Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

Switching It Up

I was bemoaning my lagging enthusiasm for completing the last few chapters of my next novel’s rough draft to my mom today.

“Do you always write on the computer?” she asked.

I do. But, lately I open the file and slump in my seat not feeling at all like writing.

“What if you write in a notebook?”

“You know I was thinking about that.”

“With a green pen.”

“Why green?”

I got the idea that I could switch up my pen color. But, I always associate green with my youngest son because it’s his favorite color.

“Isn’t green the way you want to feel?”

Then I understood.

My middle son goes to a “Colors” class where he talks about emotions with his classmates and teacher. Green means happy, calm, and focused. Blue describes sad, tired, and bored. Yellow is frustrated, worried, and excited. Red indicates out-of-control, angry, and terrified. Each student comes in and identifies their feelings based on their color for the day, and then they talk about how to properly react to those feelings.

Clearly, I am feeling a bit blue about my writing. I haven’t slipped into the yellow zone, but I could see that happening if I don’t figure out how to switch my attitude. (Although, being excited would be good!) Let’s just steer clear of red!

The goal is green.

Sometimes writers need to switch up what they are doing when a project feels tired and boring. How sad! So, I have decided that my next writing session will include a green pen and a notebook.

Other ideas for inspiration might be

  • Talking with other writers: I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Sometimes it helps to talk with others who are going through the same things with their writing.
  • Talking with non-writers: My mom gave me a great idea, and my husband has also suggested going “old school” when I get stuck. We can get new perspective when we talk with wise people who appreciate our passions, but have separate interests.
  • Talking it out: My mom also suggested recording my chapters. I’m not sure this would work for me because there would be a lot of “ums.” But, I know that dictating can be a great tool for writers. I may try it if the green pen and notebook don’t do the trick.
  • Working on something else: Sometimes we need to set a project aside and get excited about new one. Then we can go back and look at the other project with fresh eyes. This doesn’t have to be a long break. It might only be a day or a week. I have several projects I am working on for just this reason.
  • Working somewhere else: Maybe working at my desk is great for blog posts, but not as inspiring for my novel chapters. I might try working at a coffee shop next week.

I’ll post later about how it goes with switching it up.

 

What do you do to switch up your writing process when you feel blue about your project?

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