November 20, 2010

Writer's Block - Kimberley Payne

A question was posed on The Word Guild discussion forum, asking, "What do you do when you are itchy to write but feel stuck, blocked - can't go anywhere. How do you get unstuck?"

I remember when I was stuck on where to go with my novel. I took an extra long walk and talked all the way. I discussed with God the troubles I was having and by the time I returned home, I had my answer!

Lisa Wilson does a freewrite. “You know, pick one of those crazy exercises from a book - write for five minutes about what is going on in this picture - that sort of thing. I find that helps to get the 'creative juices' flowing.” She also suggests writing from a different point of view. “If I'm working on a particular project and feel stuck, I'll try writing from a different POV, (even if I know I won't be including it) or start the next scene in a new way than I have before, a flashback, new setting, whatever. Often, I won't include those in the finished project, but these short starts get me going again.”

Ramona Furst recommends spending more time in His Word. “God's message to us. God's reason or intelligence expressed in human speech and words. Our insatiable need/craving for too much of anything is symptomatic of unmet needs & empty places. When I begin to give God all my empty places the fullness of Christ bursts forth with life and form. (John chapter one)”

Ed Hird tells us that agent Chip MacGregor recommends switching from a writing to a talking mode, even standing up and walking around, perhaps taping your comments.

Jane Harris-Zsovan agees with Ed, “I think all of Ed's suggestions will work. For those of us with a visual, tactile, or auditory orientation, sketching, painting, dancing, singing, praying out loud, or even story-boarding will also help.”

Carla Coroy likes to talk to friends. “When I get stuck like that I know that it's time to call one of my friends. I have a few that will always stir up a passion in me through our conversation and when we get off the phone, I'm ready and raring to go!”

Donna Dawson shares, “When I am stuck, I pick up a local newspaper and start reading. You would be amazed at what will jump out at me and get me started again. Sometimes it's an article. Sometimes it's the comics. Sometimes it's the crossword puzzle.”

How do you get unstuck?


  1. Hey, thanks for rounding up a few great tips for us, Kimberley.

    The one that stood out as I read was to switch from writing to a talking mode.

    I related to Ramona's comment about 'our need/craving for too much of anything is symptomatic of unmet needs and empty places. And like her, as I give Him my empty places, I love how how He comes and fills them so completely.

    You asked what I do if I get stuck.... I often turn to my classic Victoria magazines. Looking at the beautiful photos, reading the quotes scattered throughout the magazine, and being inspired by what other like-minded writers are writing about tends to open my own floodgates.

  2. Great tips. Sometimes it is necessary to let go of other things that crowd into our lives and stifle those creatives juices. There are moments when saying "no" to some activity or demand is the only way to quiet the voices that shout out over the voice that writes itself on paper.

  3. Thanks for this post - good ideas from others how to get unstuck. What often works for me is to go for a run or some other kind of exercise that gets both my blood and inspiration moving again.

  4. I usuallu just switch to a different project. I like to have several writing projects going at once, so when get bored, frustrated or feel uninspired, I switch to something different. If that doesn't work, doing a mundane chore (like cleaning the bathroom ...) helps. I'm not sure why - maybe because I'd rather be writing than cleaning. :)


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