Wordy Wednesday: Getting Unstuck Techniques

It’s been blizzarding all day, which means I guess it’s officially winter and officially Julia Never Wants to Leave the Apartment Ever Again time. (I mean, it’s gorgeous out. And snow is fun to play in. However, walking to class through the slush and black ice? Not my favorite.) Also I baked cookies this afternoon (then ate nine) and had my first of at least four Thanksgiving dinners (including pumpkin pie), so obviously I’m making good life choices right now.

Wednesdays are a kind of easy day for me, so I’ve actually had some time to write, and I GOT IN ANOTHER 4K ON NANOWRIMO. I’m now at just over 36,000 words, which still puts me 2K behind where I wanted to be at this point in the month, but I’m doing a virtual write-a-thon thing Friday night, so hopefully I’ll catch up. (Although, also, I need to work on a term paper this weekend and I’m going home towards the end to get some of my plethora of stitches out, so who knows how much time I’ll actually have. But fingers crossed.)

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a writing process post. Thanks to CP, Ch1Con team member, and all around amazing human Ariel for the idea! (You can read an interview I did with Ariel here.)

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We’ve all been there. You’re busily writing away, all happy go lucky and enjoying your story, then BOOM: You’re stuck.

I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do believe in getting stuck. Sometimes you’re mentally drained, or you’re not quite sure where the story wants to go from there, or something else equally as frustrating. But just as easy as it is to get stuck, it’s even easier to get unstuck.

1. Take a shower. I can’t tell you how many problems I’ve worked out by taking a long, hot shower. When you’re just standing there, letting your mind drift and with so few distractions, your brain has a way of working things out without you even needing to focus on what’s wrong. Then you’ll be in the middle of making a Mohawk with your shampoo suds and you’ll be like, “WHOA. WAIT. STOP. EPIPHANY.”

2. Go for a walk or run. This is another really great way of clearing your head. I did a lot of work figuring out problems while revising this semester while walking on the treadmill in my apartment building’s gym. Mind numbing activities are just so good for working things out. (The biggest thing is that you need to not focus on what you’re trying to work out. It’s your subconscious that will come up with the answers.)

3. Work on another part of the story. Sometimes when I have an issue, I’ll move forward to another part in the story and write there until I have an idea of how to get between the part I’m stuck at and the new part. If you’re trying to build a bridge but you have no idea what the other side you’re building to will look like, how are you supposed to know how to build the bridge, right?

4. Read a book or watch a movie. If you’ve reached that point when you’re quite simply too burned out to continue, take a break. Focus on a story that’s already done. Let yourself relax and remind yourself why you love stories in the first place.

5. Change your environment. It can be as simple as putting on some music or moving to a different room. Sometimes you just need a change, any change, to get back into the flow of things.

6. Sleep. When all else fails: put the stuckness out mind and come back in the morning. The problem’s not going anywhere, so take your time fixing it. Don’t worry. You’ve got this.

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Thanks for reading!

Goal for today: 2,000 + Monday’s leftover 2,000 + Sunday’s 1,000

Overall goal: 38,000.

Current word count: 36,123

~Julia

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