Shannon, here, for one announcement: I’ve joined Pinterest as well. You can join me by clicking here. I have boards for The Timely Death Trilogy, November Snow, and Take Me Tomorrow – as well as boards for cats, coffee, and my crazy imagination. There might be some spoilers, but I try to keep it to a minimum. Think of it as “behind the scenes.” I hope you like them.
Now – for today’s guest blogger: Hanne Arts!
Sometimes when I’m writing, I get stuck on a sentence or an idea, or I simply give up altogether and procrastinate instead. Everything seems better than to fight through the obstacle at that time. It is, however, necessary to fight through that brief “down.”
Every writer has them, and every writer deals with them differently, yet here are a couple of tips that I personally find very helpful. It might help you along the way as well!
1) Write (about) something different.
I often find myself staring at my computer screen or getting frustrated over not finding the perfect words. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to acknowledge that fighting with the same strategies will not always work. If you apply the same principles, the same problems will pop up again! If you try something entirely new, whether this means throwing the old manuscript out the window, giving it a twist, or momentarily focusing your attention on a new (practice) story, certainly try it out! A new approach will bring freshness to the story. Furthermore, “writing something different” does not even have to be content-related. Maybe you just need to write in a different style, genre, or with a different voice. The more you try, the more smoothly the words will come to you later.
2) Change your environment or approach.
Changing your setting or writing area can entirely change your writing and consequently spice things up. Moreover, it might get you unstuck. If, for example, you usually write in a quiet room, try going out to a café and writing there. You might get entirely different ideas and inspirations, and, on top of this, it will enable you to observe the people around you. I sometimes also choose to write by hand rather than my usual typing, and this sometimes helps me produce ideas and keep going.
3) Write in a different order.
Usually I start my story with either an ending or beginning in mind. I then fill in the pieces in between. This, however, is simply one way of doing things. You could just as well know the plot and then create a start and end, or you could start with a mere scene in mind. If there is a scene that is currently vivid in your head, write it first before the idea gets lost by the time you get to it!
4) Read your favorite book(s).
Read books you like that inspire you because, quite simply… they inspire you. Ask yourself why you like the book(s) and apply it to your own work. Wouldn’t you want to have the same effect on other that that author has on you?
If you currently have no inspiration, no sweat. Focus on other things and experience life. Later come back to your writing and view it with new ideas. You’ll have new ideas and new motivation. Nobody feels inspired all the time (for me it is often not there at all, but when it is, I cannot stop writing for days and days on end). If you don’t feel like you can take a break from your writing or you have a deadline to make, then simply put yourself to writing something each night (or morning – whenever you usually write). This will put you in the right mindset and make you more fluent and time-efficient in the future. (You could even try timed exercises to further train and challenge your brain.)
– Hanne Arts
Hanne Arts can be found here, but here are more of her blog posts:
The Seven Best Tips to Fight Writer’s Block and Writer’s Jam
9 Common Writing Problems…and Their Solutions
6 Basic Guidelines to Make Your Book Work
5 Mistakes that Authors Make that Lose Their Readers
11 thoughts on “Getting Unstuck as an Author”
Great post Sharon!! Am following your boards too!!
Great post Hanne! I’m the worlds biggest procrastinator so it takes a lot of effort to actually start writing something! I’m getting better at it though!
I find the boards very useful and have one for one of my books I am working on ‘Traitor to the Cause’ as well as a place to share photographs and find new things. I found what my character should look like through this as I knew him, but couldn’t picture him, and one of his mother! My page is http://www.pinterest.com/timdiggles/ if you are interested. That’s a lovely new photograph of you, it’s like you have moved on a lot.
Great stuff here! As writers, we should never underestimate the power of changing it up whether it’s your environment, your approach, or simply calling it quits for the day. Inspiration will come, and like everything else, when you don’t force it, it works even better.
Excellent advice. It’s amazing how changing gears to another project can help with one you’re stuck on.
Great advice! And now I’m following you on Pinterest. I hope you don’t get sucked in too much. It’s already too late for me. 🙂
Shannon – I hope that the Pinterest boards give you great inspirations, ideas, and procrastinations like have me! I am now following all of yours so no pressure or anything 😉
Hanne – Wonderful post! I often try to write out in nature, the lake or park if possible, because there is always something new to see and so my setting freshens and changes itself for me. I also always try to write with a pen and notebook first…blank pages and a different color help me a lot!
Good luck ladies!
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