Blogger: Rachel Zurakowski
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
I believe every author has a writing rut that he or she is inclined toward. Perhaps a certain topic close to the author’s heart leaks into every book, or maybe a word or a phrase the author says frequently in daily life becomes overused in his or her writing.
The author I wrote about yesterday–the one whose book was full of children–likely has a few young kids of her own. I bet her children frequently interrupt her while she’s writing with their silly, child-like antics that in turn infiltrate her books’ pages.
The other author–the one who always refers to young people as “youths”– likely calls young people “youths” in her real-life encounters with them so that seems normal to her while it’s strange to me.
Authors and editors often have to work hard to overcome these writing tendencies. The first step to stopping a “habit” that has become a writing rut is to acknowledge it. Go back to your project and read it to yourself. Reading large sections aloud can highlight your rut(s). Computer programs exist that will read your manuscript back to you as well. It’s amazing how ruts become obvious when you are listening to your manuscript rather than reading it.
You can also perform searches to see how often you use words and phrases. If you find that you do have a tendency toward overuse, you’ll be more aware the next time you start to fall into the habit.
What’s your writing rut? Do you lean toward a certain topic or phrase? Why do you think that’s your rut?