Discussion → Getting Unstuck

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    Cynthia Reeser
    Nov 13, 09:14pm

    What are some things you do as a writer when you find yourself at a log-jam in your writing? Do you have ways of moving past the block or point of stasis that seem to help every time? Does it depend on the story or work in question?

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    Sam Rasnake
    Nov 13, 10:32pm

    I like the questions, Cynthia. For me, writing through it doesn't help. Music, film, or reading - in a completely different direction - that's never failed.

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    Susan Gibb
    Nov 14, 07:27am

    I'd agree with Sam,that I tend to walk away from it and use the time to get other stuff done that I've put off in favor of writing. Eventually a thought comes through and I drop the "other" stuff and run to the keyboard.

    However, on a recent writing binge of a hypertext short story every day for 100 days in a group effort of artists, photographers, poets, writers, I did not have the luxury of walking away. It was a forced "pick a topic and run with it" type of writing that worked but required some going back and rewriting to get it into better shape.

    It really depends on the type of writing you're doing: focused narrative where you need to relate to an ongoing story, or just looking for new ideas.

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    Cynthia Reeser
    Nov 14, 08:00pm

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Sam and Susan. I agree that shifting your focus away from the writing for a bit can help. I think I especially find reading helpful, and can relate to Susan's reference to deadlines, being primarily a nonfiction writer. Going to the research helps for me. Fiction is a little trickier though.

    I've talked with several fiction writers who "write through it," and usually end up cutting most of the writing-through, which is essentially a build-up to get to a main point that had eluded them. But I like the idea of walking away, because it's great for gaining fresh perspective. As long as one returns to the writing, of course.

    I think with fiction, if you are truly stuck, to the point where not even taking a breather helps, it may point to structural problems. And in that case, a thorough re-thinking may be required.

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    Andrew Bowen
    Nov 25, 03:01am

    Cooking helps me. It's another creative act, with the added stimuli of scent, colors, textures, etc. The keyboard and screen can become bland and sterile so this is a pleasurable way to get the juices flowing again.

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    Cynthia Reeser
    Nov 28, 03:08pm

    Scott, I love this! I can really understand why so many writers choose to incorporate cooking themes and elements into their work. The sensory experience really lends itself to a lot of detail.

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