Friday, March 20, 2015

How to Get Unstuck

Speedbo is at day 20.

Sometimes we hit the wall, that place where we either get stuck or become unsure of what the next step is. I've asked some of our friends of Seekerville to share what they do when they get stuck. We have 11 days left, so plan getting unstuck and pushing through to THE END!

"When I am stuck, brainstorming with other writers always helps get me unstuck! "
 --Sherri Shackelford

I watch fan vids on youtube. I don't even know most of these couples since I don't really watch TV. But there are tons of music videos with TV couples on their journey. I have friends who ship Castle and Beckett, Mulder and Scully, Oliver and Felicity, Killian and Emma, Donna and Harvey (who apparently had a VERY big 'I love you' moment in the finale). There's something about the power of music, with a relationship in fast-forward that reminds me of what I need to include in my hero's story: trust, kindness, danger, loyalty, honor, black moments, yearning and sweet confessions of love.

 For a few examples of videos I think are fun, links below!

Matthew and Mary from Downtown Abbey and my favorite, Oliver and Felicity.

 So, if you ever need a brain break in the wee small hours, check out a fan vid or two. The music and the emotions can surely get that muse back on track.
--Virginia Munoz aka Mary Jane Hathaway

When I'm stuck, I fall back on a trick I learned many years ago at a First Saturday writing class held by Romantic Times.  Roy Sorrell shared his tip that when he was stuck, he would go sit in a cafe with his legal pad (the days before iPads, tablets or even laptops) and at the top in HUGE letters he would write - I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WRITE. I don't know what happens in this scene. I don't...Maybe I could..  

Whatever words you choose. It has never failed me yet because once the pen starts moving (or the fingers start hitting the keys) something triggers in the brain and ideas begin to flow.
--Mary Curry

When I'm stuck, I pull out my favorite old craft book and scan back through the key elements of story, plugging in MY story as I go. Almost always, I'll see some crucial element that has gotten left by the wayside. --Linda Goodnight

When I am stuck in my writing I make myself write something – anything. Usually, even if it’s just a simple sentence like, Jack ran. It gets my brain going. Why is he running, where is he running? What is he running from? Then I’m off and the words begin to come again. Sometimes I’m too easily stuck because I focus on the thousands of words I need, when just a few at a time will get me there.--Tammy Johnson

When I am stuck it's usually because I'm writing a very complex scene, an important scene that HAS to be done right. I can feel myself procrastinating when I should be going forward.  I have learned to FORCE myself to write it, no matter how badly it's done, it's still DONE. And then I can go back and fix it. I call it, "Getting Down Off The Mountain" based on a lesson I learned writing Petticoat Ranch. --Mary Connealy

When I get stuck on my ms, I know it is because I have resolved a conflict too soon, or the conflict I set up wasn't strong enough to carry the story forward. My solution is to go back to the last place I was excited about the story, the last place that my interest was gripped and I knew where I was going, and see where I let my characters off the hook or ducked conflict, then ramp things up, be hard on my character and get the story back on track.--Erica Vetsch

  When I'm stuck, I go back to my plotting notebook and read back over my characters' goals, motivations and conflicts. I also look back over my notes on my characters' wounds and the lies they tell themselves. This usually reminds me of the direction I had planned to go.
 --Missy Tippens

When I'm stuck on a plot point I do one of two things. I either take a walk preferably outside (that's not always possible in the area I live in!) or work on a hobby (this doesn't include reading). Both activities free up my conscious mind and let my sub-conscious go to work. Within an hour I usually have the solution to my stories problem! --Rose Ross Zediker
When I am stuck, I call up a friend and brainstorm over the phone about the story or in person. When I start talking about my story with someone, it often sparks an idea that gets me through my writer's block. --Margaret Daley

When I'm stuck on what to write next or how to fix a plot problem, I take a shower. This is an activity that I have done so many times, my mind is on auto-pilot, YET my brain is still constantly engaged with the activity. Somehow having my brain mindlessly working on something monotonous frees my plot bunnies. Other such activities are lawn mowing, hand-washing dishes, and driving. Plus, I'm stuck there for awhile which means I don't latch onto the first answer to my problem. I'm forced to ruminate on the what ifs for the duration of the activity and usually end up with a better idea than the first one that plopped in my head. --Melissa Jagears

