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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Out of the rut

"Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive." — Edith Wharton

This has been one of those weeks in which I've sought to break out of the rut. How easy it is to slip into habits—waking at the same hour, eating the same foods for breakfast, reading the same material and in the same order. It often takes a conscious effort to break those habits.

Rewards are plenty when you turn toward uncharted ground. This week I've engaged in different opportunities, including speaking to two groups. What a difference meeting with different people has on your outlook.

Last Saturday morning I spoke to the West Side Writer's Group on stretching your writing muscles. I was prepared to speak for about 20 minutes and then answer some questions. But this incredibly lively group of fiction writers and poets had many questions and the first time I looked at the clock, it was an hour-and-a-half later. We spent time getting to know each other, talking about what we read, what we write, what inspires us, what scares us.

Yesterday afternoon I joined two of my SPJ colleagues and a magazine editor in discussing freelance writing with students in a feature-writing class at Cleveland State. I loved hearing about the students ideas, their passions, their plans. And I was reminded that sometimes the best remedy for falling into a rut is to drag yourself out to the masses. It forces you to open your eyes to new possibilities. And it gave me ample inspiration to carry me through another few weeks.

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