Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Super Secret Insiders Notes on Writing When You're Stuck.

Let me set the stage.

You're writing along, fingers smoking at the keyboard, the Internal Editor on one shoulder is muzzled, and on the other shoulder, Ruthy the Word Count Vixen has been subdued with copious amounts of Mallow Cups.

When suddenly ...you pause.

Thinking. Thinking. Thinking.

Nope that won't work. Nah, not that either.

You blink.

Okay, now you've lost your train of thought.

You aren't sure what do do next, or why. Panic dominoes. What could possibly fix this perilous situation upon which the entire axis of your book rests? Life as you know it is about to end if you don't find a solution fast. You simply cannot be...


Normally you'd have to pinky swear and sign a pledge in blood for access to the information we are about to share. However, there's pretty much nothing we won't do for Seekerville, so today we bring you the insider secrets on what many of your favorite authors and contest divas who hang around Seekerville do when they are stuck. We cannot recommend any method over another and we highly suggest you see your doctor, therapist, agent, editor or at very least your nutritionist before embarking upon any program.

The idea for this post came from curiosity. How, I wondered, do other writers respond to Stuck? Was I normal? The results are in. I'm not.

But here's my Four Step Recovery for Stuck anyhow.

1. Never Underestimate the Power of a Nap.

Naps" sharpen motor skills and boosts sensory processing." They also allow your subconscious mind to work out those plot issues without interference. If you've forgotten how to nap, here's a handy guide.

2. Lifeline or Shout out?

Quick. Who's your plot buster? Who do you have on auto dial for a quick response? Who gets the job done, fast? Finding a plot buster is a must for writers.

3. Brain Food for the Writer Soul.

Foods that stimulate brain activity include: fish, chocolate, berries, and nuts. (More info here). So at your next visit to the library, pull out your mackerel and almonds and snack as you wrestle that GMC issue.

4. Get Away From the Problem.

Sometimes all it takes is reading a Nora Roberts quote, watching your favorite romantic movie to get you outside the problem so you can move forward.

Now for what everyone else had to say about Stuck:

"When I'm stuck I do some more research and hope that will melt my frozen brain. If that doesn't work I just read a novel and hope my subconscious takes over."

Cara Lynn James--Love by the Book, Thomas Nelson, July 2011

"I get off the computer and start working on paper. I brainstorm ideas, re-read my character charts and update my GMC chart. Usually that gets me going."

Missy Tippens -A Family for Faith, Harlequin Love Inspired, April 2011

"If I were to get stuck, which, of course, never happens to me (grin), I would head for The Border. Yup! Taco Bell fuels my creativity. It's amazing the inspiration I can derive from a seven-layer burrito with extra green sauce.

And if Taco Bell fails me? Well, that's easy. I ask my resident plotting partner for help. Gwynly has great ideas and is happy to share them--provided I don't ask for help when he's in the middle of a car repair. Yes, I actually did that once. I didn't get any ideas that day, but I did get a good lesson in malespeak. =)"

Keli Gwyn, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, Barbour Publishing, July 2012.

"When I'm stuck, I read. I have to fight the guilt that I'm doing something pleasurable when I should be writing, but I found that refilling the creative well really helps more than anything else I've tried."

Camy Tang --Romance with a kick of wasabi

"When I'm stuck what I've usually done is gone to far in solving a problem--and drained all the tension out of a story. So I need to back up and see where I was too nice and do LESS, tell less, confess less, pretty things up less, so the story can storm along wreaking havoc. Also, seriously, I'm not kidding. I shoot somebody. I just let lead start flying and figure out why later."

Mary Connealy--2011 RITA Award Finalist--Romantic Comedy with Cowboys

"Sometimes, just opening up an email and explaining the problem to someone clarifies things. It forces me to be concise and straightforward. Otherwise, Ruthy gets confused. None of that plotstorming stuff for Ruthy. She's a one, two three kinda gal. More than once I've started an email to the Seekers explaining a snarl I have in my plot, and by the time I'm done, (before I even send the email) I've figured out where to go next!"

