NANO Tips- What to do if you're STUCK


One of the coolest things about being published is all the author, writer and reader friends I've met on the interwebs. They are a great source of inspiration and a helpful sounding board when I have a line or a concept I am not sure works.
I decided rather than tell you my ideas for when you hit a wall with your writing (which during NANO cannot happen if you want to keep your word-count up) I would share their ideas for what they do when they get "stuck".

Hope these HELP! Happy Nano-ing!

I skip to a new scene and leave a blank spot. Fill it in later. 

I make a to-do list of plot holes I need to fill in and ask myself questions in my list like "Why does he do this?"

Research. I usually find inspiration from some tidbit of research, like an idea for a scene setting, etc.

take a walk, pet my pup, write something else... 

I do stream of consciousness writing with the inner editor shoved into a corner, and gagged.

I'll usually watch some mindless TV to help my mind relax from the stress of being stuck--works every time! :) 

I call a friend and ask for suggestions. One of the perks of haivng a friend who is getting a masters degree in literature.

It's a little silly, but I have a deck of "angel oracle cards" lying around & sometimes I pick one. Or a tarot card, etc.

drink lots of caffeine, or drink wine, it gives you the buzz to keep hitting the keyboard hard

drink Mtn Dew. I'm telling you, it works!! :) 
Take a shower! I always get my best ideas in the shower, which means I'm *really* clean while working on a draft.

Switching medium can help. Stared at a word doc for hours yesterday. Switched to paper, and the words flowed again. 

I go back and read the first chapter again out loud. Usually this helps me come up with questions I want to answer later on. 

Take a dance break? Seriously, get your body and mind pumping and then sit down & look at it a new! :-) 

I go back to the last place I knew it was working and start in a different direction :)

Listen to music that makes my brain work, relax, and just wait for my characters to speak to me. :)

I get up and walk away from the computer for 5 minutes. Many times that will give me new perspective. But ONLY 5 minutes.

Rachel Andrews :D I ask myself the question that's getting in the way like "why did character A lie to CharacterB?" And I give one reason, and second reason and a third reason. Usually the third one is a winner, because it causes your imagination to really stretch it -while keeping it plausible in whatever universe it's set it. 
Rachel Andrews Also, I tape over the backspace button, and the word count button. Otherwise I keep glancing at it....
Magda Knight I go with Raymond Chandler's advice every time. "A man walks into a room with a gun". Give your characters a real challenge, a dilemma you can't yet see a way out of. You're guaranteed to have the answer the next few chapters along!
M Andrew Patterson Blow something up



  1. LOL! Excellent. love the last one. :P

    Great advice though.Will definitely try some of these.

  2. Awesome :) I'll be needing these soon.

  3. I so love this post. And I couldn't agree more with that opening line...

  4. Good suggestions for anyone who's stuck, anytime!


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