have mastered their craft express themselves. You’ll become more inspired to master your craft, too.
#3: Study And Practice Form
Learning about form and structure in relation to your craft — in this case, writing — can feel empowering and create clarity.
- How can you make your headlines better?
- How can your opening sentences hook readers more effectively?
- How can you make the body of your article or email more meaty, while still being concise?
I’m eating my words a bit on this one.
Over the years, I’ve often suggested freewriting as a way to break loose and get out of your own head. I still believe that.
If you don’t know anything about form, however… your freewritten drafts — piles of spaghetti sitting in Google Drive — will remain shapeless and mushy.
- Musicians practice scales
- Artists study color theory
- Ballet dancers do daily stretches and exercises
- Gymnasts do insane core work to help support themselves when they’re on an apparatus
I know, I know: Form and structure can feel like the opposite of creativity sometimes.
It’s not true.
Rigor will take you very far, but to wield it well, you have to study and practice form on a regular basis.
Takeaway: Embrace your inner nerd and study form. When it comes to writing, it’s fun to study the structures and formats that naturally attract attention and curiosity (And bring your characters to life).
Writing will set you free, and the pen is mightier than the sword. To wield words well, however, you need to feel inspired and informed in the first place. Inspiration is rocket fuel in this industry.
Ensure your rocket is pointed in the right direction — and that you know how to drive it — and you’ll have a galaxy of opportunities at your fingertips.
Thanks for reading. 🙏🏼
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