Thursday, April 16, 2015

Writing in Cruise Control

While driving on the freeway the other day, I decided to turn on the cruise control in my car. There are lots of good reasons to use cruise control---you’re likely to drive closer to the speed limit, you can relax a little bit at the wheel and give yourself a break from steady pressure on the accelerator.  

But what are the disadvantages to driving in cruise control? Possibly letting your attention stray for a moment? Becoming too relaxed, or maybe even becoming a little lazy? 

Now consider your writing and creative life lately. Has it gone into cruise control? Are you not feeling as excited as you used to about your projects and creative work? Have you lost focus, vision or purpose?

If your writing has gone into cruise control mode, there are several things you can do. Check out the ideas below:

Set up a dialogue on paper with your writing or a creative project and ask it about what it needs and where it wants to go. To do this, write down your name (or a nickname or whatever you want to call yourself). Then begin to “speak” on paper. Be honest. Be sincere. Speak from your heart. Ask your writing or your project what it wants and what it needs from you. Next, let your writing or creative project speak back. On paper, this will look like the script for a play. One person speaks, then the other. It’s a conversation. Feel free to interrupt, get angry, and be silly, just as you would with a conversation with a person. 

Mix things up a bit.  Take a new route home or try driving or walking down a different street just for fun.  Shop at a new grocery store.  When you change your environment you are likely to pay more attention to what is new around you.  Change your writing environment, too.  Try writing in a different place, at a different time or with a different kind of paper or pen.  Try changing your computer font to give the words you write a new perspective.

You can always edit it out or delete it later. Stuck on the plot of your novel? Has it been awhile since you’ve written a poem? Try a whole new genre for a few days (It was a dark and stormy night). Write a story from a different voice.

In addition to trying new approaches to your writing, try taking your current writing deeper. Ask yourself what you might be avoiding in your current writing. Or, be willing to experiment with new ideas you’ve been setting aside.  

Sometimes it’s just fine to drive in cruise control for a little while.  But if you find yourself stuck in a rut or just skimming the surface, take your writing out of cruise control!

P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation and we'll talk about what you need to stay out of 'cruise control' with your writing. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at to find out more.

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Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

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