Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mixing it up

Studies have shown that if you exercise the same way every time, your body will become accustomed to it and you won't continue to lose weight or get stronger. So you're supposed to psych your body out in ways that confuses it. This will help you burn more fat and tone up faster. For instance, at the end of my run, when I'm dying and I'm so tired that I can barely keep going, I turn the speed up on my treadmill to as fast as I can possibly go for the last couple of minutes.

You see, your body automatically thinks that because it's so tired, that you will slow down and/or stop. KAPOW! You turn it up and your body doesn't know what to think! But the amazing thig is that it will keep going! Who would'a thunk it? Can you believe that you have enough energy to boost your power like that? YOU DO! And you know what? It actually feels fantastic. It also raises your stamina level, which is amazing!

It's the same way with writing. Sometimes we get into slumps. It can almost feel boring, like work, feel . . . not fun anymore. I think it's because your brain is used to the way you do things. It starts to feel blah, blah, blah. You need to turn it up! Psych it out! Scare it!

I did this when I did the nanowrimo thingamajig. I wrote, full tilt and finished my novel in eleven days. Granted it wasn't fabulous, but now that I'm going back through it, and fixing it up, I'm absolutely amazed at how good it is. I think I may have a winner here. (but what author doesn't?)

The thing is, I did something different.

Now, just as with exercise, going faster isn't always what you need to do to break it up. Sometimes, you need to add hills. Sometimes you need to run up the hills and walk down the backside instead of vice versa. Sometimes you need to do squats and lunges or work on your gate. And every once in a while, you need to take a visit to the chiropractor to get straightened out (i.e conferences).

The point is this. Don't write the same way day in and day out. Mix it up. Listen to music sometimes. Write at night or in the morning sometimes. Do sprints without editing sometimes. Take days to do no writing at all. Live life sometimes. (Don't just write about it).

I have found that it keeps you happy, healthy and wanting to continue. Surround yourself with good friends who encourage you and remember, keep your chin up. Attitude is everything.


The Red Angel said...

This is a great post! :) I know what you mean...when I get too bored or fall in a slump I try to listen to music or eat some food for inspiration, haha. If I'm having trouble imagining a certain scene, I create a storyboard for it as if it were already being made into a movie.

Thanks for sharing.


JEFritz said...

That's exactly why I write vastly different things. One project might be a thriller, the next, YA and then, dystopian. I think mixing it up helps me come up with ideas, too.

Great post.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Excellent advice!

Krista said...

What a great post! Perfect analogy addressing writing "slump". Thanks, Melissa! And congrats on your Nano project! Very exciting.

Fran said...

Well, you know what they say about variety.

KarenG said...

I really needed to read this today. I think it explains why I've been avoiding revisions, or any kind of creative writing at all. It's because I've been doing other things and my writing brain needed a rest. It's okay! I'll start a new routine *work out* in Jan. Thanks for the inspiration, Melissa!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Great post and excellent advice! I do get into writing slumps, but who doesn't? It's just another reason to write something new, or try another way to do things. Thanks for this! :)

Old Kitty said...

Good luck with your re-write and great to read that you are totally excited about this current wip!! Wow!! Good for you!!

I so agree!! Variety is most definitely the spice of life and the spark to keep your writing burning bright! Take care

Words A Day said...

This feels like synchronicity at work! Just what I needed to read- writing started to feel almost boring...time to do a bit of scaring! Thanks for this post!

Anonymous said...

This is SO well said! And true. I guess I'm following your advice because I certainly don't write the same way every day; some days I don't write at all.

That's awesome that you got a first draft finished with NaNo that you feel shows promise. Go for it!

Amber Argyle said...

Good anaology. Personally, I'm trying to shift from editor mode into creative writing mode. I always forget how hard this is.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Great post! Mixing it up is great advice. When I'm writing a scene that's supposed to be lighthearted and funny, sometimes a song is exactly what I need to make the writing flow. I also experiment writing from different points of view. The scene might not make it into the book, but a shift in perspective can encourage a lot of different ideas.

Joanna St. James said...

I just got back from a brain rest too and I definitely agree with switching things up.
Great post.

Joann Swanson said...

Great post! I took your advice and tried something simple - using my headphones instead of pandora or iTunes on my computer. Normally I can't edit to music, but there's something about using headphones that creates a bubble of solitude. It was awesome. Can't thank you enough!

T C Mckee said...

Thanks for this post. I've been in revisions for like ever, so this was perfect. Definitely something I needed to hear.

Joy said...

Hmmm...I'm not writing at all right now, but didn't attribute it to boredom. Maybe a shake-up in the way I do things will get me motivated again.

JMS said...

Very positive and very true :)


MT said...

I agree with Ann - so well said. Mixing it up keeps it fun. Merry Christmas!

Shirley Wells said...

A great post - and so true. I usually need silence in which to write but, if I'm in a slump, I crank up the music. Nickelback at full blast usually helps. ;)

Merry Christmas, and all best wishes to you for 2011!

Carol Riggs said...

Very nice, glad to meet you and find your site! I can apply this to my exercising as well as my writing, lately! ;o)

I'm wondering exactly how much emotion and part of my Self is in my WIP lately, because I'm writing the words, but I'm feeling a little distant. Readers will probably be able to tell.... Gotta change up something, to break outta this.

And whoa, impressive--NaNo in 11 days, big congratz!

Dawn Simon said...

Great advice. I recently discovered if I'm hitting a sticky spot, it helps me to work in a coffee shop instead of at home. Also, I've had luck trying different things other writers find work for them. Mixing it up, you know? And yes, live life!

Happy New Year! :)

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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