As writers, it is very easy to get into a routine when tackling larger projects such as re-accruing assignments and novels. In fact, it is one of the smartest things we can do – to train our subconscious minds to work on command and thus prevent the detractions that are inevitable when working from home.
And yet, whilst home offices and writing routines are a Godsend for our productivity, they can also become somewhat stale over a long period of time. It’s inevitable really. Eventually, all of us need to re-schedule a meeting with our muse and shake things up a bit so as to get out of a slump or take away the eventual boredom of living every day like the last.
This recently happened to me.
I have been working full time from home since November, and it’s not always as effortless nor as pleasant as it sounds. It is so easy to get detracted by the things and chores around us; by phone calls or an unexpected knock on the door, or simply by the cat wanting more kibble. It is a known fact that it takes around fifteen minutes after a distraction to get back into the flow of a project. That is insane! Especially when you can’t predict when the postman is coming…Distractions piling on distractions is a sure fire way to kill our productivity time and result in the day ending with little to no work done and can leave us feeling uninspired.
Anyway, as much as I adore working from home, I have to admit, being by yourself so much does tend to wear thin on one’s nerves. Especially when you get stuck in a story or are just fresh out of ideas.
For the last few days, I have been stumped on how to connect the two telling scenes in a short story, which frankly is ridiculous. The middle bit is just a connector to two much more important scenes and only needs to be a few hundred words at most. That’s right – just a few hundred words. And yet, for the past couple of days, I have been staring in agony at the screen, completely unmotivated and uninspired as to what to write.
Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of time for being in a slump, as my livelihood depends on me getting my stories in on time and making money. You know, for important things like bills and food.
And yet, I have not been my usual productive self. Why?
Well, the reason is so simple I basically slapped a hand to my forehead when I realized what it was. Just plain, run of the mill cabin fever.
I had literately been squared up trying to force the scene out and in the process completely trapped myself in a feeling of failure. I was so torn apart by not being productive with my writing whilst trying like a madwoman to catch up on everything else that I had lost focus. My creativity had ebbed in the face of boredom and routine. And yet the cure was so simple.
A change of scene.
Today I am writing this blog post from the confines of a coffee shop (albeit a slightly cold one) and am enjoying the noises around me along with a delicious peached iced tea.
So far I have managed to figure out where the dreaded connector scene needed to go, write it, edit it and then start this blog post. Basically, in less than an hour of being here, I have overcome my gremlins and also been enjoying myself by being creative. I’d say, the slump is over!
And the funniest thing is…whilst it is lovely to have a change of pace, all I am thinking about right now is getting home to the office, so I can work in peace! As ungrateful as it sounds, listening to the phone conversation of the guy at the next table and the diggers ripping up the road outside, is actually quite frustrating, and I forgot my headphones. But it doesn’t matter. I feel better and I have written what I needed to, and that my friends, is the most important thing. Sometimes a change of scene or pace is all you need.
So what is the takeaway? Other than another coffee of course.
Well, it is never become too stagnant in your writing routine, even if it works. I realize some people will disagree with me on this but it can’t hurt, can it? To take a day away from the desk every once in a while, or to take a notebook out into the garden, dictate to your phone whilst out walking or do what I’m doing; enjoy lunch out with your laptop. It works wonders for your creativity, and is (most of the time – enjoyable – and if not, at least you know you will be raring to go when you get home!
So here’s my question to you, because I would love to know – what is your go-to method for getting out of a writers slump? Coffee house, change of medium, flash cards? What is it? Share your tips in the comment section below!