Hi all! Just want to wish you all a blessed Easter! X
Also, Brooke did this sweet little interview with me for the Second Crusade.
When I was pondering possible topics for S-day, one of the first things that popped into my head was the word Stuck.
The Heavens know that getting stuck is one of the afflictions I suffer from most while writing. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Stuck is a bane endured by pantsers everywhere. I mean, we don’t plan (much?) and as such, we don’t have contingencies for every turn the story takes.
And some turns will lead to dead-ends. Of course, I know from my plotting days that planning ahead doesn’t save one from getting stuck either. I mean… I can’t plan for everything, can I? The only thing is, when there is a plan, I can go back to it and continue from there.
Not so when pantsing. There, going back (in my opinion) doesn’t feel like an option. Besides, what am I supposed to go back to? The previous scene that leads to dead-end? Or the previous chapter that leads to the chapter that contains the dead-end scene? Yeah… While pantsing is great for spontaneous creation, it’s also a bit murky on the fixing problems end.
So… what do I do when I get stuck?
Step one: Stare at the blinking cursor.
Step two: Stare some more.
Step three: Make coffee.
Step four: Sip coffee while staring at the cursor.
Step five: beat head against table to beat of cursor blinking.
Step six: delete delete delete.
Of course, one deleting session can (and did) wipe out about a quarter of what I’d written. At that rate, I’d never finish, so I bought a pen I liked and a notebook that I enjoyed touching. I wrote the entire first draft of Doorways by hand. With no cross outs when I didn’t like what I wrote. I just had to live with what was down on the page. So when I got stuck, I got really stuck, because there were no shortcuts. I had wade my way through.
I stopped writing for almost four months. After all, I had university and other responsibilities. I didn’t have time to stare at the empty page.
Well… that was the best thing I could do. While I was in a conversation with a friend, a 1000 megawatt light bulb went on in my head. I rushed to a quiet(ish) place and started writing. I wrote pages and pages worth of story.
When I was done, I came to the realization that my brain just needed some pressure-free time to get all its ducks in a row.
So… the next time, I… went into frustration mode yet again (and again… and again. It’s a weakness. I get annoyed with things that prevent me from doing something I want to do.), but once I settled I asked for some advice on the blog. Got a lot of advice, but I find that nothing works quite as well as just letting it be.
What works for you when you get stuck?