We all have those periods – whether a day, months or years – where it seems like we’re in a very bad writing rut. I’m just now easing out of one. After over two years of writing two to three stories daily, as a reporter for a digital newsroom, I couldn’t string together two sentences. My writing felt forced, dry and (at least to me) cliche as fuck. I remember writing a headline about mail fishing crimes and somehow coming up with a “mail fishing for crooks” about cops arresting a few people.
Let me tell you, that although I’m laughing at it now, because my editor knew better and changed it, I was really proud of being able to piece that headline together.
I’ve been out of the reporting game for a few months now, although still freelancing here and there for some other publications, which is easier for me as I recover from the burnout. In the meantime, however, I have to also make sure I don’t fall into this cynic and pessimistic mode about my work and myself and (maybe most importantly) the work and intention of others.
Especially in times like this, when consciousness is elevating at a level I don’t think we’ve ever experienced before, people are more aware how they communicate, why and the direction they want their energies to go, it’s important to understand our own intention for the work we’re putting out as writers.
Write anything and everything every, single day – no excuses. I’ve been writing crap for the past few months in a tiny, green spiraled notebook. I say crap, because a lot of what I put on there really makes no sense, and I have no idea what’s the point of it. It’s part dream journal, part random thoughts, part affirmations listing and part grateful list-taking. I seriously leave it home next to my bed because I’m afraid of taking it anywhere with me. Out of sight, out of mind (that I could write that badly). True story. What – and risking someone finding it and realizing I’m the world’s worst writer? No, thank you. But I still love that little notebook. I love it, mostly because I know it’s keeping my most ridiculous thoughts and fears captive, away from the rest of my thinking as I go about my day.
READ MORE: #WRITINGPROMPT: IF ELEVATORS COULD TALK
Take a break from social. I’m not saying go on a complete, long-term fast, but really check yourself and time how much time you do spend on social. If you’re on Twitter, create a list of good, positive and educational accounts to keep you in the loop without dragging you into other kinds of drama. If there’s a favorite hashtag you follow on Instagram, be sure to follow that as well and make it a priority to check-in on that before you check on anything else. And finally, if you’re on Facebook, just delete the app… I did this last year haven’t looked back. I still check my Facebook from time to time on my phone, but my urge to check constantly has definitely decreased. I find myself returning just to see birthdays and the memories I have stored (which are great to support the next tip).
READ MORE: QUICK REVIEW OF MY ORGANIZING DIGITAL CLUTTER SYSTEM
Check Yourself. Remind yourself of who you are. Despite present circumstances, how, why and what you’ve accomplished to get to this specific place in your life matters – a lot. I’ve been in the editing and writing game long before social existed. I still remember how it felt to see my name on a real masthead for the very first time (s/o to Smoke Magazine and Tea & Coffee Trade Journal; interned in both publications for the company). I still have the hard-copies of my print work in an actual portfolio… I peruse it from time to time also. It’s fun – and also reaffirming – to see how young my writing reads. So yes, checking yourself is KEY to making sure you remain in the game.
Photo Credit: Death to Stock