Many of us, whether we are just starting out in our writing careers, or if we are published veterans, have fallen into an age-old trap: repetition. This can be an especially common problem when writing a weekly column, or, as is the case for us here at Eat Your Serial, a serial piece of writing.
So how does one escape that monotony, the regression to primary school when stories waltzed along step by step through the tried and true method, “…and then…and then…and then..?”
Our editors have a few tricks up their sleeves that can help spur your creativity
1. Read, read, read
One of the easiest ways to break the repetitive spell is to read something completely different from what you’re working on. Get out of your own head and away from your own writing for a while. If you’re writing an article on the latest gadget, pick up an old mystery novel and read twenty pages. Are you a hundred pages into your new novel about a serial killer terrorizing the streets of Los Angeles? Try reading a gardening magazine. The switch in content will give your brain a break and creativity will be come back to you later.
2. Mix and match
Take a few paragraphs, swap them around, and rework the material to fit the new order. Even if it doesn’t exactly work out like you’d hoped, you’ll force yourself to change up your writing style.
3. The gift of the gab
Another great way to figure out where the bread has gotten stale is to read it out loud. Step back from the writing, make a sandwich, watch the latest Jersey Shore disaster, and then come back and give a reading to whatever audience you can scrounge. The houseplants usually work pretty well. You’ll be amazed how many things you find when you hear it instead of see it. Or speak to yourself in the mirror – maybe you’ll be your best audience.
4. Find an editor
Still talk to your favorite English teacher? Did your roommate edit the college newspaper? Have you gotten as far as you can and now you’re submitting to us? Whatever the case may be, finding someone else to look over your work is one of the best ways to make it better.
Have any tips of your own? Let us know!