Remember the days before tape recorders and MP3 players and streaming radio when we still listened to music on real, honest-to-goodness record players? Slide the shiny black disc out of its sleeve, place it on the turntable, lift up the needle and hear that satisfying crackle as the song started up and music filled the room. It’s a beautiful experience, start to finish, but sometimes a small scratch on the record’s surface would cause it to catch and skip, playing the same piece of the song over and over.
Life can occasionally feel like that broken record, skipping over the same rut repeatedly before you are able to move the needle to find a new, more harmonious groove. Writing therapy is an effective remedy for the times when you feel stuck and need help finding your footing. Try this quick journaling exercise the next time you need a little nudge in the right direction.
Journaling to Get Out of a Rut
1. Start by describing your present situation and state of mind. Write a metaphor that sums up the rut you’re in. Are you treading water in the middle of a lake with no exit strategy? Are you close to the finish line of a marathon, but your shoes keep sticking to the pavement? What creative way can you think of to describe the way you feel? Be poetic, humorous, self-deprecating or ironic, whatever mood strikes you.
2. Continue with the story you started and write yourself a way out of your sticky situation. Does a flock of giant birds swoop down to save you from your water-treading trap? Do you develop magical Roadrunner powers to finish the race in a flash? Come up with a crazy and inventive scheme to get yourself unstuck and on your way.
3. Now that you’ve loosened up your thoughts with a little creative writing therapy, look at your situation in a more literal light. What seems to be making you feel stuck, uninspired or frustrated? What about your circumstances can you control? What can’t you control? Do a few minutes of free-writing and see what comes out on paper.
4. Close with a wish for yourself for the future. What do you want to change by the next time you journal about it?
How do you use journaling to help get you out of a rut? Share your tips in the comments.
Stuck? In a rut? Or worse? Maybe it's time to figure out who you are. Find out in 7 Days. Take our 'Who are You?' Journaling Challenge write now.