When I’m stuck on a word, line, phrase, or rhyme to improve my writing, my first instinct is push onward until I’m totally frustrated. This pressure totally eliminates my usual “I love my job!” vibe. To get back to my happy place, I force myself to loosen up by taking a walk, or a nap. And magically, as I relax, those elusive words pop into my head.
Wondering what other writers do when the words have stopped flowing, I’ve queried my very best ninja author buddies for their solutions to getting stuck. Here are their suggestions:
Pat Miller’s strategy for dealing with the danger of being stalled is a digital tomato timer. It goes off every 20 minutes for a mandatory 5 minutes away-from-the-desk activity. The mini deadlines keep her focused and the breaks give fresh eyes.
Nancy Churnin and Michelle Medlock Adam’s favor music – Nancy like songs that tell a story, and Michelle is a Sinatra fan. Also, hot cocoa and fresh popped popcorn are big hits.
Stephanie Bearce loves sewing and making up her own patterns. If I don’t have some sort of craft or creative element in my life - I have a much harder time writing.
Wendy Lanier and Nancy I. Sanders prefer making lists and brainstorming with their husbands whether they’re eating out or running errands.
Linda Skeers plays Tetris. “I'm doing something with my hands and one part of my brain, but the other part can wander and work on plot points, phrasing, new ideas, etc. It's my go-to for relaxing and pondering. That and taking a shower. I get my best ideas in the shower!”
Christine Liu Perkins digs deeper into research. “I've made some terrific serendipitous finds this way.”
So, the next time you’re stuck, frustrated, or pounding on those computer keys, the ninja consensus - finding what relaxes you is the key to creativity. Whether it’s listening to music, crafting, taking a walk, a talk, a break, a nap, or a shower: find your happy place and the words will flow.
What techniques work for you? Please share in the comments.
12/18/2018 02:27:49 pm
It's so fun to see how other authors relax, get unstuck and come up with new ideas! I see cocoa timers and music in my future!
12/23/2018 05:28:44 am
I know, and totally agree.
12/18/2018 03:46:28 pm
Love this. Proof that your subconscious is a vital writing partner.
12/23/2018 05:30:13 am
We're working even when were not working!
12/18/2018 08:04:01 pm
Jigsaw puzzles! Something about seeing pieces fall into place works the magic for me.
12/23/2018 05:32:03 am
I agree. Seeing how other writers work re-energizes my writing.
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We are nonfiction authors who support readers and writers through our writing, author visits, and workshops.
Disclaimer: The Nonfiction Ninjas are a group of writers with diverse ideas . The views expressed in each post are those of the author and may differ from others in the group.