FAQ: I’m stuck, now what?

download“Writers Block” is often synonymous with “I’m stuck, what do I do?” It isn’t that you don’t want to write, or can’t write, it’s that you’re not sure what you should say, or how to say it. It is usually the “how” part that gets me to stumble. When that internal editor starts telling me my writing is terrible, and I need to do better. That nothing I write is going to be worth the effort, that is when I have to dig into my repository of tricks to get the words flowing again.

The first trick is to reread what you alread wrote. Not all of it, just the last couple of pages. eventually something might spark the flow and get you moving again.

If that fails, then you can use stream of thought writing. This is like “beats” (or rough outlining) but a bit more specific for the area you are working with.

An example from “Mermaids Curse”

the kraken is flailing about, and gets stabbed, and immediately flails more, grabbing acolyte’s and tossing them into the waters.

Koric is trying to reach his wife and daughter, but the tentacle falls in front of him, blocking his path, and two priests grab him from behind, thrusting him up against the skin of the kraken where he is covered in a layer of slime from the tentacle.

It isn’t the best writing. It probably won’t even be the finished plot, but it gives me a good idea of where I am heading, and when I come back to that little section I can rewrite it and polish it up.

First drafts are often messy and need to be stripped down to the good bits before sending to an editor, so this is your first draft. Keep going.

Another trick would be to start filling in the world building a bit more. Just write about the culture, the town, a person, or and event that happens near your story. It may not effect your story directly, or it could be the extra plot point you were missing.

And besides, you might use the little bits of world knowledge that don’t make it into the final product somewhere else. It may become a new plot point in future tales, or reference in this work. Don’t discount world building just because it doesn’t fit right now. In general, someone like Tolkien who had so much extra world building that he put it into a separate book of it’s own, writes fuller and richer worlds then someone with no world building at all.

Happy Writing


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