This past fall, our family drove through Wyoming and visited Guernsey, where the best defined and deepest wagon ruts from the Oregon Trail exist. Here's a picture of my family standing in the ruts to give you a sense of the scope and scale of the grooves the wagons cut into the relatively soft rock. Hundreds of wagons, hundreds of humans, hundreds of stories.
This past weekend, I spent a considerable amount of time critiquing a manuscript for a friend. I'm so glad I had this project to work on, because I feel as if I've been out of my writing groove for the past couple of weeks. When I would sit down to write, I was scattered, unfocused, unmotivated. I was tired, and too many other things looked appealing to me. This made me frustrated with myself, and I felt out of sorts.
But working on these crits reminded me of how much I love writing and editing. It reminded me how rewarding hard work is. I've been lethargic about working on my WIP because I sensed that my hero was coming across as unlikeable, and because I wanted to change my antagonist and I wasn't sure just how I wanted him to act. I needed some compost time to change my antagonist from coldly calculating to desperately remorseful. Instead of a revengeful jealous bad guy, I now have an envious man who started a pebble rolling down a hill that caused an avalanche of trouble. He is desperate to cover up his actions, and that desperation and guilt drive him to do something he never thought he would. Much better than an unfeeling, truly evil person, in my mind. :)
Working on critiquing someone else's manuscript helped me get back into my groove, back into the routine, back to the ground my writing wagons have covered again and again.
So, when you get thrown off your groove, how do you get back into it?