In a rut with your writing? Bored with your sentences, your descriptions, your characters? Is your writing starting to feel contrived? It may be times to shake things up.

  1. Try a different genre – how about a thriller, how about sci-fi, how about literary fiction? If you usually write fiction, try poetry. Write sober prose? Try erotica. Poetry your normal mode? Pen a personal essay about your take on global warming.

  2. Try a different style – If your usual voice is airy and light, try a more serious tone. Usually irreverent? Try sincerity. Usually have lots of interior monologue? Try writing without going deeply into your characters head – make his actions and dialogue tell your reader what he is thinking.

  3. Try a different character – If you usually write about adventuresome women, try a piece from the point of view of a not-so-adventuresome man. Write from an adult perspective? How about trying it from a child’s? Choose a character from another country or culture. Try a story about an old person or a teenager. Are your characters timid? Make them do something outrageous.

  4. Change your approach – Do you usually write in the quiet solitude of your office? Head to Starbucks or to a park. Do you come to your writing always sober? Try a glass of wine – or two – beforehand. Write in your clothes? Try it naked. You heard me. It’s amazing how that changes your perspective about how you write.

  5. Dress differently – Okay, you could also put naked writing here, but if you’re not ready for that, throw on a colorful scarf, wear a red shirt, put on a wild tie. Shake up your wardrobe and you’ll shake up your writing.

  6. Put on music – From Mozart to Carole King, U2 to Madonna, from Rihanna to Maroon 5, put on music you usually don’t listen to. If you only listen to instrumentals when writing, try some with lyrics. If you could usually jump up and dance to your music, try something sedate like a waltz.

  7. Do something totally out of character for you before you sit down to write. Go play with children, jog, try to tango, call into a talk-radio show, sing loudly, sit and watch a bug for at least half an hour – get out of your comfort zone.

We all need to shake things up at times – and our writing needs the same thing. Don’t be shy, try something new, believe in possibilities.

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