Pam Hillman, Stealing Jake, Tyndale House, July 2011

"When I'm stuck I clean. Cleaning is so ALIEN to me, that it frees up my creative juices. I can plot while scrubbing sinks. Toilets. Tubs. Folding clothes. And I keep country music on or contemporary Christian music on. That jars my thoughts into new directions and I truly believe the Holy Spirit gob-smacks me into putting thoughts together and coming up with an "AHA" moment. Oh, that God!"

Ruth Logan Herne--Enduring, endearing... Fiction that embraces the heart.

"If I’m stuck because I’m not quite sure if the next thing that happens should be shown in a full-blown scene, or just summarized, I will start to summarize it, like, “Abigail was angry and left the party to go back home. She sat in next to the abominable Mr. Turtletaub in the carriage as he prattled on about the party.” Usually by this time I realize it should be a scene and should not be summarized, and I realize HOW I need to convey Abigail’s anger and what Mr. Turtletaub should be saying and voila! I will be unstuck. I can go back and cut the summarizing and write the scene.

And sometimes it helps to listen to music, like Andrea Bocelli, which is in Italian and very romantic but doesn’t distract me because I can’t understand a word he’s saying."

Melanie Dickerson
Coming in November, The Merchant’s Daughter, from Zondervan.

"I don't have time to get stuck ;-)
Well, I try different things:
Take a break from the ms and go to another one
Turn on some music that 'fits' my story and work through a few 'what ifs' in my head
Eat chocolate and remind myself WHY I'm not published: because I can't even finish this stinking story!

Pray - and remind myself that God gave me this calling, and it wasn't because He wished to torture me.:-) He MUST have a plan."

Pepper D. Basham--2011 Double Genesis Finalist--“Stories peppered with grace and a dash of humor.”

"Most of the time when I get stuck, it's because I haven't let the story marinate long enough. I take awhile, sometimes only an hour, sometimes a day, to figure out just where the story is supposed to be going. I read through the notes I made before I started writing the story and try to figure out if I've gotten off track or if my characters are doing something contrary to their natures. Usually, this is sufficient to get me unstuck. If I'm still floundering, I make one of my family members sit down and listen as I tell them the story. Often, this jogs loose the sticky point, revealing where I've gone wrong, and I'm able to get back to writing."

Erica Vetsch -- Stories that Testify to Love

"When I get stuck, it’s usually because the scene needs more conflict. So, I ask myself, what’s the worst possible thing that could happen to my heroine right now? I’m talking shipwrecks, deadly illnesses, devastating secrets—anything to stir things up. I pick the most gut-wrenching obstacle I can think of and make it happen. Mwah-ha-ha. With enough juicy conflict, the scene practically writes itself."

Anne Barton--2011 Double Golden Heart Finalist

"Here's what I do when my cursor keeps blinking at me and my fingers don't move to its beat:

Eat Chocolate - to stimulate brain cells
Pace or Walk - get those endorphins flowing
Take a Pretend Nap - to think, not actually sleep
Eat Chocolate - for the health benefits of course
Do Other Work - so when the block is gone, I have the time to write to my heart's content
Sleep - for real this time, because problems sometimes do solve themselves
Eat Chocolate - do you see a pattern here
Talk it over with Someone - or just vent to them
Reread any Notes - to spark forgotten ideas
Eat Chocolate - now to celebrate getting over being Stuck!"

Eva Maria Hamilton--Highland Hearts, March 2012, Harlequin Love Inspired Historical.

"Ooooh - I have a whole workshop based on this idea! It's called Blasting Through Blah.

If I'm stuck it usually means I've screwed up earlier, so sometimes it means taking a step back and doing something mindless - mowing the grass, ironing, etc. because often the answer comes when I'm not thinking about it. If the scene is feeling flat and I don't know why, sometimes I'll change the dialogue tags/attribution - so that she says what he's saying and vice versa. It can be quite comical, but also illuminating!

