Friday, January 27, 2017

Getting Unstuck

I live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. So do about 5 million other people. Of those millions, there are approximately twenty-three people who can actually drive in snow without getting stuck. Yeah, I know. You'd think the numbers would be higher, eh? Here's the trick: stop spinning your wheels. Stepping on the gas pedal isn't going to get you unstuck. It just digs you in deeper.

And that, my writerly friends, goes for getting you out of a writerly rut as well. Come on, admit it. We've all been there, staring at a screen with a few dismal words keyed in, clueless as to what to type next. Even the prolific author Isaac Asimov is quoted as saying,
"Frequently, when I am at work on a science-fiction novel, I find myself heartily sick of it and unable to write another word."
So what's the big secret to getting unstuck when your literary wheels are spinning? Slow down, as in walk away from the project. Put your mind on something else for awhile. Here's what worked for Asimov . . .
"I don’t stare at blank sheets of paper. I don’t spend days and nights cudgeling a head that is empty of ideas. Instead, I simply leave the novel and go on to any of the dozen other projects that are on tap. I write an editorial, or an essay, or a short story, or work on one of my nonfiction books. By the time I’ve grown tired of these things, my mind has been able to do its proper work and fill up again. I return to my novel and find myself able to write easily once more."
By putting a project on a back burner, it gives your subconscious time to work over the problem so you can come back to it with fresh eyes.

One other helpful tip is to purposely change your mindset before you go back to writing. Determine that what you put down doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be.

Tensing up about being stuck is like flooring the gas pedal. It makes the situation worse. Slow down. Take a breather. Then come back to it later.


chappydebbie said...

Great advice! "Heartily sick of it"...Yep, definitely put it down for awhile. LOL

Post a Comment

Blogger Templates