In this post, I want to talk about how to overcome feeling stuck in the midst of a writing project. I often experience this when I’m working on a story and run into trouble with a certain aspect of it – the beginning or the ending, characters that feel underdeveloped, an uninspiring plot, and so on.
One strategy that I often use is to journal about my story where I brainstorm different ideas on how to tackle the problem I’m having. This process usually yields at least one or two insights into my story and why it isn’t working.
I also try experimental writing exercises, such as writing from a different point of view, writing from the perspective of another character in the story, starting at a different place in the story or changing the ending. One of these usually makes something click and helps me get back to my story, feeling refreshed and excited again.
Beyond specific exercises, sometimes what’s required when you feel stuck in your writing is to just take a break. Breaks are just as important and necessary to the writing process as the writing itself. Many times I’ve had ideas come to me when I leave the writing and go for a walk instead.
Engaging in other creative work is also very helpful. It can be anything you enjoy that takes your mind off the writing and the issues you’re having with your story. You will be rewarded with an answer when you least expect it.
The reality is that we all have good writing days, days where our scenes are sharp with sensory detail and our characters speak their minds and surprise us, and bad writing days, where our scenes feel dull and lifeless and characters sound wooden and cliched. But don’t give in to the myth of the writer’s block and give up on your story or stop writing altogether for a long period of time. Go for a walk. Bake. Knit. Paint. Write something else. The key is to keep your creative muscles activated so that when you do figure out the solution to what’s making you feel stuck, you’re ready to get back to it.