Putting ideas out in the world takes courage, so playing it safe with your writing can be an appealing strategy. Faced with limited writing time and abundant competition, you figure out what works, then follow that tried-and-true trajectory—for years, maybe.
But if your go-to methods are starting to feel stagnant, and your writing lacks verve and daring, it’s probably time to take a new approach. Start by disconnecting your writerly GPS. Learn to navigate by instinct rather than reason, and break a few of your own writing rules. Where will your writing take you when you follow your gut?
Writing coach and author Christina Katz offers these strategies for fearless writing from her book The Writer’s Workout:
- Test-drive the little things your gut tells you to. Not just the big things—listen to your gut better on the fly, too. If you have a hunch, follow it. Turn one direction instead of the way you usually go. Give yourself choices and enjoy every choice you make.
- If your gut says write a novel, then take a fiction class or participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
- If a hunch says go to a writing retreat, then apply for fellowships or concoct your own getaway. Why not?
- If you feel gross from watching trash television, stop. If your gut says start watching a little television for a mental break now and then, then start.
- What is your gut saying right now? Go to a bookstore and let your gut steer your attention around the store.
Read an excerpt from The Writer’s Workout.