Truly though - the only sure thing is to write through it. It's okay to write crap. Sometimes (a lot of times!) I find I have to write ahead to figure out what is wrong. Hindsight really does work, even if it's maddening!"

Donna Alward--A Family For the Rugged Rancher, Harlequin Romance, July 2011

Finally, I did have input from authors who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

" I eat miniature marshmallows from the bag when I am stuck. Generally I like to toss them in the air and see how many I can catch using only my mouth. It distracts me for a bit and the sugar rush help me think. It's a well documented medical fact that sugar and caffeine open the blood vessels thus allowing rich oxygenated blood to circulate. Of course if the marshmallows fail I move directly to espresso shots. "

"I am certainly not advocating this, but when I am stuck I withdraw from the world with a large thin crust vegetarian pizza, a six pack of diet Dr. Pepper and a bag of Red Vines to reread my favorite keeper romances. Sometimes you just need a little Mr. Darcy to put everything in order."

We hope you found these insider secrets helpful, but remember, what happens (and is said) in Seekerville, stays in Seekerville.Your turn. Tell us what you do when you're Stuck. I have another Seeker author book package to giveaway! You're all winners for sharing, but the book package winner will be announced in the Weekend Edition.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

LOL! I loved the marshmallow idea! I'm TOTALLY doing that next time in my stuckage.

When I'm stuck...I call Camy! She can attest to this. LOLOL! She's an awesome plotter and knows story structure better than anyone I know.

Great post, Tina! Lots of great ideas everyone!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I think we are all going go directly to the store to buy mini marshmallows after reading this.

Jan Drexler said...

No Tina, it's chocolate. Hmmm, do they make chocolate mini marshmallows?

Walt Mussell said...

Just what I needed at 12:30... references to chocolate.

I'm an oddball in this area. I use Sudoku (because chocolate never lasts long in this house).


Michelle Stark Kurns said...

I find when I get stuck, it seems to work well if I walk away for a little while and then go back and review. Naps, walks outside, gardening, housework, reading, anything that doesn't take too much brain power works great. I love the ideas of others, I might need to try them next time (hopefully it won't be too soon that it will be needed:)

Hilleary Peterson said...

I think this is great for when you are stuck or just generally in a rut for day to day things as well. When you get stuck, you can get stuck...at anything.

Helen Gray said...

All that chocolate and mallow cups must have coffee to wash them down. Right? So here's a huge pot.

Yep, some good ideas here.

When I'm stuck I often bang on the piano or curl up and read.

Sometimes I throw up my hands and say "I quit." But it never lasts more than a couple days or so. Then I'm right back to the word mill.


Keli Gwyn said...

Ruthy cleans to get unstuck? Wow! I'd have to be pretty desperate to do that. If you get really stuck, Ruthy dearest, and run out of things to clean, I've got some dust bunnies you could wrestle. =)

Suzie Johnson said...

I'm all for the diet Dr. Pepper, Red Vines, and the re-reading of "keepers." I usually get a Starbucks unsweetened iced venti black teaa, some mini birthday cake doughnuts, and a bag of oreos, and head to the beach. It works almost everytime. :-)

Janet Kerr said...

I find that putting a 10 minute timer on helps me to get un-stuck.

Thank you for all the ideas!

Research Paper said...

Good blog post excellent memory. It was very interesting.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Loved this post! I am with Eva on the chocolate.

I also go out in my garden to weed and water awhile. I find I have to get away from words to get them flowing again but have to do something with my hands that is productive.

The hardest part is just walking away from the computer rather than just sitting there and banging the keys in frustration.

Thanks again for all the wonderful tips.

Peace, Julie

Lindi said...

Love the pizza eating person--that would be me--also with a little of Eva's chocolate thrown in!

When I'm stuck I usually keep typing. Usually it will lead to something-even if I have to delete some stuff.
My husband would probably appreciate it if I tried cleaning.

