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JustGo
01-15-2008, 01:06 AM
What do you do when the writing just isn't flowing, but you're determined not to walk away from your computer/typewriter/notebook/stone tablet/stale matzo board and cheese whiz without writing something new?

The most common thing I hear is going for a walk; I personally like going to Borders and getting a truly hedonistic cup of "coffee" at the café (or making myself the closest thing possible at home). For some reason, that always gets me unstuck.

Stew21
01-15-2008, 01:11 AM
I open a new word document and start typing. It can be completely unrelated to the story or just hashing out the story a bit away from the draft (which can be daunting and intimidating when the words aren't flowing). I do writing prompts (like 5 minutes with a blank screen in games and exercises here.)
I typically don't go for a walk or anything but I have changed my setting. I've taken a notebook to a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, park, etc and tried again.

Raindrops
01-15-2008, 01:12 AM
I usually watch a movie or read to get inspired. Eventually, the muse kicks in. :)

althrasher
01-15-2008, 01:16 AM
I just let it go for a little while. If it's not happening for me, it's just not. And if I try to force it I end up with crap anyway.

But I'm not on a deadline or anything, so no big deal.

Finni
01-15-2008, 01:19 AM
I start writing my own obituary...focusing on the unpublished writer part. That usually gets me going.

I also start looking at pictures from the Hubble telescope...beautiful pictures!! Very inspiring! Have you seen any?

Willowmound
01-15-2008, 01:22 AM
I keep at it until I make it work.

Or if it's really late, go to bed. Despondent.

JustGo
01-15-2008, 01:46 AM
I start writing my own obituary...focusing on the unpublished writer part. That usually gets me going.

I also start looking at pictures from the Hubble telescope...beautiful pictures!! Very inspiring! Have you seen any?

Great ideas! I can certainly see how the first one works... O.o
And yes, I've seen a few. They are amazing :D

TrickyFiction
01-15-2008, 01:49 AM
Change in atmosphere helps. Take it to a café or bar or wherever.

Or try writing by hand if you're used to typing, or typing if you're used to writing by hand. I have an old manual typewriter that exists solely for the purpose of changing things up when I'm all worn out.

Shadow_Ferret
01-15-2008, 01:58 AM
I usually watch a movie or read to get inspired. Eventually, the muse kicks in. :)
Me too. Lately I get about 2 paragraphs in and the stories in my head are so overwhelming I have to go write them.

Kind of disappointing because I don't get much reading done any more.

geardrops
01-15-2008, 02:06 AM
If it's on a WIP, I go back, because obviously there's something I bollocksed up fairly badly. I can't progress on until what I have behind me is at least satisfactory. It's some sort of mental block.

If it's a blank sheet, I walk away and amuse myself with the cat. Sometimes you need a brain-break. And cats are very amusing.

WendyNYC
01-15-2008, 02:10 AM
I read an author with a writing style I like.

eek_a_snake
01-15-2008, 03:28 AM
Lately I get stuck not because of a lack of creativity, but because I'm too unfocused. I can't work out a plot point because my mind keeps wandering. I find the taking a walk helps. Half an hour or so, and by the time I get back my brain is less scattered.

Judg
01-15-2008, 03:52 AM
Brainstorming on a piece of blank paper seems to be helping lately.

Harper K
01-15-2008, 04:17 AM
If it's still earlyish (say, not 3 in the morning), I take my dog for a walk around the block. If the WIP giving me trouble is fiction, I'll pretend to be one of the characters from the story and try to stay completely in that character's head as I walk. I'm good at this. It's a habit left over from my daydreamy childhood.

Otherwise, I'll often open up a Livejournal update box and start typing an entry in there. My creativity-unblocking entries don't often get posted to the public, but they're helpful to me.

Sometimes all it takes is going to one of my bookshelves, opening up a favorite novel, and saying to myself, "Oh yeah! THAT'S what fiction writing looks like."

KTC
01-15-2008, 04:22 AM
I'm very lucky that this does not happen to me. If anything, the opposite happens. I sometimes get overwhelmed by the amount of simultaneous ideas I get. I would offer the first advice you were given. Yay, Trish. Open a Word file...or whatever program you use...and type away blindly. Something will eventually spring to life from the words you crash away at. Sometimes you have to be blind to see. If you just let the mind blindly take over, it might snag something before it sails past unnoticed.

aka eraser
01-15-2008, 05:02 AM
I go fishing. If that's not possible for whatever reason, I go for a walk in the woods.

maestrowork
01-15-2008, 05:06 AM
Long drives. I LOVE long drives, top down preferably.

KTC
01-15-2008, 05:06 AM
I would also 2nd eraser's idea. I go for a walk in the woods with my Golden every day...I feel on fire when I am there. I can't wait to get back to the car to jot down my ideas. Sometimes I even scribble them down during my walk. And I love fishing...I'll do that for any reason you can throw at me.

Serenity
01-15-2008, 05:14 AM
Long drives. I LOVE long drives, top down preferably.

I drive with my top down too.

