Sunday, September 15, 2013

How to Get Out of a Writing Funk: Tips to Trick Yourself into Writing MORE

So, I will admit it. I’ve been slacking on my writing because, well, REASONS. But mostly because when I think about sitting down and writing, I mental-hyperventilate because there are so many plot holes and scenes that I don’t know exactly what to do with and omigod, it’s happening again.

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BREATHE.

So, this weekend I sat down to write and was not allowed to do anything else (except drink my latte and shut the hell up about being hungry).
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With these kinds of restraints, words HAD to show up on the page. So I got to work. Here are a few things I noticed that helped me break through my writing drought.

  1. HE SAYS, SHE SAYS GETS WORDS ON PAGE: Maybe you aren’t a dialogue person, but I’m usually pretty good at getting a good bantering going on. For some of my scenes, I didn’t know exactly all of the things that were going to happen or what I wanted the scene to look like that my characters were standing in …but I had an idea of what they were going to say to each other. Run with that. Just write out the dialogue. Literally write what he says…then push ENTER …then write what she says back, etc. We can add the fluff later and where exactly they are – but really, if what they are communicating to each other is a highlight of the purpose of this scene, that get it out. I couldn’t believe how much I pumped my word count out by just tackling some dialogue.

  2. ADDING THE FLUFF TO THE BONES: Okay, so I have done that in the past a lot – where I write a bunch of dialogue but then that’s all it is. Faceless people bickering back and forth. To change up your writing session, find one of those places in your WIP that is kind of bare bones and put some love into it. Set the surroundings, dress your characters, know the weather, smell the smells. Flesh out that scene so it’s living and breathing and smiling its pearly whites at you. Or…jagged, snaggletooth if that’s your thing.

  3. SKIP AROUND YOUR PLOT: I know this sounds super dangerous for those of you who live and die by writing in order. If you have a minor heart-attack thinking about writing a scene five chapters ahead, you don’t have to.


    But it works for me to get me going, especially if I’m really excited about writing that scene because it’s going to be intense/emotional/dangerous, etc. What I have found when doing this is I start to wonder why I’m not as excited to write the stuff in between where I am and the chapter I want to skip ahead to. If it’s not exciting to me to write why would it be exciting for the reader to read? Maybe something needs to be changed to bring that awesome scene in sooner or –make what is happening in between more intense/emotional/dangerous too?

  4. STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS THAT SUCKER: Sometimes I have a starting point for a scene but I haven’t yet discovered exactly how it will all play out. Like I know something like CHARACTER A is going to meet CHARACTER B here and they are going to have a conversation that becomes significant later on in the story. Okay, so I know what’s going to happen but…not really. Some people try to then plot out that specific scene and then write by plot points. I like to just stream-of-consciousness that bit. Don’t worry about it sucking (because it’s going to suck hardcore). Just write. Anything that comes to mind about the POV character and what they are thinking when seeing the other character and their interactions and blah blah blah. Let it all come out in...well…a STREAM. Or a river if you prefer. Tidal wave. TSUNAMI. However you’d like to imagine the words flowing, don’t stop writing to edit yourself. Let it go without any restrictions. No one is ever going to see this load of garbage you are TSUNAMI-ING out of your fingertips. You will be surprised how many good ideas come out of this.

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So yeah, that’s what I did this weekend. It was definitely still painful at points and I didn’t much like the starving bit but in the end, guess what?


WORDS ON PAGE.

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What tricks do you try to get out of a writing funk?

5 comments:

  1. This is a great list, and they've all worked for me too - a good reminder for those times we feel stuck.

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    1. Thanks! It's worked great for me to "trick" myself into writing more haha

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  2. Great article! I'm a big fan of stream-of-conscious writing. Gets me unstuck every time.

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    1. It really does work if you just let it flow. Most of it can't be kept but the lines that you do keep are usually pretty darn good.

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  3. These are ask great tips for getting unstuck. The floating dialogue and stream of conscious work rather well for me. the most important part for me is allowing myself to suck. Brandon Sanderson said, "I often have to write something poorly before I can write it well."

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