Oh--i forgot--in the winter, when it's really cold, I take a hot bath. (With a great book of course!)
Yeah--that's what I do!

Lindi P.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Wow, Suzie, that whole -head to the beach sounds very alluring. I'm too inland however.

Yeah, I have to hide chocolate in my house as well.

Kav said...

Why am I not surprised that Mary Connealy shoots somebody when she's got writer's block? Glad I don't live in her neighbourhood!

This was very entertaining and informative and I took a cyberspace pinky swear oath before reading if that makes you feel better! :-)

Still not sure what Mallow Cups are but I'm willing to give them a try since I believe they involve chocolate. Copious amounts of chocolate and naps, that's what I'm taking away from today's post.

What do I do when I'm stuck? Go to bed. See, I'm a morning person and I never get stuck in the a.m. but since I work all day I pretty much have to write in the evening and that means I get stuck all the time. But a surefire cure is a good night's sleep.

If I'm lucky, I'll dream up a solution to my stuckedness which will wake me up in the middle of the night and I know that I should write every little detail down but I just want to go back to sleep and besides, the idea is so sparkling clear and perfect how could I possible forget it in the light of day?

Alas, when the alarm sounds (being the impatient snorts of a wakeful sheltie) I stagger out the door at 5:00 a.m. to walk the dog. I spend the first half of the walk in a slumberous stupor trying to recall the details of my 'vision' but the inspiration usually vanishes completely upon the first squirrel sighting of the day.

As you can see I haven't perfected my unstuckedness. Perhaps mallow cups will help.

Pepper said...

Does anyone else see a food theme throughout this?
Maybe that's where the phrase 'food for thought' came from ;-)

Cathy Shouse said...

I haven't overcome all writer's block, by any means, but this helps me.

Whether I'm stuck writing nonfiction or fiction, I use advice I read in a writing magazine years ago. It was really about query letters and said they should be like telling a story to your friends if you met them in a bar for drinks or at a cocktail party. You would tell the story briefly and in an entertaining way, with only the best highlights of it.

I've shortened that and think about telling my best friend the story. What would I start with? What do I think is the most interesting thing I could tell her?

I'm usually stuck because I'm writing something that is boring me and would also bore the reader.

I also will try to make the story-telling very personal by imagining I'm telling it to someone who has complimented my writing. Sometimes I will even start with "Dear Beth," so I can let it flow more like a letter and not work so hard on it. I guess I try to focus on communicating to an audience.

Not sure if this helps anyone....

Would love to win books!


Kirsten Arnold said...

When I'm stuck I keep grinding it out. Even if I have to delete or rewrite many pages. By the time I've twisted and gnashed through a scene or two I'm back on track and sometimes find what I struggled through works.

If the characters absolutely refuse to cooperate despite threats of severe torture; I share the whole sorted tale with a writer friend and she tosses back some ideas.

Next time I'm going for the mini marshmallows!


Janet Dean said...

Fun post, Tina! Great to see all the ways writers cope. Chocolate seems to head the list. :-)

When I'm stuck I start at the beginning and read my book. Or as far back as necessary to get into the story again. If that fails, I chat with my cps and talk with my d/h. Just talking about the story can help sometimes.

Now I have some new ideas. I won't try to catch marshmallows with my mouth. I'd end up choking to death. That would of course put an end to being stuck. LOL


Pepper said...

I can relate to the cleaning thing - but I don't have to be stuck to plot while cleaning. Cleaning has to happen so it's just a convenient moment to let my mind wander during my mindless scrubbing.
Driving is a great time too - when I"m not having to battle the forces of sibling rivalry :-)

Julie Lessman said...

Ooooo ... MUCH-NEEDED topic, Teenster!!

#1 plot buster for me is the treadmill with worship music ...

And I'm with Camster ... I read.

