Friday, October 14, 2011

I have no clue what to write

You'll enjoy the way I came up with this blog post. I sat down to a blank compose blog screen with no clue what I wanted to write about.

I have this theory when I have a brain freeze and can't write. If I write something, anything, it will give this nice little "kick in the pants" to my head and something will magically pop up.

So, in the title post, I write, "I have no clue what to write."

In my own WIP, many times this looks a little like this:


I then promptly delete it, knowing that at the very least, I can write something better than THAT!

So, as I typed my silly title, fully intending to immediately erase it, I thought: Why not leave the title as is and give some tips about how to push through the irritating phenomenon that is writer's block?

This is very appropriate as well, since in a local writer's group of mine, we are having a "marathon" month where we encourage each other to write through the fog and just get SOMETHING down on paper, regardless of how rough. It's a fantastic exercise to do!

Tip 1: See above! Write SOMETHING! No matter now bad, just write something. Somehow just seeing words on a page triggers the brain. It's scientific. (just, uh, don't ask me to prove it or show you research, kay?)

Tip 2: CHOCOLATE! Nuff said.

Tip 3: Change scenery. Do you write in an "office"? Take your laptop to your bed, or the couch, outside, or even to the library or coffee house.

Tip 4: Brainstorm with a friend. I recently had a FABULOUS conversation with alleycat Sarah about my current work in progress that was giving me HUGE fits. She gave some fantastic suggestions, asked me some great questions, and it forced me to think outside the box of my own head and consider some other possibilities. It WORKED!

Tip 5: Reverse. Some might not agree with this, but sometimes when I'm REALLY stuck, I need to back up and read what I've written already. I don't do this a lot, but it helps get the book back into my head, revs up my creative juices, and gets me EXCITED about my story again. It also helps me see if there is a big plot whoops that is the culprit of my paralyzed creativity.

Discussion: How about you? Any ways you've overcome the "Holy crap I don't know what to write now" syndrome?


Wendy Paine Miller said...

Tips # 3 & 4 are my biggest tools.

Wow, I think I need to eat more chocolate. I'm learning it solves all kind of problems. ;)

~ Wendy

Arieth said...

Thanks for this interesting post. A lets eat choclate together and talks/brainstorms about our books.

Big hug.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Great list, Krista! I could jump into that chocolate cake right now. Breakfast, anyone? :)

For me, I love doing #5. Reading back over the previous scene or the previous few pages refreshes my memory and gets the story moving long as my kids don't interrupt me just as I start to hover my fingers over the keyboard. But that's another problem for another day. :)

Krista Phillips said...

Wendy, those are HUGELY helpful ones for me too... unfortunately I don't always get the opportunity for either of them, especially the change of scenery (regarding actually LEAVING my house to write!)

Krista Phillips said...

Aritha... yes, sounds like heaven doesn't it! Chocolate and brainstorming books with friends! LET'S GO!!

Krista Phillips said...

Sarah, that cake for breakfast = amazing!

I Love #5 too. However, if I do it TOO much, it can sometimes CAUSE writer's block too. Something about focusing on the past and not looking to the future kind of thing. But when I'm in a rut NOT caused by my need to reread what I've written a billion times... it is the jolt I need!

Beth K. Vogt said...

I may just try that exercise of typing "a;sdlkfj;aoweijrtokwjf;ldkajsd;fojwoefirthlkd." I like the thought of saying, "I can write something better than THAT!"

Brainstorming (#4) is my go-to way to bust through brain freeze. And going for a walk and just working it out on my own--and yes, I talk it out on the walk (out loud sometimes) helps too.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Krista, great tips! Like Beth, I love the idea of writing "a;sdlkfj;aoweijrtokwjf;ldkajsd;fojwoefirthlkd" and reassuring myself that I can write something better than that! I'm going to do that when I feel stuck.

All your ideas are great. I find what helps me is to talk through my quandry with someone and work it through. I also find my creative juices flow when I write in a different place.

Thanks, Krista!

Joanne Sher said...

Love 1 and 3 (and of course chocolate - but that goes without saying!).

For me, changing MEDIUM often helps as much as, if not more than, changing scenery. A bit of time writing longhand almost ALWAYS breaks me out of my rut. Great post, Krista!

Keli Gwyn said...

Great tips, Krista. I have two others that work for me.

I take a walk. Getting outdoors away from the computer clears my head, and my characters will often start chatting.

I take a shower. Don't ask me why, but the ideas flow for me then.

Casey said...

I go back and read what I've written before too. Actually everyday I have to read at least a few paragraphs to remember where I needed to be going.

But when I actually sit and WRITE something instead of staring at the screen I get a lot more done. That worked great for me this morning too. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

In addition to number 5 being the winner for me I ask my husband and youngest daughter. The conversation usually goes like this..I interrupt WHATEVER they are doing and say, "Sooooo say I have this yacht and pirates on board, I want _____ to can I get from point A to point B?" These non writing, fun loving, spirited family members come up with doosey of ideas! Most need modifying, merging with each other, etc...but they are the springboard to my AHAH moment!

Krista Phillips said...

You are all giving SUCH great suggestions!

Keli, I'm with you on the shower thing. It "cleans" off all the cobwebs of my brain I guess!!!

Faith said...

Great post! It's so easy not to write when you don't feel like you're pumping out gold. Thanks Krista for the ideas :)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Like Mary I love asking my family for suggestions. Chocolate's always good of course.

One thing that helps me is trying to focus on the five senses in the scene. When in doubt I close my eyes and take a 30 second vacation into my scene, then dive back in.

Jennifer K. Hale said...

#2 ALWAYS works for me. But I need large doses. :)