Getting Unstuck

I don’t usually suffer writer’s block, but there are times when I feel stuck on a plot point. Most often, this happens when I am trying to think of an original and fresh way of solving a plot problem. Frustration is the operative emotion, but I’ve learned a few ways to get through.
Writing Tip for Today: What are some ways to get unstuck?

  • Stop Trying. So many things in life work better when I don’t try so hard. The basic advice to “write crap” applies. A self-conscious writer is apt to write overwrought prose. A writer who can allow the creative solution to burble out of a deep place probably isn’t trying to manage himself. By easing off the pressure to solve the problem, you allow your creativity (often residing in the subconscious) to emerge.
  • Play the What If? Game. You can do this alone or with trusted writers/crit partners. Extrapolate the results if your character does something, from worst case scenario to the most unlikely possibility. Remember, all action your character takes has an effect on the story.
  • Write a Letter. If you write as though your character was speaking to you in a letter, you’re once again letting your subconscious help define the goals and problems of that character. Allow the character to pour out her heart to you as you write, probing for deep emotions. Alternately, you can write scenes that aren’t a part of the story, just to understand your character in more depth.
  • Question: What do YOU do if you get stuck?

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

4 comments on “Getting Unstuck

  1. I loved these tips. I rarely suffer from writers block because I just move on to something else. (# 1) But I see that your # 2 and 3 suggestions might just be worth a try next time this happens. Thanks

  2. Tracy, I probably could’ve added, “Have several projects started, so you can switch if one isn’t working right.” I do this frequently, but there is the danger of having a bunch of half-baked projects that never get finished. All in all, I would rather be writing something new or different than to be stuck and just stay there. ~Linda

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