Then I'm with Keli Gwynn too ... I read the scene to my hubby and ask for his input because after living with me as an author for 3-1/2 years ... the guy really has an eye for what's wrong with something I write. Of course, I always smack him if he gets too critical, but then that works too, 'cause nothing like a great fight scene to get the blood going ... :)


Patsy said...

I'm not a writer, but it's funny to read what the authors do when they get "stuck". Some eat a lot of chocolate!!! haha And Ruthy, if I were a writer I'd probably have the cleanest house of all - all that cleaning to get "unstuck"!

Tina Radcliffe said...

It has now occurred to me that we could turn this into a profitable venture.

Instead of Merry Maids, we could be Plotbusters. We clean your house and bust your plots. We could make a fortune in the writing community.

Mallow Cups, dear are like peanut butter cups with marshmallow instead. And I recently saw Dark Chocolate ones.

Sandy Ardoin said...

Have you noticed how many writers eat when we're stuck? (Okay, guilty of the marshmallow thing. Not tossing. Stuffing.)

It does help to stop and do something else to take your attention from the problem. Amazing how answers then pop into your head.

I also love that small window of time between getting in bed and falling asleep. Ideas, dialogue...it all rolls through my mind. Unfortunately, I'm too lazy to get up and write them down.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Exactly, Sandy. Wish is why naps work. Not long enough to totally forget that brilliant plot buster that came to you when you were dozing.

There are people who shall remain nameless who think I am actually napping. Au Contrair. I am plot busting.

Pam Hillman said...

All great ideas, except for the cleaning and MOWING THE YARD.

You've got to be kidding?!?!

Next time I'll go for the nap, followed up by cappucino with marshmallows in it.

Surely that'll do the trick!

Jan Drexler said...

When I get stuck I get up and away from the computer - change a load of laundry, walk around the house, refill my water glass...I think Ruthy's cleaning idea is a good one. Anything that gives me a fresh mind when I come back to the writing.

And chocolate, of course. I limit myself to seven chocolate chips at a time (Ghiradelli 60%, of course!)

And Vince, I'll be thinking of you today. I get to go to the doctor to have my cataracts looked at this morning. Dilation city, here I come!

Susan Hollaway said...

I enjoyed this post! Lots of fun and interesting ideas to get moving again. Thanks!

Rose said...

When I'm stuck I usually listen to music.

Rose said...

Also love reading books.

Rose said...

When I'm stuck I draw, paint, or sketch.

Rose said...

Also I ride my horse it clears my head and allows me to think and not just be stuck on one thing.

KC Frantzen said...

ok... What are Red Vines?!

Chocolate - check
Walks - check
Shoot somebody - uhmmm - yeah... yeah... that could work
Clean - uh NO!!!!!!
Nap - oh yeah.

This was great y'all. Will employ today, no doubt!

Jan - thinking of you during your eye event!

Have a splendid Tuesday!!!

*lizzie starr said...

Great ideas for unsticking. Chocolate is often a constant companion, so it doesn't really help for getting unstuck.

Depending on the stuck--lots of times I'll focus on another WIP. I don't switch back and forth as much as I used to, but sometimes it's just the ticket. As is writing in another form--by hand, on the netbook instead of the desktop, with my alphasmart. Each method seems to click somewhere else in my brain. And getting away from the desk is positive as well.

I read or watch movies--and talk back to them. :) There's that little editor in me that just won't let go.

And sometimes I'll just go find a new recipe or crafty project.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Dear Horsey Rose,

You must tell us more about yourself.

Curious. Curious.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Red Vines? They are red licorice. Like Twizzlers but better.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Praying for a success appt. today, Jan.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Lizzie, you are so darn cute!! Is that your pix?

And I agree, sometimes switching projects is just the ticket.

Isaac Asimov was a huge proponent of this technique, working on multiple projects at the same time. He was hugely prolific.

Rose said...

Hi Lizzie! Loved your ideas for when you get stuck. Tina what more did you want to know?

Rose said...

