How to get “Un-Stuck”
By Anne Hawkinson
YAY! I’ve finally carved out some time to write. I lock the doors, mute the phone, and turn on the computer. I’m going to make significant progress on my work-in-progress. And then it happens. I stare at the blank screen and it stares back. Nothing happens. Nothing.
What happens next is even more dangerous, threatening the very survival of my story. I start looking around for other things that need doing: sort through and file the stack of papers on top of the printer, dust the entire room, do a load of laundry (it can be doing its thing while I’m writing, I rationalize), throw dinner in the oven (dinner will be ready as I reach my goal on the plot clock).
At this point, I have two choices: 1) Tough it out and start typing something, anything. Sometimes just moving my fingers on the keyboard jolts the brain into action. I might start out with something completely unrelated to my story and all of a sudden, I’m back on track. 2) This is a bit tricky, and requires me to remember that I’m still writing. I get up and do something else with my starting point still engaged in my brain. I know I just said that this can be the kiss of death to any progress I hoped to make, but this does work for me when I’m stuck in front of the monitor and nothing is happening. I don’t do anything that requires reading/writing, but activities like doing laundry, washing dishes, pulling weeds, or taking a bike ride have all proven successful for me.
Something else that works for me? A different writing mode. If being stationed in front of the computer is not getting me anywhere, I grab a tablet and pencil and work somewhere else (usually propped up in bed at the end of the day). I might make an outline, jot down phrases, conversations, or plot points. Whatever it is, I know I will have something to type into my document the next time I turn on my computer.
I have good, supporting evidence for what has come to be my personal writing process. I’m a writer and I write. It’s as simple as that.
“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ”
― Agatha Christie
“You can’t edit a blank page.”
― Nora Roberts
“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”
― Charles Bukowski