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Friday, August 14, 2015

Dear Writer Not Writing

Dear Writer Not Writing,

Sometimes we have the time to write and want to write, but we can’t. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like writer’s block because we’re writing blog posts, book reviews, journal entries, poems, etc. but we’re not working on the one thing that matters the most: our book.

What should you do when you’re not making any headway on your WIP? Try this:

1. Write one sentence every time you think about your story.

I got this one from Claudine and think it’s a fabulous way to get back into writing, because what writer doesn’t think about their story at least a dozen times a day? If you write one sentence the odds are you’ll write another one to go with it. And soon you may have a paragraph!

Image from Wikimedia

2. Change your scenery.

Writing in the same place can kill our creativity. Try writing outside, at the park or beach, in a book store or coffee shop, in bed or even in your car. Words may flow better if you have different surroundings.

3. Change your medium.

If you always work with a computer/laptop, try to hand write your WIP with a pen and paper. This can free your words just like changing your scenery.

4. Free Write

I admit to having trouble with this one because I tend to edit as I go (a nasty habit), but there have been times when I free wrote scenes and the outcomes was so much more raw and better than it would’ve been if I second guessed every sentence. Try to write freely by pouring every thought that pops into your head onto your paper. Don’t think about making anything flow or adding vivid prose. That can come later. Just write! 


Chrys Fey

QUESTION: What gets you writing when you’ve been struggling for a while?

Have a writing-related question? Leave a comment and I may turn it into a post right here!

Author of Hurricane Crimes, 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Blogger. Reader. Auntie. Vegetarian. Cat Lover.

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Lisa Thomson said...

Love these tips, Chrys! I often will change up my location. I can write at my desk but sometimes I feel stale because so much stimulation happens there that has nothing to do with my creative side. i.e. my business is dealt with at my computer and it's not always pleasant so I go to a coffee shop and let my mind wander. It works really well as I can get to free thoughts as in your last tip. Thanks for the inspiration :)

Chrys Fey said...

@Lisa, thanks! I have reached the point where I want to spend less time at my desk because that's where I blog and do social media and everything else. I'm glad to have a laptop now so I leave this dreaded spot.

Annalisa Crawford said...

In the past I have written with my non-dominant hand. The idea is that you're concentrating so hard on the actual mechanics of writing your subconscious is free to go wherever it wants. My story Omelette (from my short story collection) was written that way.

I'm going to try writing in a different location!

Huntress said...

My journey out of the Pit of Despair is full of self-inflicted pauses.

I will use your suggestions and hope, hope, hope I can find my way out.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

These are great tips! I love the one about writing one sentence every time you think about your WIP. That's brilliant!

Charity Bradford said...

Great tips! It's also important to give yourself a break sometimes. Most years I get the most writing done during the summer, however this year has seen very little writing simply because of life events. It bothered me most of the summer until I finally had to allow myself to say it's okay not to write when remodeling a house. LOL

I love the first tip of writing one sentence every time you think about your book. I've written every chance I get, mostly late at night, just to keep sane. I can't wait until we get unpacked next week so I can get back to normal writing time!

diedre Knight said...

Never thought I'd say it but I love having a laptop when we're camping in the woods! I'm always jotting thoughts down; sticky notes, grocery lists, even on the back of envelopes (once, it was actually an out-going envelope that was mailed with a phrase written on the back!) - ha! Typically if I'm editing overly much in the beginning, I'm not really ready to write the story yet so I engage in a different activity while it cultivates. :-)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Good tips. I really wish I could teach myself to write without constantly re-reading and editing as I go along. It'd be a lot more productive to be able to keep moving forward, I'm sure, but my pesky inner critic is such a pain in the patootie.

Chrys Fey said...

@Annalisa, I tried to teach myself to write with my non-dominant hand. I got pretty good there for a while, but I have a feeling that if I did it now it would not be pretty.

@Huntress, I hope you can too!!!

@Elizabeth, thank you, but I can't take credit for it. :)

@Charity, breaks are good. Sometimes life intervenes and we just have to take a step back from writing till things are smooth again. Knowing when it's okay not to write is a big thing we all have to learn.

@Diedre, oh camping and using a laptop. I like that idea. I've never gone camping but I would to write! :D

@Susan, I edit and re-read while I write too. It's a habit I can't break. Some of us write better that way.

Liz A. said...

When I'm struggling, I sit down and write out what I'm struggling with. I explain in detail what is bothering me about my current WIP, my life, or that day in particular. It helps get the words flowing, and sometimes it only takes a sentence or two and I'm suddenly writing my novel again.

Anonymous said...

I've done 2 and 3. These are all great tips. I tend to switch between manuscripts if I get stuck with one, but I do get frustrated when the one I really want to write is something that doesn't come easily.

H.R. Bennett said...

One thing that I've found useful, esp. when I get in a tiff with my own writing, is that I proceed to write in a black word document with the other one open nearby. The reason for this is I often feel that what I'm putting down is not good enough and is just a waste of my time. It rarely is, but it allows me the freedom to go. "You know what...this isn't good. and nothing has actually changed to the original story until I feel comfortable letting it.

Angela said...

I love these suggestions! Great ideas!

Chrys Fey said...

@Liz, that's a great idea! I'll have to try that.

@Medeia, I always switch WIP if I get stuck with one. It always helps. :)

@Robert, a black word document? That's interesting! I really like that. I think that may help me to free write better. Thanks for the comment! :)

@Angela, thank you!