Breaking Out Of A Writing And Editing Slump

20 May 2014

The dreaded slump.

Like in baseball, ups and downs in writing or creativity are common. It's a long season, as they say. So you have to weather some of the higher highs and the lower lows.

There are also some age old techniques for breaking out of slumps. Some are superstitions, but some are actual tactics.

When a batter is slumping, everyone focuses on getting back to the basics. Don't think too much, trust your instincts, and make contact. Eventually things will go your way.

For the same reasons you can get into a batting slump, you can get into a writing/editing slump. You're thinking too much, you're afraid (and not trusting yourself), and you're trying to hit home runs. Really, you should just write and edit and eventually a few will go your way.

Pitchers have slumps too. And the same techniques about getting back to the basics apply. Locate your fastball, take a little bit off, and relax. If you must throw a breaking ball, throw a get-me-over curve.

So that's what I recently did. I wrote a barebones post that was light and simple (dare I say, almost pointless). I wrote about my favorite electric kettle. I can't think of anything less exciting -- call it my get-me-over pitch.

But it felt great to write/edit quickly, and I'm still pretty happy with the post. I just wanted to write and publish something that took me less than an hour, not think too much, and make contact. After all, making contact is a hell of a lot better than striking out looking.

So if you're stuck in a writing/editing slump, first thing's first -- relax, and try to make contact. In other words, write and publish! A few ducksnorts will land for you and you'll be back to writing better and more frequently again.

Note: I wrote and edited this piece in 30 minutes while my boys were napping. Maybe it shows, but at least it's out there!