September 4, 2014

Writing Tip: Five Ways to Get Un-Stuck

Working on a novel or short story and can't figure out how to get your characters out of (or into) a particular situation? Or how to move the story forward, or...just can't figure out what happens next?
Here are five ways to get un-stuck:
1. Read something by someone whose work you love. Inspiration comes from reading the works of others - not to copy, of course, but to stimulate the creative juices. Reading is why most of us became writers in the first place.
2. Create a Pinterest board for this thing you're working on and populate it with images that resonate with your story - inspiration will come with the visuals. Here's my Pinterest board for The Ones You Left Behind.
3. Walk away for a little while. Go for a walk, see a movie, work on something new, clean the refrigerator. Distance helps create a new perspective. It can be an hour, a day, a week or longer. Whatever works for you. It'll still be there when you come back and then you'll see it with a fresh eye.
4. Give yourself permission to move ahead in the story and come back later to the problem area. It's tough for me not to write in a linear fashion. I want all my ducks in a row. But it doesn't always work so I give myself permission to jump ahead. Oftentimes, that gets me unstuck for the previous scene. And progress is always exhilarating.
5. Kill off one of your characters. Add a car chase. Shake things up. It might get you somewhere you never planned on going and isn't that the best part of writing? The things that happen on the page that just appear out of nowhere?
Just enjoy the process. You're a writer!

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