Monday, December 5, 2011

Breaking Out

Do you ever get writer's block?

Or ever just hit a spot where you can write but the words just don't have the flow or spark they normally do?

What do you do about it?

Do you:






Clean house?

Keep writing?

Take a break?

Eat chocolate?

Go blog hopping?

Jump on Facebook?

Consult your writer friends?

When I am challenged, I do a sampling of these things. Sometimes I'll work on a different project, like if I'm stuck on the historical fiction WIP, I'll write a blog post.

I also like to try writing exercises to refresh and stretch my creativity. For example, I joined Stumble Upon recently and found the My Creative Team Thinking blog. Their Creativity Boosts offer a prompt or other activity, like Dictionary Excursion, where the dictionary is used to find words to write a 250 word story. It's intended use is for individuals but I'm sure it could be adapted for group use too. I think the results would be rather amusing. Click here to give it a try.

So tell us, how do you break out of a writing slump? Have any additional tips and tricks to share?

Keep writing,
P.S. I have a book review over at Pen and Prosper. If you'd like to take a peek, click here. Thanks a bunch! :)

Photo credit: Stock Exchange


  1. I'll do something else. Read, exercise, watch a great movie - anything to get my mind off it.

    And if that doens't work, I make lists of how my plot could be different!

  2. I guess I just keep plowing forward regardless. I might go back a few pages and read what I've already written, and the will usually inspire me past the point that's giving me trouble.

  3. Hi karen - I have found when I can't come up with anything I sit down and have a quiet time and make it about God and not about blogs. Great post and encouragement
    God bless

  4. I've done all of the things you listed when I'm blocked. Mostly it's the break from writing that's what's important, not so much what I do with it.
    I'm off to peek at your book review. . .

  5. Laura,
    I forgot about a movie - that's always a good diversion too. If you're like me, you examine elements of the plot and other things while watching! :)

    Me too, I am never stuck for that long, and I can always write. It's just a matter of how good it is and how creative I feel.

    Yes, very true! My focus is often askew during these times. Great point!

    I think we all have times and seasons along these lines, and you're right, it's the break that can help. Thanks for checking out the review!


  6. Sometimes I'll just take a break. Often I skip ahead to a scene that is more exciting and play connect the dots later.

  7. Hi Karen....If the writing is not coming smoothly, I'll shut down the computer and go do something else.

    Before I know it, I'm itching to come back and start again!

    I LOVE to write. It's one of my life's truest joys.

    Take care. Going over now to read your review.

    Hope your holiday season is great so far. Susan

  8. Diane,
    I do that too sometimes, even with non fiction. I figure at least I have something down anyway! Great giveaway at your blog, btw!

    And your love for writing shows! It is a joy to read it in your blog. Thanks for taking a peek at the review!


  9. I'm so far behind in every other aspect of my life that when a block happens, I have a ton of stuff to do. No lack of items there.

    I like your list.

    I generally choose housework. I like organized spaces, yet there's no end to the clutter in my home. Amazing.

  10. I have to tell you the truth - I don't have time to get it - but I don't write much! teehee - just kidding and saying hello!

  11. I always have so many writing projects that I just work on another one.

  12. A warm bubble bath typically thaws me and gets my creative juices flowing. Prayer provides a few avenues as well. :-)

    Thanks for the review mention.

  13. I fret. Then I read a book. Then I fret some more, then I clean the house. Then I fret again.

  14. Joylene,
    Hey, me too. There is always something to do around here. Now as to whether it fits into the fun category is another thing altogether! :)

    Thanks for coming by and saying hello! It's always good to see you. :)

    Thanks for stopping by! Yes, never a lack of projects, now is there? So we won't get bored I suppose!

    Yes, those are two very good things! Happy to mention the review, thanks for posting it!

    Yes, fretting seems to be part of it sometimes, and I find it makes it worse. Do you? So I aim to de-stress and keep pushing ahead. Some days are more challenging than others.


  15. Yes! I do all of the above. About to take a long walk now. I can pray, exercise, brainstorm, take a break and eat chocolate (take a little snack). There, I've just tackled five of the items at once!

  16. I've found if I just write something, even if it isn't great, when I go back over to edit the process pushes me past the block.

    We got snow last night, it's feeling much more festive around here!

  17. I see writing as a rolling rewriting experience, so i just push through, writing garbage if i have to, knowing I'll come back to that scene on the next go around.


  18. Stephen,
    Talk about productive multitasking! Sounds like you've got it down pat.

    You know, this is a good way to get something down to work with later. I always encourage my students to do this too. :)

    That's a great way to look at it! I figure there's almost always something you can use. Like you said, keeps you moving forward!


