Is your story stuck? You’re trying to hack out that next scene, but all you can seem to do is, well, hack at it? Put the pen down. Back away slowly. It’s time to stop writing your story and start doing some free writing. This morning, I was sharing with a writer friend some advice that I’ve heard from my professor on more than one occasion, and I think this advice is worth sharing.
Here’s what you do: pick a minor character and try to get into that character’s voice. Pretend like that character is sitting at a bar telling the bartender about what is happening in the story… look at the story from a new perspective. Don’t worry about whether or not the character can tell the story well, just let him or her have his say. Also, don’t worry about writing complete sentences or stopping to fix typos. Simply sit down, tell that editor that’s sitting on your shoulder to be quiet for a while, and start writing whatever comes to mind.
I’ve recently learned that free writing helps me get unstuck faster than any other tactic I’ve tried. Don’t sit down to write the story. Just sit down and pick one aspect of your story that you feel like you need to figure out and start writing about it. Most importantly, don’t let that editor get in your way.
I’ve set a goal for myself to get my complete story out of my head and on paper by the end of this year. I have locked my editor away in a box, stuffed it in a closet, and covered the box in a stack of blankets so I can’t hear her until I’m done. She can come out once I have the whole story on paper. If I worry about edits at this stage, I’ll never get anything done!
The important thing is to write *something* every single day, even if it’s garbage. When your muse sees that she can count on you to be there for her every day, she’ll start to come around more often. You just gotta have faith in the muse!
How do you get “unstuck” when your story stalls? Please share your comments below.
- Outlining: General Sketches 1 (khcox.wordpress.com)
- WD-40 for writers: How to get ‘unstuck’ (prdaily.com)
- Letter from My Inner Child (triplethreaded.wordpress.com)
- Today’s Writing Muse: Dangerous Trees (mbweston.com)
- Free Writing: A Distraction-Free Writing App for iPhone (heybudblogger.wordpress.com)
- Wednesday Writing Prompt: The Greatest Longing (writeontheworld.wordpress.com)
- Free-writing is hard. (writeontheworld.wordpress.com)