Sodaro's Stories

March 2, 2014

Getting Unstuck

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 5:29 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I don’t get writer’s block. A couple of years ago, I would NEVER have typed that…I would have knocked on every piece of wood in a 20 mile radius for even thinking about it. But it is a true statement. I don’t get writer’s block…I feel confident in saying this, but I will add this caveat to that statement. I don’t get writer’s block, but sometimes I do get stuck. Not Winnie-the-Pooh in the honey hole kind of stuck, but more of a where am I going to take this chapter kind of stuck. It’s more of a stuck-lite, if you will. And there are things I do that have consistently helped me to get unstuck.
1. Freewrite — I love to freewrite…putting pen to paper (finger to keyboard without a rough draft written out, seldom works for me) about anything that comes to mind is a fantastic way to get unstuck. It gets the pen going across the page, and no one could say they are stuck with the pen putting words down on paper. When I taught English, I used to tell my students that if they don’t know what to write, to write the phrase “I don’t know what to write” over and over again until finally the brain gets tired of writing that and wants to write about ANYTHING just to not ever have write that phrase again. I freewrite every day in a notebook that is just for that. It’s my morning pages, and I am sometimes writing about current novels, future projects, any stress, any other things on my mind. Sometimes I write about my pretty pens or my future island. But the point is, I write every day.
2. Multiple Projects — I have read conflicting research about this, but it works for me. I always have multiple novels going on and if I get stuck, I will work on random stories. There are prompts I use that may end up in the novels, maybe not, but I keep writing, and that is all that matters.
3. Rewrite a bit — I have mentioned that I hand write my novels. I hand write my PhD papers. I hand write my blogs…I write everything out longhand. It’s how I create and it justifies my buying pens and notebooks by the cart load. Sometimes what I have written for a chapter is going in the wrong direction. While I have put my OCD in check and am okay with the occasional word cross out on my paper (don’t laugh, but I used to have to rewrite entire pages if there was a single cross out on the page…I’ve gotten better) I can’t cross out a paragraph or half a page or whatever caused me to be stuck, whatever was the derailment of the chapter. So I start the page over, and pay more attention to what the characters are acting out so as to not get derailed again, and I work past the part where I was stuck and move the chapter along nicely.
These things work for me. 😀

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