Eventually all writers — even the most experienced ones — hit a wall in their writing.
Rather than staring at the computer screen with your stomach tied in knots and cursing the writing gods, do something to break the cycle.
Here are five things to try to get you unblocked and writing again:
1. Take a break.
Get up from the computer and do a few stretches, walk the dog, phone a friend, empty the dishwasher. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something other than writing. Activity will help clear your brain so you can come back refreshed.
2. Get more information.
Usually when I get stuck, it’s because I don’t have enough information to move forward on whatever I’m writing. Instead of struggling to find the right words, do a little research. Search the Internet, call an expert, refer to a book, or review your notes.
3. Do a journal entry.
Sometimes it helps to simply step away from the story and write about what’s getting you stuck rather than trying to write the perfect words. Write what you want to say and perhaps why you’re having trouble saying it. The more you stay with this, the better chance you’ll have of finding your way out of the rut and into something fresh and telling.
4. Try a different angle.
Write from the point of view of a different character, or write a letter from one of your characters to another character if you’re writing fiction. If you’re writing nonfiction, try a completely different approach. For instance, let’s say you’re writing a how-to book, and you get stuck on describing how to do something. Try writing the instructions from the viewpoint of your family pet or as your favorite TV or movie character. This will generate some fresh ideas that you can adapt to your piece.
5. Rapid write.
In this technique — also known as free writing — you write continuously without stopping — no matter what. You either keep your hand moving across the page or your fingers typing without pausing for corrections or thoughts. If you don’t know what to say, then write that or keep repeating the last thing you’ve written until something new comes to your mind. Do this for at least 10 minutes without stopping. This will allow the right brain to take over, giving your left brain a much-needed break. When you continually write without letting the left brain interfere, then fresh, original ideas will come to the surface.
What have you found helpful when you’ve gotten stuck with your writing? Share your ideas in the comments section.