Writing and 9/11

New Cat in the House

Writing Rut? Stretch Yourself


It happens. The writing hits a wall. Or the ideas are there but you don’t feel like writing them. The sun is out or the air is cooler, and everyone else seems to be going and doing, leaving you at the keyboard (even if you are sitting in a café with a laptop and your favorite drink). Everyone seems to be moving, and you’re not.

Maybe it’s seasonal. Autumn is the season of a new school year, and after decades of going, I believe that’s imprinted on us. At least, I look outside and see students on their way and the memories make me both glad and wistful that I’m not one of them.



But why not take a class? A single, solitary out-of-the-comfort-zone class? It has a lot to recommend it.


1. It gets us away from the familiar.


A teacher can bring us ideas and merge them with different viewpoints—all in one space. Interaction with other students can bounce those ideas higher. And, depending on your topic, new avenues can enrich your writing.


2. It gives us a new skill.


It can be knowledge or a physical skill. Something that our body will react to and yes, once again, that gives us information we can’t get any other way. When I took a tap dance class this summer for the first time, I was suddenly aware of the muscles and balance needed to not scrape the floor.


3. It’s good for us.


In the way of eating vegetables we detest. Learning something that’s unfamiliar puts us in the category of beginner. We may think we’re prepared, but in an area we know nothing about, it’s a humbling experience. And that can make us return to our writing with a deeper appreciation and thankfulness of what we do and do well.

So, what do I have planned? Five years ago I took a beginner piano class and hoped to do that again, but unfortunately I waited too long. All the beginner classes were filled. While that means I’ll need to wait until next semester, at the same time, I wonder how many of those classes are filled with writers.







* Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

** Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*** Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



  • jan • September 21, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Generally I feel more motivated to write when the temps cool down and the trees change colors! Hasn’t quite kicked in yet – maybe I should sit down at the piano (which badly needs tuning!) Cute picture of the cat at the piano!!!!

    • J. M. Levinton • September 22, 2015 at 12:30 am

      The temps here have started lowering to the 60s(F) at night so it’s getting there!

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