  19. Woohoo! I'm back!

    One of my secrets is to go on photo sites. A picture will often trigger an idea for a post.

    Susan :)

  20. I take pictures. I go on a walk and snap, snap, snap. Before long, I'm inspired again. Just finished a picture book last night. It's off to my picture book CP's now.

    Hope you're having a great day, amigo. (((hugs)))

  21. I guess lack of motivation could be the same as writer's block. I have a passion for other writing related things that I get sidetracked. It might be that those other things give me more instant gratification than plugging away at my WIPs. So much to do, so little time!

  22. You have your family call you and suck the life out of your writing time. :)

    Well at least that is what has happened to me. Hope all is well my friend.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  23. Susan,
    Woo hoo is right. We've been missing you, girl! :) Hope the new computer is all you hoped and dreamed. :)

    Brilliant idea, amigo! Now, I need to get a camera...:)

    That's a good point. A WIP is kind of like raising children. It's often a while before you see the results!

    My husband would say that this is what the answering machine is for. Easier said than done, right? :)


  24. I think I do a combination of everything in your list. Oh, and avoid and procrastinate. :)

  25. Most writers hit this, right? I find the answers come to me when I'm showering or sleeping or trying to sleep!

  26. I find the ideas start flowing again on my walks. But it's been raining here the last few days. Is that why I'm stumped right now? Ha! Excuses, excuses :-) Thanks for the links, Karen. I need to check them out.

  27. Sarah,
    Oh yes! I forgot those! I know them well. lol

    I think so. That's when ideas hit me too sometimes. Keep a tablet beside my bed, as for the shower, have to figure out what to do about that!

    Me too! Been raining here as well. Hoping to get out and have a walk today and see what ideas surface. :)


  28. I write the column over two or three days. Rarely, four. So if I get stuck, I literally quit and go home to my day job. Or even just getting up and moving around with a "Lord, help!" prayer thrown up before coming back will shake something loose.

    Now I'm curious about the blog you found and will bookmark it so I can go back.

    Thanks for the help!

  29. Karen, I do all of it and read a lot and pray that my muse and I are back together.

  30. I do all of that, and pray. I like the dictionary exericise at that stumble site - kind of fun.
    I also keep books on writing with writing exercises in them near at hand. They give me some good writer starts to get the words flowing.
    But then there are days when I just have to sit down, and write through the worry blocks . . . even if I write badly for a thousand words, the next hundred or so will be good.

  31. Thank you for these suggestions. There are times when I do have a block and don't know what to do about other than pray. I do look through my photos though. That often sparks a story!

  32. Talli,
    It is great advice, isn't it? :)

    It's just a season, and we always get through it, don't we? :)

    All part of the process, don't you think? Then we can say we are building character, too, right? lol

    You are welcome! Hope maybe one or two might help you work through it when it happens. :)


  33. Terri,
    Hang in there! To me, that's the most important thing, you know? The Lord will lead you through. You've had a lot of transition lately with moving and all. It'll come together, I'm sure!

    And I would think your day job would be enough of a distraction and provide food for thought! :) Hope you enjoy the link.


  34. Number one thing I do: read. Always gives me ideas.

  35. I'm not a writer, but sometimes i do have trouble trying to come-up with a topic or post for my blog. And yet other times i seem to be filled with ideas but that seems to be fairly rare. But when i am on a roll i try to put together as many post's as i can. Richard from Amish Stories.

  36. Warren,
    That always helps me too. Sometimes I read different things - like my husband's trade magazines. It often gives me fresh insight.

    I think this is common among us bloggers! You are wise to compile them when the creative ideas are coming.


  37. Great list of ideas, Karen.

    I pray, lament, procrastinate, then finally sit down and just WRITE. Even if it's poopy, at least I'm getting something down. I can always edit it later.

    Exercise helps, and laughing. Did you know that a good belly laugh releases endorphins like you get by working out? Aha.

  38. Not sure I do anything specific. I don't suffer from writer's block but writer's laziness. lol Or procrastination. But I'd say most of those things on your list would work. :-)

  39. I think I've done most of those things. I know that my writer's block is mainly because I've come to an issue in my writing that I can't resolve so, walking helps.

  40. Jen,
    Hey, I do those things too. And you're right, even if it's not great, you have something to work with. :)

    Ah, the laziness thing. I have that too. Funny, it often hits me when its time for housework too.

    I'm with you, walking helps me clear out the cobwebs and think!


  41. My 'go to' solution for writer's block is prayer. God is always faithful to remind me of something I read, or a real-life happening that I need to pass along. I'll have to check out the Creative Team Thinking blog and give their prompts a try! Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!