When I'm stuck I jump to another project and immerse myself in someone else's story, and I find having a novella going on the side is perfect for this. That effectively cleans/clears my brain so when I go back to the S.T.U.C.K. spot, I re-read the last few pages, and then see where my trail should blaze/turn or bend! This has a two-fold effect: It gives me more words on a novella or proposal... And allows me time away from my WIP to refresh my brain. And usually, I realize then that I was drifting from the emotion of the scene, rather than letting the emotion guide the scene. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and this just shows that scientific theory can be applied to romance writing. It's all mathematical! --Ruth Logan Herne

When I'm stuck, I walk away and do something else. Letting my brain focus on a different task (laundry, dishes, gardening) frees it up to wander around until it finds a solution to the problem.--Mia Ross

My tip is for historical writers. Whenever I get stuck, I make sure to review my secondary research that covers whatever historical event/time period I'm writing about. Then I review old newspapers, census records, interviews as well. By that point, I usually discover a voice or historical tidbit to free me from my stuck place and I can go on. --Piper Huguley

 I take a walk when I get stuck. The physical action of walking keeps the “busy” part of my brain occupied enough so that the creative part of my brain has freedom to fly.  
--Sandra Leesmith
 When I am stuck on showing emotion, describing a character, a facial expression or a scene, I pull up pictures of the characters, the setting, or some aspect of the story I’m working on. Sometimes just looking at the pictures jump-starts my creativity. Here’s my Pinterest board for Meeting in the Middle, my novella With this Kiss Historical Collection.--Pam Hillman

When I'm stuck I pull out the old-fashion pen and paper and free write. 

--Christina Rich

When I am stuck I take out my iPad or laptop and move to another part of the house and free write anything about the story with no rules or editing. Even if it's "I'm sick of these people and they're driving me nuts. Why can't they just...." and then sometimes things come to me. --Carolyne Aarsen

Okay, I admit it. I take a nap when I'm stuck. Sometimes I write a chapter, take a thirty minute nap and then write another chapter. I wrote seven thousand words last weekend doing this. It gives my brain a chance to come up with an idea without the constant mental pressure of my fingers hovering over the keyboard demanding productivity. --Tina Radcliffe

When I'm stuck I read what I've written to that point, which reminds me of the characters' goals, the conflict between the hero and heroine and their weaknesses and strengths. Usually that jump-starts my imagination and I can decide what needs to happen next. Plus reading what I've written boosts my morale, as I'm reminded that if I can write that much of the story, I can make it to the end. --Janet Dean

When I'm stuck, I go on a walk. Stepping away from the story can help generate ideas. My mind takes off running while my body is getting a gentle workout.
 --Keli Gwyn

When I get stuck, I go back to the drawing board, which means I need to brainstorm. Sometimes hubby helps, especially if the problem isn't too extensive. By discussing the story with him, I often see what needs to be fixed. A major roadblock, however, requires lunch at Panera's with my trusty critique partner and Heartwarming author, Anna Adams. I lay out the story as I see it, and then we “what-if” it into shape. That back and forth, as we each throw out ideas, helps me identify the problem and come up with a solution.--Debby Giusti

 While a synopsis is required to receive a contract with Love Inspired Books, I nevertheless find that in the actual writing of the manuscript I sometimes come to a screeching halt.  How do I flesh out that one directional line I’d written in the synopsis into a scene with full-blown goal, motivation, conflict?  When that happens, I find that I’ve likely taken a wrong turn somewhere, probably in the chapter before the point where I stalled out.  So I print out a previous chapter or two and read through them to see if I can spot the snag—then when I’ve identified it, I brainstorm ideas for alternative options that will get the story rolling again. --Glynna Kaye

It's not surprising that several authors said similar things. These methods must work! So writers...what works for you. What doesn't? Which of these ideas sound promising?

If you are one of the 136 Speedbo writers, you have until tonight at midnight to leave a comment to let us know you want a critique. You are automatically entered in the draw for a $25 Amazon gift card if you are a Speedbo writer and you commented between last Sunday and today. A box of books is up for grabs for cheerleaders~!

And because it's Friday, I've got two extra special giveaways for two writers who say they want them! You do not have to be signed up for Speedbo to win these books.

In print


The entire series in one print book.

See you at the finish line!


  1. When I'm stuck, I sleep on it. It's amazing how many times I have gone to bed now knowing how to finish a scene--and had the answer come to me lying there in the dark with my eyes closed.

    Coffee's brewing.

