Writing Tip for Today: At times, we find ourselves stuck, overwhelmed, scattered or all of the above. Here are some ideas for using change to dig your way out of a hole:
- When You're STUCK. I don't usually suffer writer's block, but I do occasionally feel stuck. If you feel as if you've hit a road block in writing, there are entire books devoted to getting you back on track. One of my personal favorites is to write something completely different. Even if you're on a tight deadline, just breaking from the story to write a letter from your lead character to you can be a breath of fresh air. It's like a deeper part of you knows exactly what the character needs, but your conscious mind is preventing it. By free writing from your character to yourself, you may be able to gain valuable insight you wouldn't have otherwise found. Or write a poem, a short story or an article or essay. Change it up and you may get unstuck.
- When You're Scattered. On the other hand, if you feel scattered, you may be trying to do too much. Is it difficult to squeeze in writing on your WIP, building that platform and marketing your work either with submissions or by promoting published work? Divide your writing sessions into unique segments. One day, it's all drafting (creating), the next you edit. Maybe you set aside Fridays as "marketing Day" or "Social Media" time. By separating these different aspects of writing, you may be able to concentrate more fully on the task in front of you. The idea of a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step applies here. You can't do it all, but you can do SOMEthing.
- When You're Overwhelmed. All writers occasionally feel like frauds. And many of us have down days, post-rejection blues or illness that makes it all seem like too much. When this happens, I do these things: 1) 24 Hours. I have a rule about rejections--I get to mope for a day, then it's back on the horse. 2) You might feel better if you don't require yourself to finish your novel, submit 20 queries or rewrite the last chapter so it's perfect. Do one thing, whether it's reading over yesterday's work (recommended), giving yourself permission to write something REALLY AWFUL (also recommended) or if you are really down, researching or looking up markets to submit to on another day. You cannot do it all but you can do SOMEthing. And giving up isn't an option. See Tip #2. 3)READ. Unless I have double pneumonia, I can read. I read the best stuff I can get my hands on and I also read in other genres than I prefer. Novelist Ann Patchett (Bel Canto) agrees and says that if a writer won't read, he/she has no business writing. On days you simply can't write, you can still read.