aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

What to do when you're stuck in your writing

Some friends and I were talking about what to do when you get "stuck" in your writing. Here are my ideas:

- While I have written good books both by outlining and not by outlining, having an outline lets you hop around and write a different scene when you are stymied.

- Even if you don't have an outline, if you know SOMETHING that is going to occur later in the book, give yourself permission to write that.

- If you have some research that you know needs to be worked into the book, try turning it into a scene.

- Brainstorm with someone else about all the possible things that might happen. I've done this online with another writer. In-person (even if it's on the phone) works even better. This has worked especially well for mysteries and thrillers, where you need lots of twists and surprises.

- If you brainstorm on your own, challenge yourself to come up with a list of 12 ideas of what can happen next.

- Stop in the middle of a scene or even a sentence so that you can pick up where you left off when you start writing the next day.

- Sometimes just re-reading and editing the previous paragraph helps the words to get flowing again.

- I saw this on Victoria Crispin's blog: If you are really blocked try printing out the last five pages of your story. Delete those pages off your computer. Then type them in again, polishing and editing as you go along.

- Sometimes when I have to drop the kid off at a birthday party or class, instead of going home I just sit in the car with my laptop. With no Internet access (at least not until Portland gets a WiFi cloud in a few years), there is nothing to distract me.

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