Love chocolate but I can't eat too much!!! LOL

Jan Drexler said...

It's that twelve year old girl lurking inside me that says "Rose! You have a horse! I've always wanted one!"

Okay, now that's out of my system.

Thanks for the prayers. I'm off to the eye doctor!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Rose, are you a writer? What do you write? How did you find Seekerville.

Deeelighted to have another Rose among us!

Rose said...

Thanks I love horses and when I was younger I had always begged my mom to let me have one. Now I have five!!! Haha.

Rose said...

I am not a writer but I love reading books. I found Seekerville through the Love Inspired website, and I love it!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Wow, you and KC will have to chat. Another horsey fan.

Well thrilled to have you in Seekerville. Pull up a hammock and relax.

Sherri Shackelford said...

Awesome post! Thank you :)

Pam Hillman said...

Welcome Rose!

What fun today...


I'm stuck.

Helen, pass the coffee and marshmallows!

Oh, and I ordered pizza buffet for lunch.

Seems fitting...

Rose said...

Hey thanks!!

Rose said...

Pam that sounds delicious.

Jackie S. said...

Fun post, Tina! Love hearing how you great writers cope! I'm just a reader, but love the NAP idea! lol

Melanie Dickerson said...

Eva Maria, I loved your list!!!

Tina, I gotta get me one of those plot busters. Does anyone want to volunteer for the job? Anyone???

You guys made me laugh, and that is the best medicine.

Thanks for all the fun fellowship!!! Seekerville is THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rose said...

Me too. I'm too busy to take a nap. I'd love to take one. LOL

Joanne Sher said...

GREAT post! So many wonderful ideas. I generally "go do something else." ANYthing.

Sometime, though, just a "change of medium" does it - write on paper is a big change that often helps!

Please enter me :)

Rose said...

Yep I love Seekerville!!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Ooooo, chocolate covered mini marshmallows! We'd make a fortune if we could mass produce those.

Rose said...

Love anything chocolate.

Sandy Ardoin said...

Ugh! So green to know you own five horses, Rose.

I lost mine twenty years ago (after 18 years together)...but I gained a daughter so I can't complain.

Now, time to get back to employing that idea I had at bedtime last night.

Rose said...

Yep have five horses but my first horse died a few years ago. I had bonded with her and it was tragic when she passed away.

Nancy Kimball said...

I relate to Pepper... this is why the story isn't finished! hehe.

And LOL at Walt. Chocolate doesn't last long at my house either. But I live alone, so....

Welcome Rose! I have two horses too, they're my "big dogs" hehe.

When I get stuck, I take the characters and put them in ridiculous situations and start writing it for fun. Like my Roman Gladiator and the Doctor stealing a car or my spunky heroine who takes on Caesar has so far been on a hijacked airplane and championed women's suffrage with Elizabeth Caddy Stanton.

That usually works to shake the right brain up and open the floodgates back in the right story.
So far it hasn't failed but it's nice to know I can come back to this post if it does!

Please enter me for the drawing.

Rose said...

Nice cool that when you are stuck you put your characters in ridiculous situations.

Anonymous said...

hi everyone! no luck finding Janet's book darn it but i'm still looking! I know it was beside the bed but it may have gotten as far as the car since I was close to reading it and probably had it in the car-stack-to-read-at-work- during-slow-times! (yes I have different tbr piles!) the love inspired line is good for work - sometimes! some are getting more complicated - I read Debby's book not too long ago and was Soooo sleepy on night shift I thought I was gonna have to start taking notes to keep all the suspects straight! (I'm still not sure I remember who's alive at the end!I do remember enjoying the book though! And some are too sad(Winter's End) so I gotta start screening which of these I take with me now - doesn't look too innocent to be bawling at the computer and not have a reasonable explanation that's work related,

anyhoo ya'll should try alternating the marshmallows with m&m's when you get stuck.


Vince said...

Hi Tina:

I’m into affirmations.