  2. I needed this today. I am still writing, but I haven't even had the opportunity to check in, because life is really, really getting deep. My mother called me this week to let me know that my Nana is nearing the end. She's 95. I know my Nana would be happy to see me keep going so I am, but wow, it is hard right now. I'm at 29300 I feel like I lost some momentum, but I am still sticking to my goal so not too shabby.
    Thank you for the pointers today. I will be taking it all to hard.
    PS I would love to be included in the draw for Rock Your Writing. I keep hearing EVERYONE talk about it. :)

    Blessings to all of you. Cheering you all on.

  3. TINA, I have an app (a nap) for that...glad you do too!i finished my big project of the winter....crocheted a mat for homeless vets..out of plain. That's just yarn made out of plastic shopping bags. Guess that's about 600 bags less to go into the landfill!

  4. This post was great inspiration. Next time I get stuck I'm going to try one. Or two. Or all. I am thrilled to say I passed my speedbo goal! (Thank goodness for Spring break). I would love to be included in the drawing for the critique and the books.
    Thank you!

  5. Thank you for the tips on how to get 'unstuck'. They all will come in handy. Please enter me for the book draws.

  6. Yep, besides the shower, talking it out with husband or crit partner like others said works.

  7. Even as a reader I find I can solve a lot of things by going for a long, relaxing walk.

  8. Great post! When I get stuck I usually try to watch a rerun of Castle, NCIS or Blue Bloods and that gets me anxious to see what comes next in the show and usually I can then go back, sit my characters down and help them propel their story forward.

    I would love to be entered to win either of the writer books.

    Happy Speedboing everyone!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  9. I like Cindy W.'s methods!!!!

    #loveNCIS #loveCastle #loveBluebloods

    1. Well, Zi font watch any of those shows anymore, Cindy and Ruthy, but I do keep DVDs in my office so I can watch favorite movies when I need to get in an emotion.

  10. I also think Helen and Tina have stumbled onto a very wise thing: brain relaxation. The nap or sleep helps our brain to sort through the clutter and see things more clearly.

    I've often woken up to a much clearer perspective on a problem in a story.

    The other thing (I already talked too much on the front page, sorry!!!) is the Bible. Sometimes I turn to the Psalms because the advice there is so often applicable to my characters and/or the plot. The Psalms guide me often, in short works and longer works.

  11. Le Anne, congratulations!!!

    That rocks, kid!!!!! Happy dancing for you!

  12. When I'm stuck, I leave the house and talk my daughter aka my golden retriever for a walk. We live in the historical district with sprawling Victorian style homes. Observing the homes helps me imagine again. Keep going, everyone. Just think in 11 days, we can say we wrote . . . Whatever your goal was. Good luck!

  13. Thanks to all of you who shared your tips on unsticking the brain! :-)

    I was happy to see that some of the ways I use to get my momentum going after a slowdown, are the same as some of you use.

    Many years ago an art instructor told me to take frequent breaks from my painting and focus on something entirely different for a short time, do something physical, it works.
    Writing and painting have many parallels.

    Word count for yesterday: 2,161
    Total count so far: 22,725

  14. Great post today! Love all the advice. Melissa's suggestion to take a shower is spot on! Ideas just come to you in the shower. LOL! Sometimes when I get stuck I realize my characters need to be somewhere else or the POV needs to switch. Then it just takes off.

  15. Oh, Kelly Blackwell. God Bless you and your Nana. She's had a wonderful life!

  16. I', so sorry, Kelly. I'll be keeping you and your Nana in my prayers.

    Congrats, Leanne. You rocked Speedbo!

    I'm with Melissa about the showers too, except then I get these great snippets of dialogue or text and I have no way to write them down before I forget them.

    Actually anything with running water works. Even doing the dishes. The very first hint of an idea for my Killer Voices book came to me while I was washing dishes because I could hear people at a party in someone's back yard. That scene is now gone from the book (new opening) but it triggered the whole story.

  17. What a fun post! It's great to see how other authors get unstuck!

    Plus it gives us another alternative to try if our tried and true method doesn't work.

  18. Running water? I had no idea. Showers work. But I'd be a prune if I took one every chapter.

    Generally all my brilliant ideas come from the shower.

  19. Wait. Marianne you have a nap app?????

  20. A quick nap does wonders. Please enter me for the books for writers. I can't remember if I mentioned earlier I want the critique.

    Congratulations Leanne.

    I wrote 1889 yesterday for a total of 33224

  21. Napping! That's the best way to get unstuck, Tina!

    I know I've not been reporting in but I've been Speedboing!

