Circuit training was a concept I came across when I first got serious about exercise a few years ago. It was explained to me that using the same exercise machine every day was great for developing one set of muscles but it did nothing for the rest of my body. In fact, it wasn’t so great for the set of muscles I was working on because those muscles will eventually develop a resistance to the very thing I was inflicting on them.
In other words, running every day is great if I want to be able to run for long stretches of time. If I wanted to use those same legs to go bicycling, I shouldn’t expect have as much endurance as when I go running.
I bring this up because I am a big believer in taking the same idea with writing. I think it is too easy to fall back on the good safe paths of story telling and let me tell you, erotica makes it very easy to repeat yourself. Spanking, blowjobs, masturbation and fucking often boil down to very simple concepts no matter how you dress it up. There is a reason why porn movies are so repetitive and it comes down to the fact that sex as an action is repetitive. It’s the context that changes and some writers don’t even bother to change that.
I consider myself lucky that I grew up with role-playing games and comics. When I find myself in a rut with my stories, I turn my creativity towards other forms of writing. I love reference books for role-playing games so I write articles for Queen Erishella’s world and its travel guide. Recently I made a card game where the rules took me ten minutes to sort out but I then spent the rest of the day making back stories for every card used in the game. I count myself lucky in that I am familiar with other ways to express my creativity.
More importantly, I think it breaks me out of my own self imposed restrictions on what defines a story. At their heart, stories are about interesting characters doing interesting things. It doesn’t always have to be done with six pages of text. It can be down with an image. It can be done with pottery. It can be done in a song. Once you learn how to approach stories from every direction, you will find that when you do go back to writing it with text pages, you have picked up other skills to write those pages.
Technically, blogging is a great example of circuit writing. Blogging lets you write reviews, mock advertisements and fiction. It also lets you just babble about whatever important idea or non important idea that crosses your mind. The trick is to realize that your blog can be a launching point for creative approaches and not just another format that you are locked into.