Oh wait, I don't think we're talking about the same thing... :e2brows:

*ahem* I do like to plot things out in various places, long drives, in the shower, when I'm falling asleep. I will also find a relaxing place and get comfortable with a notebook and a pen. There used to be a place on a campus near where my mom and dad live that I loved to go to in the spring and summer. Nice shaded bench by a creek surrounded by trees.

Z. W. Van Kleeck
01-15-2008, 05:19 AM
When I cannot write I draw the scene on a piece of sketch paper. typically if i can visualize the scene, or where the people are standing and how they are standing, the dialog starts to flow.

Read the part that you have last done out loud with cartoon-like emphasis. At worst you will be able to mock yourself and have a little laugh, and at best you will continue speaking after you reach the last puntuation. Even if what you say is trash, you've started thinking forward. then it's a matter of focusing that forward momentum.

When all else fails it is a good idea to ask yourself when the last time you ate or slept was. my brain start to pump out trash in it's last few hours of being awake, after that- i go completely blank and sit at the keyboard staring at the white screen forgetting that i am trying to work some problem out.

Zelenka
01-15-2008, 05:32 AM
I do most of these. I either read for a while (actually I try to read for a while before I start to write as well as it seems to get my brain into language mode), watch TV, draw or brainstorm part of the scene that's bugging me, or quite often I look through photographs I've collected - I keep a lot of things like pictures of buildings that look like the ones in my story, or in some cases are the ones in my story.

Usually the best thing is to switch the sound off the TV, plug the iPod into its speakers and play one of my WIP playlists. Music really focusses me.

Finni
01-15-2008, 05:49 AM
plug the iPod into its speakers and play one of my WIP playlists. Music really focusses me.

I have a playlist for my two major characters. This really helps. I also found pictures of people that look like what I imagine my characters look like; I put them on the wall above my desk. The music and pictures not only help for when I am stuck but also compels me to get started in the morning.

JustGo
01-15-2008, 06:22 AM
I go for a walk in the woods with my Golden every day...I feel on fire when I am there. I can't wait to get back to the car to jot down my ideas.

Burn alive inside, man ;)


I drive with my top down too.

Oh wait, I don't think we're talking about the same thing... :e2brows:


I may have to move to someplace more close by... :D


When I cannot write I draw the scene


My brother did this to show me how stupid some of my scenes were. It was very educational. In a horrifying way.
If I get published, they may go on the web for fans to laugh about, hehehe.


Music really focusses me.

I sometimes think I'll have to give a couple bands a thank-you in my acknowledgements; even though I don't listen to music while I'm writing, music gives me more ideas than just about anything else.

Mud Dauber
01-15-2008, 08:57 AM
plug the iPod into its speakers and play one of my WIP playlists. Music really focusses me.
:hi:Another vote for listening to music.

Also, switching to longhand has helped me to refocus many a time.

ascribe
01-15-2008, 03:01 PM
I just let it go for a little while. If it's not happening for me, it's just not. And if I try to force it I end up with crap anyway.

But I'm not on a deadline or anything, so no big deal.

I'm (un)lucky in that I don't have a deadline either. I won't let myself near the computer until I'm desperate to write again. I usually get twitchy very quickly so it doesn't take long.

wildcatter67
01-16-2008, 12:12 AM
Sometimes, I get stuck because I can't write well enough to tell the story that is bubbling out of me. I need to identify what it is I need to learn and get help.

Sometimes, I get stuck because I don't understand enough about psychology to be able to write my very psychological story.

Research, reading and asking questions is what I need to do. It's my pathetic lack of skills and knowledge that are my problem.

Mr Flibble
01-16-2008, 01:11 AM
Well I come here of course!

Also I lay on the sofa and daydream the scene in my head ( preferably with some of the character's signature songs playing in the background, or a good bit of metal for a fight scene)

Read a 'how to' book if I feel I'm not getting the tone/description right

Having a chat with my kids sometimes helps too - they come out with some really oddball mental images that kick start my imagination.

If that doesn't work, I just write anyway and see what comes out. That usually does the trick, even if I delete that part later, it gets me going. Although I did do that once and killed a secondary MC quite unintentionally - I got so into the story I didn't realise what I'd done till later! By then, it was too late, he was toast.

SageFury
01-16-2008, 07:19 AM
What do you do when the writing just isn't flowing, but you're determined not to walk away from your computer/typewriter/notebook/stone tablet/stale matzo board and cheese whiz without writing something new?

The most common thing I hear is going for a walk; I personally like going to Borders and getting a truly hedonistic cup of "coffee" at the café (or making myself the closest thing possible at home). For some reason, that always gets me unstuck.

I play video games like unreal or mmorpgs.

Games require focus which helps clear the mind after an hour then my mind is ready to go and write again... although now getting off the game is the hard part ~_~ I try to play frustrating games generally so i reach the point where i can happily say bye to the evil game, lol

Danger Jane
01-16-2008, 07:31 AM
Watch some of a movie or read some of a book with the same feeling as my scene, soak in a hot bath till I'm about to pass out. Go for a drive.

Playing violin really helps me, actually, probably because it involves so much of the brain. When I practice for an hour and come back to my writing, my fingers just fly over the keyboards.