Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stuck? Try this

My critique partner and I have been feeling a little stuck with our writing lately. Words aren't flowing and writing just isn't feeling as fun.

I know this happens to all writers from time to time. So, I searched the web, as well as the cobwebs of my brain, for some ideas on how to get over the hump. Here's what I came up with.

*Interview your characters. Ask them about their favorite pizza toppings. Their most embarrassing moments. Why they hate Aunt Ruth. How many children they plan on having. This might get the creative juices flowing.
*Freewrite. Remember doing this in college? I do. Turn on the timer for 15 minutes or so and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). No stopping until the timer beeps. Maybe there's nothing coherent in your ramblings, but maybe something will spark an interest or be the start of a new scene/character in your novel.
*People watch. Take an hour reprieve and head to the mall or park. Bring a notebook. Grab an Orange Julius and sit on a bench. Now just people watch. I'm serious here. Check out the passersby and jot down their stories in your notebook. Is that couple celebrating their fiftieth anniversary? Is that woman dying of breast cancer? Is that man having an affair with the nanny while she is secretly stealing from their retirement account? You get the idea.
*Read. You probably know what genre you want to write in. Or at least, you should. Go pick up a stack of those books from your library. I would love to get lost in family sagas for a week. There's no doubt in my mind that new ideas for my stories would crop up.
*Gather with other writers. Yeah, so maybe I can't afford the cross-country writing conference I would love to attend this week. But that doesn't mean I can't use my connections to other writers to inspire me. Go out to breakfast with a writer friend and have a brainstorming session. Or you could open up a dialogue with a crew of writers online. (And you can bet I'll be blog stalking all of you Storymakers attendees in the upcoming weeks for your tips!)
*Head in new direction. Is there a rule that we must finish one book before starting another? Well, if you're under contract, then yes, there is that rule. But for the rest of us, there's no reason we can't lay something aside if we just aren't feeling it and dive into something new.
*Take a break. If all else fails and writing is still feeling like a total chore, take a break. Go to the park with your kids. Go for a run. Watch a movie. And try again tomorrow.

Now I'm off to follow some of my own suggestions. I'd love to hear yours!


Jolene Perry said...

I listen to music and I edit other parts of the novel I want to write. Or dump it for a new shiny project :D

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