Monday, January 16, 2012

Switching Things Up


Photo Credit

Last Saturday, my husband and I went bowling with our good friends. We played two games. The first we played normally, and it was fun. We enjoyed it. 

But the second . . . the second one we switched things up. We bowled left-handed (we were all right-handed normally). It was hilarious! Infinitely more fun, even though our scores were a lot lower (okay, two of us might have done a little better than expected), but the gaffes were great. The flying-arc ball. The flip-out-of-the-gutter ball (twice!). The directly-into-the-gutter ball. The slow-rolling strike. 

Anyway, So while I'm sure you're all wildly interested in our bowling night, I really wanted to compare this to writing (surprise, surprise).

As humans, I think we tend to do things the way we've always done them. And that includes writing. Of course, there's nothing WRONG with that. But sometimes changing things up just a little can have a big impact.

I mean, on Saturday, we didn't change the activity. We still went bowling. We didn't even change any of the rules of the game. We simply changed one thing, and that made all the difference.

So if your writing feels a little stale to you . . . or it's just not as fun as it used to be, why not change something up? Here are some ideas:
  • Change where you write.
  • Change your ink color.
  • Switch to writing by hand (or vice versa if needed) 
  • If you outline, write without one.
  • If you don't outline, try making one.
  • Change the setting of your story. 
  • Write with a partner.
  • Tell the story from a different POV (1st vs. 3rd, or from a minor character's POV).
  • Work on a different story altogether.
  • Work on that story you're dying to write . . . but are afraid of.
  • Try a different form of writing (Picture book, poetry, short story, novel in verse, vignette, flash fiction, SO MANY OPTIONS!)
What small changes have you made that really helped your writing?

20 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Listening to music via headphones! I never advocated this before but now I'm a convert!!

I love bowling!! I must try the left hand thing - sounds fun!!

Take care
x

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm always doing something different each time I write, but I don't think I'm brave enough to try some of the things on the list. I had considered writing in an alternate pov for my wip (I've always wanted to do that), but it didn't work that way for the story.

Beth said...

Great post. I've been writing my newest manuscript by hand and I'm amazed at how the words are just flowing. Maybe I should try some of your other suggestions too!

Lindsay said...

Great post. I'm like Stina, I try to do something different with each MS I write. I do like to change things up by writing longhand if the words aren't flowing as I'd like.

Stephen Tremp said...

Fun post. Will have to try that sometimes. Now that we have Kindle Fire and an iPad, I can social network away from home. That's quite a change but not much really. I visit blogs and leave comments. That's about it. But it is a change in how I do things.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

What a great post! It's so true that sometimes changing things up can be so helpful! And BTW? Even though I'm technically right-handed, I actually bowl better with my left... whatever that means! :)

LTM said...

omg! LOL--did you see my resolution? We're on the same page, CUF... :D <3

Colene Murphy said...

HA! I bet that was a hilarious bowling night! Will have to remember that...

I'm a pantser at heart. It's my main joy in writing to see where the story takes me instead of knowing where already. It's so much fun. But this last book I tried outlining the first half of it. And I was pleasantly surprised at how well it went! And how much I enjoying the way it went! So, yes, you give some excellent advice that is so true!

Kamille Elahi said...

I tend to change how I write constantly but I love the advice! I think I'll adopt some switching in my non-writing life. Thanks!

Carrie Butler said...

Great idea, Janet! I'm actually writing from a different POV right now (in my sequel). Talk about a jump start to the imagination. Whew!

By the way, I'm the worst bowler on the planet--even without the arm-switching challenge. ;)

Margo Berendsen said...

Bowling left handed is a great example! I'll have to think about this some more. I need to work on a query letter, how can I change that up? :-)

Maybe I'll purposefully try to make it an AWFUL query letter and break all the rules.

Or I could write it as if addressing a politician instead of an agent.

Carolyn V said...

Humor always helps me get more into the writing. Love the humor.

And left handed bowling? I'm totally going to have to try that. ;)

Shallee said...

Such great advice! I try to do something new each story-- usually, I try out a process that I've never done before. I'll try a different way to outline, or test a new kind of character-building exercise. It really helps me enjoy it more, and to keep improving my writing!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Great ideas. I recently heard an agent suggest that authors write drafts of the same scene in different points of view to be sure the right POV is chosen.

Lynn said...

I know I can never change my ink colour from blue to black. I so dislike black pens! But I do like playing with POV's. Brave of all of you to switch hands while bowling. My ball would have probably landed in someone elses lane!

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

What a great post! This is such a great reminder. Bring back the fun!! :)

Lydia Kang said...

I love those ideas! I need a change now and again too. :)

Alice said...

Great post. I'll have to try switching things up. BTW, I love fairytales too!

Charlie Holmberg said...

Ooh, nice list. I might try some of these.

Also, have you played skittle bowling? You get a bag of skittles, and each color represents a way you have to bowl--such as left-handed, granny style, eyes closed, etc. Could be fun. ;)

Joanne said...

I like this idea of just a little, fun change to spark our creativity. Great suggestions ...