“Write” Stuff: When You’re Stuck
Good Morning/Day/Evening/Night Cookies,
No matter what time you find yourself reading this one I have something special for you, but first, before we jump in, I just wanted to welcome you back to the blog. Okay, now the important stuff is out of the way, so let’s get to it.
If you are a writer you will feel my pain when I say this, have you ever been stuck—really stuck—when writing? Not very fun. With much bright giggling occurring, please envision me with both hands up and, to be honest, let’s also say sometimes both feet as well answering yes with you.
As a writer there are usually many reasons that we are stuck, reasons like: no clue where the story is going, if you are just free writing the story for a rough draft; know exactly where the story is going, but it is an involved part you have to get just right; or you are in a tricky transition point in the plot, unsure if you want to keep something from the original storyboard and are unclear if you want to go in a new direction that now suits the work. Of course it also could be this, you just are not feeling creative. I am sure there are a million and six more reasons, I joke warmly, that us writers can think of, but usually at the heart of it all it boils down to one of those I just listed.
The identification of the problem that is holding up progress is always the first step; accordingly, once that is known it becomes very easy to move forward with writing.
Take Situation A, the no clue where the story is headed, brainstorm it separately. Literally, what works for me, is to step away from the computer. Either I talk about it with another writer or someone else that is creative nearby, hearing it out loud really can clear the cobwebs; or I jot it down on paper, in bubbles or just chaotic as ideas flow to me; or the third option I utilize quiet time, and just think alone about it within my mind sometimes even envisioning the characters; standing before me, as if they are living it out like a play or movie.
Now let’s address Situation B, know exactly where the story is going, this one is sometimes tough. This is when the statement the devil is in the details really comes to the forefront. What I put into play here is just to power through it, but I do not rush it. I chunk it down. I write a short list breaking down the next parts from my original outline of the novel and systematically work through it. To push past the sticky parts, I get them written vaguely and then go back through and tweak, tweak, and keep rereading and tweaking every little bit of it over the next few days. If I cannot make a part seamless straightaway, to then keep things moving, I make quick notes and return to it at a later time. It is important to get it right, so, I’ve learned and accepted, this is something that just takes time.
Next Situation C, the tricky transition, just commit to what you want to say and knock it out. If I am unsure of what to do, I have found it best to just jump in with both feet. Here’s when trusting what feels best comes in. After that, just have to bite the bullet and commit to the choice. Now a side note, if the alternate idea that did not clench the win for this work is a killer one, no sense in wasting it, simply reassign it to another future novel.
Okay and finally Situation D, just no creative juices flowing, there are two roads that can be traveled. The first power through it until something you write sparks it back to life. Or the second road, step away and do something that refreshes you. Either jump into another story that you are excited about or step away from writing all together for that day. When the mind relaxes it tends to find a creative recharge and, as cheesy or lighthearted as this may sound, like magic the writing is back in business.
In closing, if you find yourself stuck in the future just remember to have fun and the rest will usually take care of itself. With all of this said, I would be curious to hear feedback on things that have helped other writers, so that I can pass those along as well. Let’s keep the creative going!
This is me signing off for now. Have a truly inspired, fun, and incredible day Cookies.