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Writing a New Path

17 January, 2013


I’m doing something I hate, trying out new hiking boots. A local outdoors shop has let me bring home two pairs so I have more time to compare. With a $300+ price tag, I don’t want to make a mistake.

I slip on one pair and walk around inside the house, testing how they feel. Then I try the other pair. Choosing is hard because new boots feel strange. But with their better support, I can’t go back, even though my old boots are soooo comfy in comparison.

We can also become too comfortable as writers, getting into a rut by staying with what’s familiar and safe. We would think it a cruel punishment if we were sentenced to do the same thing, day after day, year after year. But we sometimes sentence ourselves in terms of what and how we write.

It is harder to break out of the rut if our writing has garnered acclaim of some sort—good comments, an award, publication. Such positive outcomes may seem like a big directional arrow, a sign from above, pointing us along the right write-track.

Is there any reason to ignore this and instead head down a side path? I think so. It does not consume too much time and energy to explore different, intriguing story ideas, or new approaches to story aspects, such as characters, settings, scenes, or points of view.

Staying on the familiar track is fine most of the time. But if you ever feel your writing is somehow losing the magic of the creative impulse, it’s worth trying something different and seeing where it leads.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 21 January, 2013 11:53 am

    That’s right. You may enjoy starting fiction by freefalling, a term that describesstarting out writing about something without getting too worried about plot, characters, ending. Writing prompts–which are easily found on the web–often provide a good starting point as well. Once you break the ‘creativity ice’ by getting something, down, it can be easier then to assess how to make it more story-like.


  2. 20 January, 2013 4:30 pm

    There’s the fear factor sometimes – for me it’s the thought of writing fiction. So maybe I just ought to give it a shot. I don’t have to show anyone if it doesn’t work, do I?


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