Writing Free

My writing habits are changing.

I like to think that they always are, actually. As a writer, I like to go with what works and change things up when something begins to feel stale. If I don’t, things get stuck.

Actually, I get stuck.

Being stuck is my least favorite state of being. I stare at the computer. My will to move drains away. The words refuse to come. I consider chucking this whole author thing and becoming a goat farmer.

I could be a goat farmer, you know. I would be a really good goat farmer. I know a lot about goats.

Probably more than I should, actually.

Goat slobber is a thing, y’all. And it is way stickier than you think.

Yuck.

Since I’m not quite ready to go back to being a goat farmer and enduring the bruises and slobber that accompany that job, I’ve learned to change my writing habits when necessary. And now that I’m freelancing instead of working for a company and punching a clock, writing free has become a lot easier. I still like to keep to my routines when I can, so I have a certain time every morning when I sit down to write and a certain time—most days— that I finish up and close things down.

Routines are great. For normal writing days.

Some days, sitting down to write at the normal time just is not going to work for me.

My brain says no. So does my creativity. I stare at the blank page for a long, long time. I distract myself. I write terrible sentences in the hopes that some useful ones will get dragged out behind them.

It doesn’t work.

When you’re punching a clock, you gotta be in the chair. It’s kind of a rule. But when you’re writing free, like I am learning to, it’s okay to shut the computer and walk away. Go outside. Take a walk. Hang out with people and play a board game. Make homemade tortillas.

For me, all of those things wind up being miles more productive than staring at a blank screen. And when I come back, I don’t have to open the computer. I can snag a notebook and curl up on my bed to handwrite a few pages until the block has disappeared.

I may not get us much done as I would on a normal day, but I’ll get pages more than I would have if I hadn’t been up for changing my habits a bit.

How do you free yourself up when you’re stuck on a project? Tell me about it in the comments!

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