Saturday, April 13, 2013

When You Get Stuck as a Writer

Lately I have been in a writing stall.

I can blame spring break, getting sick, editing, and redoing my query another 101 times, all of which are true.

But none of those change the fact that I have to keep writing.

This week I went back to a yoga class after a long break. Ow. I am so sore. Yes, I've still exercised, but in that class I used muscles I haven't felt in too long. I could easily tell when I couldn't lift my arms the next day. (Okay, I'm exaggerating.)

I've heard it said you can be in hiking shape but not tennis shape, dancing shape but not running shape, etc. In a similar way, if we want to be good writers. We have to write.

So even though I'm still editing, I have a goal to start writing something new again. Just a little. I use 750, but you don't have to have a site count your words, just make a goal. Fifteen minutes. One hour. Write while waiting to pick up kids, or during that interminable meeting you had to show up at but really don't need to listen to. Just keep in writing shape.

Maybe try getting in shape for a different sort of writing. This week I wrote a blog post for Authors Think Tank. I'm in the process of revising an old flash fiction, which has been a good reminder of how a short word count really encourages concise word use. I also had to write a short talk. Non-fiction uses different brain muscles as well.

So if you get stalled, keep writing. Write something, anything. Well, almost. The grocery list doesn't count. Unless, of course, it's a really creative grocery list, complete with adjectives, and maybe some dialogue. If you write one like that, I'd love to see it.


Alice said...

Hope you can get unstuck soon. It's frustrating when you have time to write and want to move ahead but don't know what to do. I like your idea of writing during meetings you don' t need to pay much attention in.

I felt stuck before spring break, so I asked a friend to do a quick read through of my novel with certain things in mind that I was struggling with. Eg: tell me where I could add words and how I could play up the love triangle and make it work. It really helped me see things in a clearer light and now I'm sailing through my rewrite.

Rebecca Birkin said...

You are so terrific, Alice. Glad your rewrite is going better.