I don’t get stuck. There are just times that I have to wait for story to catch up to me. Sometimes I’m just too fast for my muse.


Vince said...

Hi Tina:

I’m into affirmations.

I don’t get stuck. There are just times that I have to wait for story to catch up to me. Sometimes I’m just too fast for my muse.


Vince said...

Hi Jan:

If they give you three different eye drops, you’ll probably be dilated for eight hours! I hope it works out for you. Worse than having cataracts is having swelling that makes it too risky to operate. I’d be thinking of you.


DebH said...

when i get stuck, i turn my attention to another story idea and work on that a little bit. basically, i keep writing, just not necessarily on the current WIP at the time.

i'm also an artist and try to apply what the great animator Chuck Jones spoke about drawing (and drawing well): "everyone has good drawings inside them, they may just have to draw a slew of bad ones until they get to the good ones."

in this case: everyone has the right words in them - you may have to write through a bunch of bad words to get to them...

other than that, i go play with my toddler son for a bit. his simple world view sort of helps get me back to a balance.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Oooh marshmallows and M&M's...there's a rush.

Deb H,love your playing with your toddler plan.

Pepper said...

I think Eva Marie is now one of my new BFF.
Three reasons:
She's sweet.
Her answer was longer than mine.

How's that for verbose, Tina (wink)

Rose said...

Nice DebH love your advice. Especially about the drawing.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

In honor of this post today I brought chocolate for everyone, whether stuck or celebrating not being stuck :)

Debra E. Marvin said...

Sometimes you just need a little Mr. Darcy to put things in order.


Rose said...

Thanks Eva and I totally agree with you Debra.

Larissa Hoffman said...

I really like naps and eating, so it works for me! Actually I practice the zen of housework when I'm stuck. For some reason I can concentrate on anything but the vacuum, dishes, or weeding & that's when I get my ideas.:-)

Melissa Jagears said...

Since joining the writing community, I've been trying the snacks thing. All it has done is given me a caffeine headache when I don't use chocolate every night. OK, so I wasn't stuck every night, but I got into the chocolate habit every night. I'm getting rid of the chocolate now. :(

Doing the mindless things works. But ESPECIALLY the shower or going to bed at night intending to sleep. Something about my mind decides to fix things when paper/computer is unavailable or when I don't intend to get back up. Bought a digital recorder so I no longer have to trudge back downstairs and turn on the computer or find paper to make a note.

And boy do I sound stupid talking notes into the recorder, but I don't lose the thought.

Faye said...

When I'm stuck I work on my other writing project, which is a far cry from serious. I lose myself in the craziness of exploding apple pies and other random things that I throw in because I'm bored. If that doesn't work I read my Bible, my favorite book, the new book that I just got in the mail - anything! Then if that doesn't work I do something totally different like, bake or sew.
Great post Tina! loved the advice!

Please enter me
crazi.swans at gmail.com

Rose said...

Cool love baking!

Rose said...

Lol Anonymous. That is totally me. I read so late and then later I probably don't remember half of what happened.

I'd love to win the giveaway.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Okay exploding apple pies to get unstuck is a first.

Tina Radcliffe said...

There are far too many of you cleaning.

This must stop immediately.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Vince, actually gave the perfect answer. We have to wait for the story to catch up with us!! Love it. And he is right!

Jan Drexler said...

Vince - thanks for the thoughts! My dilation only lasted about 6 hours (yes, 3 different drops), but vision is still a little fuzzy. Doc says I'm a good candidate for surgery, so I'm scheduled for late July and then two weeks later. From your comment it sounds like you won't be having surgery?

While I was out I picked up Sonic happy hour drinks for everyone - Route 44 Diet Coke for me. Green Apple Slush, anyone?

Pam Hillman said...

120 pages into my final pass through Stealing Jake before it's ready for publication.

Tyndale editors are the greatest!

Tamara LeBlanc said...

