Two things happened this week that inflamed a writerly itch in me (OK—that doesn’t sound so good, but it’s a good thing—I swear!).
First: Sunday, I attended a meet & greet, where I met (and greeted) a bunch of writers in the Harrisonburg area. As an icebreaking exercise, we were supposed to write up to 500 words in response to a prompt (the bird). I ended up writing a short short story that leaned toward—gasp!—suspense. What?? Completely different from anything I’ve written, well, ever—but it was kind of liberating.
Not that I don’t love YA or plan on changing my genre and writing suspense novels or anything, but it was neat to see what I could come up with in a short amount of time (I did it in about an hour)—and when I’m not the one picking the topic. I got some decent feedback on the piece, too. Score!
Second: Yesterday, I was forced to break out of my hibernation—there were groceries to be bought, movies to return, shoes to pick up, and a new computer charger to find & purchase. <—Yeah, that one was pretty important.
So, I’ve been listening to the same few songs lately, and I was looking forward to listening to them again, during all my errand-running. But when I pulled out my iPod right after I took off, it was dead. Grr.
That was particularly annoying because the ‘burg doesn’t have great radio reception and I don’t yet know the stations very well, but it turned out to be a good thing too.
I flipped around radio stations and heard a lot of songs from my college—and even high school—days. And, I don’t know about you, but songs almost always take me back to exact places and times, feelings, etc. Some of the songs I heard (“Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton, anyone?) yanked memories out of the depths of my brain like a magician pulling a bunch of handkerchiefs through my ear. (You’re welcome for the visual, bee tee dub).
But these two change-ups in my routine sparked something. I know it’s not groundbreaking advice, but it’s been a long time since I’ve entertained the idea of a new manuscript (almost a year!), and I’m proof that altering your yoozh can be fodder to your shiny, new ideas because I got a lot of those yesterday.
Anyway, I highly recommend stepping out of that comfort zone. I know it’s the dead of winter, and it’s nice to wrap up in your robe and settle in to what is comfortable, but if you go out into the cold a bit, you might get some interesting kernels of ideas you never would have gotten!*
Speaking of songs I’ve been listening to over and over (and over) . . .
Stuck in the winter doldrums? Love this song—think the video’s a little creepy**:
**Especially the part where the mom is giving birth and, like, spontaneously combusting. Nope—not helping me not be afraid of childbirth, Katy Perry!
2 thoughts on “Change Your Routine, Change Your Writing Style”
Always good to switch up your routine. Pretty much all my best ideas have come out of unexpected places. So cool to see how you’re coming up with your new ms as well! Aren’t new stories fun?
So fun!! I haven’t been able to give it much time yet, but it’s swirling around in there. 🙂