Stuck in writing means you don’t know what happens next, the words won’t come, you don’t have a clear picture of your characters, your plot sucks and you can’t figure out how to fix it, and so on. It means you’re not making progress. You want to write. You sit down to write. You even place your fingers on the keyboard (or your pen on a piece of paper). But nothing happens. Nada. Zilch.
Your brain is in slushy mode.
So what do you do? Is there a way out of the ice cave?
Now if you’re addicted to taking years to write your masterpiece, this may not be good news. Some of us like our painful paths. They’re comfortable. Habitual. They fit like a good pair of frayed jeans. Breaking out of that old routine can be, well, painful. Excruciating. People don’t like to change. But if
you want to get somewhere with your writing, you gotta write.
Deborah was mired in the “stuck muck” when she came to me. She had an idea for a story and a beginning. The lure of turning it into a novel beckoned with a pulsing light. But she had no clue how to take it any farther. She wanted a plan, a course of action, a way out of her “stuckness.” Could I help?
Creative people (I’m waving my arms here) often get trapped in their thoughts. Too many thoughts. All those ideas whirling around in your head make it difficult to see the path through the forest. Too many fascinating fruit trees are blocking your view. First you see apples, then oranges and pears, then peaches and nectarines and mangos. They sparkle. They’re exotic. And there are more just around the corner. It’s too much to take in. There are too many choices. You can’t decide.
So you shut down. Your brain just turns off. Your story withers away and doesn’t seem so exciting anymore.
The answer was easier than Deborah expected. The trick is to write down what you know. In our first session I asked her about her characters—names, ages, occupations. What kind of personalities do they have? What do they believe in? What are their journeys in this story? I asked about location, scenery, time period. What makes this place special? Why do the characters live there? And I asked about their history, types of relationships, what they think about, what they want out of life, what things are important to them.
By the time we finished our session, Deborah had a slew of information that convinced her she wasn’t “stuck” at all. And in doing the brain dump—releasing all that information—she freed up her mind to think about her story in new and different ways.
So the next time you feel stuck, give yourself permission to write down what you know. And keep asking questions. Get it out of your head. The more you write down, the more material you have to work with. Then take all this wonderful information and work it into your story.
To get more help with your writing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation and let’s take your writing where it wants to go!