We all reach that point at least once, if not several times, during our writing project where we come up blank. Sometimes just standing up and walking around or stretching does the trick. Other times, a few hours away doing something completely different helps clear your mind. Occasionally, moving on to a different scene helps you go back to the stalled point with a new idea. Then there are the times when you just can’t move forward at all.
Next time you’re stuck, try one of the writing tricks that have worked for me in the past – that is, when I am most disciplined.
- Flash Fiction Fun – (my favorite) Open a dictionary, newspaper, or other book to a random page, close your eyes and then place your finger anywhere on the page. Write down the word under (or nearest) your finger. Repeat this process three more times and then write a complete fiction piece in 2 – 6 sentences, no more than 100 words, and no holds barred. You may be surprised at the result and you should definitely find your path back to your project.
- Writing Prompt – Go online and search for “writing prompts.” Search results will provide scores of sites with truly useful ideas to kick start your creative process. The two best sources, in my opinion, are Writers Digest and Poets & Writers. Complete the exercise, even two, then go back to your project.
- Brainstorm Intervention – Call a few friends together and summarize your problem. If they’re not familiar with your current project, have someone read the page right before your progress stopped. Then for the next 5 minutes have them call out ideas for your next move – even outrageous suggestions. Take the idea that least fits your plotline and write a page on it before you take up the idea that most fits your plotline and then go back to your project.
Most important, have fun and don’t give up.