It seems as if I go through this with every novel I write, but this past week, I got stuck again and so, I put myself through my “out of the writer’s mire” process that I thought I’d share for anyone dealing with being stuck in a scene.
For Step One, there are a couple of tricks I use to get going:
Music. Just plug in your headphones and listen to your favorite soundtrack/playlist and let the music/lyrics inspire you.
Click here to read about using emotional inspiration in your writing.
Movies. I watched a new Jane Austen film, Love and Friendship, for the historical feel of the setting and then, Singing in the Rain for the innocent, sweet declarations of love sang by Gene Kelly to Debbie Reynolds, as well as the insane choreography that interprets the characters’ feelings. As writers, I feel that our word choices depicting the characters’ emotions are the choreography that brings our story to life.
Read. If the above don’t get you writing, go to your local bookstore or library and do a little research and/or read your genre. Nothing like a bookstore to make your heart flutter with inspiration!
Sometimes, just reading up on your time period helps to snap you back into the writing world and give you ideas for your story. Ask yourself, how would I tell this story different? (That’s one of the best things about writing your own novel. You get to control what happens!)
Change your perspective. Focus on the setting or capturing the five senses. (Or in Rory’s case, just smell the books for inspiration.)
Step Two. Find a quiet spot and sit yourself down. I know it sounds easy, but sitting yourself down (like going to the gym) is the hardest part of moving past the “block.” Don’t just sit at the same spot at your table, move to another room, go outside, or my favorite, go to Starbucks and get a treat for yourself to get your brain into the writing mood. (If your inspirational spot of choice is too crowded, bribery is okay to get that table at Starbucks or seat under the tree at the park.)
Step Three. Pick up your pen and get scribbling. Go old school. Don’t use your laptop. There is something about the flow of the words from your brain to the paper that gets lost in the typing of the keys. It forces us to slow down and really think about each and every word.
Tip: Write in cursive while you are brainstorming. Especially for historical fiction, simply changing gears to an older style of writing helps me get back into the minds of my characters. Weird I know, but hey, it works!
Step Four. Go back to step three and find the little glimmer of gold. Now, type it up. Be a “pantser” for the day and see where the characters take you based on that one piece of gold. If it leads you somewhere great, you have something to plot for the next day!
Step Five. Repeat until you are back into a rhythm. You have to write something today and even if you delete it tomorrow, at least you are creating the habit of not waiting on the muse and if you write long enough, you WILL awaken into your creativity and get past that horrid little thing dubbed writer’s block.
While I gave a super simplistic approach to getting over being stuck, it works! Sometimes, the only way out of the swamp is to move forward (no matter how slowly), but you can’t move if you tell yourself you have a block and give yourself the excuse not to write. It’s hard and it’s painful, but you can get past it and get in a writing rhythm again!
Photo Cred: (Top) Unsplash.com (Middle and Bottom) Gilmore Girls