    I have done edits on two books and finished a novella for the anthology coming out in June. So here at the mid point, I'll get back to putting down words on a new project. I love this time of year and Speedbo in Seekerville!

  22. Great tips! Thanks for sharing your helpful ideas.

    I have to keep reminding myself that if I don't torture my characters, I don't have a story.

    Have a great day!

  23. Kelly: {{hugs}} and prayers for you. I'm sure your Nana will be proud of you for keeping on.

    As for the stuck/unstuck things, I think I like starting to write on a note-pad I DONT KNOW WHAT TO WRITE. will have to try that. I agree on the shower and/or nap thing - the best ideas seem to spring up there. The concept of running water triggering a "flow" of ideas is interesting. Hmmm... are we on to something?

    Already won a critique (yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!) Always in for a gift card.

    Love today's list. Inspirational and the lubrication to un-stuck me.

  24. This is great timing. I haven't been making my goals until Blurb2Book was announced. It made me look at my manuscript with new clarity because I had a very specific publisher and time line. Boom. I'm on fire. And by doing Speedbo, I was ready for the challenge because I have been working for two weeks.

    Most of the time, I just take a hike. Most of my writing is done in my head before I get to the computer.

    Put me in for the critique and the card.

    Peace, Julie

  25. HELEN, I can relate. I usually get my best ideas when I'm "done for the day," which is why I keep a pad and pencil next to the bed. BTW, I ordered "Bandit Bride" from Amazon last night. What fun! I love scrolling through Amazon or shopping at Walmart and saying, to myself (or to impress someone else), I KNOW that person.

  26. I have used all of these un-blockers at one time or another, though not always consciously. Sometimes I'll just say "I can't take this any more" and go do something else, and the "something else" refreshes me enough to come back to it with ideas.

  27. Would love to win a craft book.

  28. When I get stuck, I go wash dishes. Doing something mundane lets my mind wander, I guess. Please put me in for the critique, the Amazon gift card, and the two extra special giveaways for two writers today. Thank you so much. Thanks for all the support and encouragement speedboing!

  29. Great tips! From naps to showers to free writing, so many ideas it almost sounds like the start to a book! I'm also interested in writing children's books, maybe this could be one about how a little kid gets past his/her writer's block on a book report or something :)

    I'd love to be entered in the giveaway for box of books! Cheerleading for all y'all writers!


  30. Well, I'm just relieved to hear that real writers get stuck too!!! Love all those ideas and watched the fan vids. That's a new one for me that I think might work.

    Often if I move around I get unstuck and I seem to get stuck every twenty minutes or so. Interestingly enough there's been studies done on productivity in the workplace and they found that changing positions every 20-30 mins increases productivity -- going from sitting to standing to walking kind of thing. So I sit for 20 then move the laptop into the kitchen and stand at the counter for 20 before I go back to sitting. And somewhere in the mix I'll add in a five minute walk on the treadmill a few tunes(which is part of my physio anyway and I can only walk for 5 mins at a time).

  31. Oh, forgot to mention that I'd love to entered in the critique draw.

  32. Tina, thanks for collecting all these excellent ideas on what to do when the story won't come. And for the comfort of realizing most writers experience a stall along the way. I'm normal. Who knew?


  33. PS, Tina, I can't picture you taking a nap. You are such a hard worker, my mind can't wrap around that. LOL

    But I'm so glad to hear you do that. Esp with 7,000 words to show for it.

    My hubby is like that too. He used to study for exams that way. Never worked for me though.

  34. Kav, you ARE a real writer or you wouldn't be on this site.

  35. Oh, put me in for critique!

  36. And of course the ultimate best advice is Just Slogging Through It, which we have all learned from the less spectacular days of marriage, parenting, pastoring or Life In General.

  37. When I'm stuck, I read this Seeker blog and BOOM!!

    AND get on the treadmill ...

    Thanks for all the great ideas, Tina. Now ... to go put them to use! ;)


  38. Wow! It's nice to know I'm not alone. Sounds like 'most every writer gets stuck now and then.

    I enjoyed hearing about all the creative ways creative people have found to get the words flowing again. I'm thinking how fun it would be if Rose, Sandra and I could take a walk together and talk writing. That would surely get me unstuck.

    Like Debby, I brainstorm with my hubby, often while on one of our walks. He let me in on a secret recently. When he asks me about my story, I get so passionate about it that I pick up the pace. Since Gwynly is a tall, long-legged fellow, he gets a better workout if his short, short-legged wife lengthens her stride. Knowing this enables me to walk and talk about my stories guilt-free.

