Do You Feel Like You Are Stuck in a Rut?

Debbie Walker

Here is how to get out of it.

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I have been stuck in a rut for the better part of a year. A cavernous rut with hard tree roots clawing at me from the rut walls. When I look up, long spindly vines are spilling over the edges of my rut. Swaying, mocking me from above.

I believe we can also classify my rut as a pit. But for the intent of this post, I’ll stick to rut because who says how far down a rut can be?

I have a ladder, but I’m afraid to climb it. I get dizzy and weak in the knees because I’ve got a silly phobia about heights. Since my rut is so deep and the ladder is so tall, I believe I became accustomed to the darkness. But that doesn’t mean I like my rut.

I hate my rut. But after reading Marilyn Flower’s writing prompt, I searched my heart and realized my state of stuck-ness.

I am stuck in a rut!

My rut has a name — fear. The paralyzing fear that I am not enough. Not creative enough and articulate enough.

Therefore, I sat down at the bottom of my rut to analyze my rut-ness and stuck-ness and made a plan.

1. Creativity (Or lack thereof.)

Problem: I feel that my vocabulary is limited compared to many other writers. I can’t think of creative words fast enough to say in a conversation, so I stay quiet. Sometimes. People out-talk me in the speed of words spoken, and that makes me feel dumb. I like to keep up, but I get lost.

Also, when I write, words seem to escape me. It’s like I’m playing a hide and seek word-game. I’m counting down 3, 2, 1, here I come. I’m gonna get ya!

Solution: Grammarly lists the same five skills I practiced as a kid learning to speak my native tongue — English. Whoa, that does a lot to help my self-esteem portion of my fear factor. But I’m ready for school, so here goes: reading, listening, writing, watching, and conversing.

That is the first rung on the ladder.

Articulation

Problem: I fear my Southern dialect cancels out any validity of my input. People do not listen. On the other hand, they listen but do not understand.

For example, while I was living in Las Vegas, others could not make out certain words I spoke. One day I asked the stocker in the grocery store where the “ceral” was, and he looked confused. Finally, I had to spell out, c.e.r.e.a.l.

Another time, I went to get the “ol” changed in my car, pointing to the sign in big letters, Oil Change $19.95. I felt like Chris Tucker talking to Jackie Chan, ‘DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH?”

Therein lies my dilemma.

Solution:
Inc. magazine offers the following five hacks to help me articulate my speech and thoughts. Hey, maybe one day I’ll give a TED talk. (Actually, it is a dream of mine…)

  • Listen to me, myself. Even if I hate the sound of my voice. Listening to my podcast has given me the opportunity to practice and change what I dislike.
  • Do not be afraid to enunciate. Just speak slowly and clearly.
  • Keep it simple. Using simple and concise sentences keeps the conversation focused.
  • Forget the fillers. Try to be aware of the ums, uhs, and ahs.
  • Pay attention to your audience. Keep audience attention by paying attention to their attention levels. Did you get that? I’m not sure I did either.

I’m climbing out! Yay! This ladder was not as high and the rut not as deep as I thought. I’m kicking those pesky roots out of the way. The vines are helping me to balance as I step out of the rut into the blazing, brilliant sunshine of enough-ness!

Yes, my rut is effectively repaired. I will maintain that state of rut-ness so I never again enter the pit of stuck-ness.

I hope my expository exploration of articulation helps you in your creative expedition of words and writing.

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She writes honest and authentic articles to inform, encourage, inspire, and empower others to lead fulfilled lives. She is a writer, editor, and podcaster.

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