Writing Tip #9: What To Do When You’re Stuck

Can writers run out of words? It happens. Writers get stuck. What can you do about it? Here’s a few tips that work for me. I’m sure you can think of many more. Feel free to add them into a comment. Who couldn’t use an extra piece of advice? I know I need all the help I can get.

  1. Blog about–That’s what I’m doing here. At least I can get some writing in for the day. And who knows, the creative juices might start flowing any minute.
  2. Take a Break–Sometimes we get overwhelmed with projects and deadlines. When that happens to me, I just have to stop and take a breather. If I let my mind rest, without TV or something on, then it can remember the things that I’d been pushing back. This doesn’t always work. So the next few tips are activities you can do in the break time.
  3. Do something mindless–Camy Tang recommends activities like knitting to keep the hands busy, but the mind free. When we’re busy doing simple tasks our mind is free to put the pieces together again. It works best if there’s not too much thought involved.
  4. Find an inspirational spot–I posted about Sandra Ardoin’s 5 Brainstorming Locales which had some great places to start. Find your brainstorming or inspirational location. For me it’s usually at a coffeeshop, a bookstore, or hanging out in nature.
  5. Journal about it–If you’re uncomfortable with the blog-so-the-whole-world-can-see-it concept, try picking up a journal. Maybe you have personal thoughts, anxieties or fears that need to break free in order to let the writing flow. A journal is one of my favorite places to dump my problems. Somehow I find a solution or a new resolve that I didn’t have before. And my favorite spot to journal is out in my yard.
  6. Focus on one project–If you’re swamped with projects and deadlines, now’s the time to map things out. Focus on one project at a time, probably the one that’s due first. But if you get stuck on that deadline project, don’t feel you have to push through it. Check out the next tip.
  7. Work on another project–There are times when your ideas just aren’t working for the project you have in front of you. Maybe it’s time to set it aside for an hour and work on the fun project that’s been begging for attention all day. A great way to get the stuff done that you have to do is to mix it with something fun. It’s like a treat. After so long of working on an article, you can say brainstorm for the next thirty minutes about the great idea you got for a story last week. Just give it a try. Somehow, it makes both projects seem more exciting. 🙂
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