I'm big on naps, eating nuts(shelling peanuts is a mindless task that encourages thought) and getting up from the chair and moving around a little.
Eva Marie Hamilton's step, " take a fake nap" is usually the way my daylight dreaming goes though. I try to sleep, get that brain some needed rest, but my head won't cooperate. The stuckness stalling my story is all I think about. But lying down and relaxing sometimes does the trick.
Great post!!!
Have a nice evening,

Pam Hillman said...

Hey, did y'all leave me any pizza?

No? Sigh

Well, I threw some stuff in the oven several hours ago.

Roast, potatoes, and onions.

It'll have to do if the pizza is gone.

Pam Hillman said...


we have 5 too, I think.

One's a pretty little half palomino stud that's never been broken. His mama died when he was a few months old and we've just never broke him to ride.

One belongs to my nephew and is semi-broke.

The other three we ride...or they ride. I'm too busy these days and too out of shape to ride!

One of these days I'll get back in the saddle though.

I keep telling myself that! lol

Pam Hillman said...

Vince said: I don’t get stuck. There are just times that I have to wait for story to catch up to me. Sometimes I’m just too fast for my muse.

lol - that is PERFECT, Vince. That's going to be my mantra from now on.


Pam Hillman said...

Tina, I can assure you I am not one of the one's cleaning.

My family assures you too...

Tina Radcliffe said...

Thanks, Tamera!! Welcome to Seekerville

Tina Radcliffe said...

All these horse folks. Pam, I had no idea. I could use you all for research.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Thanks Jan!! I like the Sonic Diet Cherry Limeaide. Happy Hour!!!!

Cheryl St.John said...

Tina: Who ya gonna call?

Rose said...

My horse I got him when he was a foal and I have broken him in and he is doing fantastic. All the other four horses are at experienced.

Rose said...

Would love to help out Tina whenever you need it!!

Rose said...

Haha Happy Hour great idea!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

So nobody volunteered to be my plot buster? Sad.

But I took your advice, all those who said take a nap, and then I wrote 700 words in about 30 minutes! Woohoo! This stuff really works!

Jackie said...

I'm still trying to figure out so much, if I get stuck I research information for my story, or how to write a query, or make a blog. These things terrify me, so then I'm charged up to write and worry about the other stuff later.
However, chocolate and a nap sound pretty good!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Well ACTUALLY MZ St. John, I call my sister or Madame S.

Both are plot buster!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Wow, Melly! Impressive.

Jillian said...

I love all of these ideas! I have to admit, I resort to cleaning...the hard scrubbing kind of cleaning. Now I'm suffering from tendinitis. Maybe I should resort to the Mallow Cups. :)

Jillian said...

I love all of these ideas! I have to admit, I resort to cleaning...the hard scrubbing kind of cleaning. Now I'm suffering from tendinitis. Maybe I should resort to the Mallow Cups. :)

Cindy W. said...

I grab my MP3 player, put on my walking shoes and start walking. Or if the weather is nasty I turn on some music (Country works best for me)and start dancing. Things then begin to flow...works everytime (at least so far). :)

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Kayleen said...

I do the mini marshmallow thing too when I'm stuck! So glad to know there are others of us out there! They are great b/c they're not sticky or crumbly so they can't fall inside my keyboard. Usually I only need a handful and then my craving is satiated.

Martha Ramirez said...

Fabulous post!!

Jamie said...

When I'm stuck I take a pretend nap (thank you Eva Marie for giving it a name - now I know what to tell my husband next time he says "what are you doing?")

I get comfy, close my eyes and visualize my characters. Once I had a long talk with my hero, I wanted to understand him better. Instead of revealing himself he gave me the idea for my favorite scene. All centered on the heroine.

That scene is part of my ms that is sitting on an editors desk right now... thanks to Tina's encouragement. (the waiting is so hard)

Missy Tippens said...

How fun, Tina!! I'm sorry I missed the post the other day. I'm trying to catch up!

Love the photos!! LOL