    Like Kelly Bridgewater, I often take walks to town, strolling past majestic Victorian homes built back in the days of California's Gold Rush along the way. Since I write historicals, I imagine my characters talking as they walk. Listening in on their conversation has helped me get unstuck many a time.

    I'm with Melissa on getting the inspiration flowing while taking a shower. That's another method that works for me.

    Kelly Blackwell, my heart goes out to you as you face the end of your grandmother's days here on earth. Anticipatory grief is agony. May the Lord uphold you as you endure this wait and the loss that is to come. May He bring about a peaceful passing for your beloved grandmother from this world to the next.

  39. P.S. I love how many Kellys (or Kelis) are hanging out in Seekerville today. Reminds me of my sixth grade year when there were six of us in one class. You should have seen the fun we had on Valentine's Day sorting out whose cards were whose. Still makes me smile to think about it.

  40. I have a couch in my office so I move from chir to couch like i'm in therapy!

  41. Jackie L tortures in her spare time!

  42. KB,

    I forgot to say that I keep a notepad and pen by my bedside. And the pen has a little light on the end of it. :) That way I don't have to turn on the light and wake hubby when I get an idea that has to be written down immediately.

  43. How did you know I was stuck? Tina, you amaze me :)

    But I got my solution this morning in the shower (running water after a good night's sleep works wonders!).

    Sometimes, if I'm really stuck and not just procrastinating, cleaning or knitting help. Something to get my hands busy so my mind can work on the problem in the background.

    Now I need to work on getting un-stuck. Happy Speedbo-ing everyone!

  44. Oh oh, how did you know?

    But of course, we're all writing writing writing. :)

    7K words in between naps? Really?
    This is a new one. Need to think about that for sure.

    I'm in the forcing myself stage. It's just plain awful writing but I've got to have something on screen/paper before it can be fixed.

    Definitely seeing the holes where I've not fleshed out my characters and GMC. I've allowed myself to put in an easily searchable term >space< QUES >space< with my personal questions and then I keep going.

    Trying to incorporate what Debby has said - to just keep writing, as well as Mary's about writing complicated scenes (which these are)... And several others.

    Thank you Seekers for being Jane-on-the spot!

    Yes please, would be thrilled to win any of the above. Thank you for your continued generosity. I shared today's post with my local writer's group too. Hopefully some new faces will join us here!

  45. So far this Speedbo I haven't been stuck - but I certainly know what it feels like. Of all the wonderful suggestions I like Tina's "take a nap" the best. Some of my best scenes come from actual dreams!

  46. When I'm stuck, I sometimes just need a break and do something completely different than writing. Picking up clutter, doing the dishes, watching tv--something that doesn't require much brainpower. I force myself not to think hard about my story during these times, which usually makes way for new ideas!

    I also like to listen to a self-made soundtrack I have for my stories. Gets me back in the mood.

    P.S. While reading the first girl's advice I smiled because I watch fanvids for fun too, and Oliver and Felicity (Olicity) is my favorite romantic couple at the moment. And that video is one of my favorites too. ;) Here's another, and it's connected to a playlist of fan videos that inspire me:

  47. Got stuck the last couple of days so I worked on and submitted blurb 2 book last night. Yeah!
    Please enter me for the critique or any of the books.

  48. What a compendium of tips for getting unstuck! Thanks for pulling all these fine writers together, Tina!

    What is working for me lately is the Pomodoro thing. Never heard of it before it was mentioned in Seekerville a few weeks ago, but WOW! I downloaded a Pomodoro timer app for my Mac that I set for 30 minutes of work alternating with 5 minutes of break. No matter where I am in a scene, even the middle of a word, I MAKE myself get up from my writing chair when that timer goes off!

    Then 5 minutes of some kind of movement. Walk on my treadmill, do some stretches or yoga, go downstairs for a drink of water, just anything that isn't sitting down!

    When I come back to my computer, it feels like my brain got a reboot, and the words usually start flowing again.

  49. i'm stuck because i've lost the flavor or reason or focus of my story. or something. and on top of all that, i had to stop writing because i injured my arm. blah. haven't done speedbo in a week.

  50. I loved reading everyone's methods to get unstuck. When I'm stuck, I'll usually go for a run or listen to some music.

