Dumb Little Writing Tricks That Work: Get Un-Comfortable

If your writing is feeling stale, here’s an idea: Rattle your own cage!

Sometimes you can see things differently when you aren’t really looking.

As background to this trick, consider what screenwriter Alvin Sargent suggests:

“You must write everyday. Free yourself. Free association. An hour alone a day. Blind writing. Write in the dark. Don’t think about what it is you’re writing. Just put a piece of paper in the typewriter, take your clothes off and go! No destination… pay it no attention… it’s pure unconscious exercise. Pages of it. Keep it up until embarrassment disappears. Eliminate resistance. Look at it in the morning. Amazing sometimes. Most of it won’t make any sense. But there’ll always be a small kernel of truth that relates to what you’re working on at the time. You won’t even know you created it. It will appear, and it is yours. Pure gold, a product of that pure part of you that does not know how to resist.”

Okay, when an Academy Award-winning screenwriter advises you to “take of your clothes and go,” that makes me feel more comfortable sharing this trick with you:

“Get un-comfortable.”

  • Take your laptop outside and write in the freezing cold.
  • Start writing the instant you wake up. Don’t eat, don’t brush your teeth, don’t shower, don’t even pee — go straight to your writing station and write.
  • Stay up for 24 hours straight, then start to write.
  • If you typically write in silence, slap on some headphones, turn on whatever music you love, or even better hate, crank up the volume, and write.

Some times, you just have to rattle your cage to inspire creativity. Get away from how you normally approach writing — you may be surprised by what pops into your mind.

This has been another edition of Dumb Little Writing Tricks That Work.

For other writing tricks, go here.

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Author: Scott Myers