  51. Myra, I do the Pomodoro thing, too! It really does help, unless I'm in the middle of a scene and unconsciously turn my timer off and keep writing. It's been known to happen.

  52. This months going by too fast. I'm going to spend the rest of the day writing to catch up with my goal. When I get stuck editing previous chapters gets me back into the story and gives me ideas on moving forward.

  53. Hi Tina:

    I don't get stuck.
    I don't get writer's block.
    I always know what to write next. That's what the plot is for.
    My problem is that sometimes I can't make myself put the key in the ignition and start the engine.

    It's like this quote from Ovid's Metamorphases :

    "I see the right way and approve it, but follow the wrong.”

    My mind just tells me:

    "I know what to do. I could do a great job of it. I have the time to do it. But I won't do it now and you can't make me. I've heard every motivational seminar you've ever given so don't waste your time. I've simply decided to stop and smell the roses. "

    How do you deal with a mind that has a mind of its own?


    Please put me in the running for one of those writing books. At least I could read about writing while I'm forced to smell the roses.

  54. With so many excellent methods to get unstuck, no one has an excuse to not finish the novel!

    I find I just need to step away from the computer and do mundane things like wash the dishes, fold clothes, etc. I'd like to say the tasks trigger genius, but honestly, I think I just hate to fold clothing!

    Gotta push through it!!

  55. I love Tina's method of writing a scene, take a nap, write, nap...

    Very much up my alley : )

  56. Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Writing series is a must for all writers. She uses such simple language to help writers reach their goals.

    Well, I think every writer needs this series since it works for me and I can be as dense as a brick wall!!

  57. Way to go, LeAnne!! It's the 20th of March and you've reached your Speedbo goal.

    I bow to you : )

  58. Great discussion this morning!

    Isn't it wonderful these fabulous techniques for getting unstuck in our writing, work for life's other sticky moments? So often when I've hit a road-block with a business decision, I've found an answer after a nap, scrubbing pots and pans, walking the dog or just sitting outside with a nice cuppa tea!

    I'd love to be entered for a critique...and the two extra special giveaways!

    Hoping your writing day is Tea-riffic on this first day of Spring! Go, go, go Speedbo!!

  59. Oh, Muchelle G So sorry! But you checked in and that counts! Hope you are better soon!

  60. I need this. Probably Every. Single.Day.

    I haven't been on here because I've been avoiding "writing reality". I am so far behind that it isn't funny.

    Does anyone know of a Facebook group where there is support when you are having issues related to writing and yet might not be related to writing? A definite support group? Not just #1K1HR because that's when you are actually writing/editing, etc.

    Something knocked me for a loop in February having to do with our church, and it hurt. Trying to move past it and get on with my life, but I am so sensitive... No thick skin here! Maybe I shouldn't write after all?

    Anyway, this is the first time I've been on here since Speedbo started. There's a little rebel inside my head, pulling the reins and steering me away from it and most writing-related things (for those who have seen "Ratatouille", think of Remy the rat pulling on Linguini's bangs, directing him as to what to put in the stock pot).

    Sorry, did not mean to ramble. I want to thank you all for sharing what "unsticks" you! Another I will have to copy and paste into Word to print out and read over. (Has anyone ever considered a "Print" option where the current post will open in another window?)

    Please toss my name into the ring for the "extra" books!

    Thanks again, and blessings!

  61. Kelly, I am praying for you and your family.

  62. This month of Speedbo has been successful. I am getting close to the end of the novel I began last year. I am now over 90,000 words and estimate at least another 20,000 words. I may have to put it aside but only until I can get this new challenge started.

    Now I am excited to try the Blurb to Book. This will be a completely different story which has only been in my brain a couple of days. My question is knowing what should go in the blurb. Is this like a pitch? Are there posts in the archive that will tell me what I need to know.

  63. This is a great post! When Melissa said that she took a shower, I thought, "That is such a great idea", because I often find plot points and ideas coming to me when I take my showers! Thanks for the ideas everyone!

    I would love to win the books as well.

    Speedbo update: Getting motivated (maybe I need to take that shower ;o)

  64. Like several others, I also go for a run or bike. That doesn't necessarily get me unstuck, but I feel better. And once I check a to-do thing off my list, I'm more determined to get more done.

  65. And MELISSA, taking a shower used to help me when I played Texas Hold e'm online. That's all I'm gonna say...

  66. Love - LOVE - this post! Love the prizes too! I'm printing this out for future reference and gleaning wisdom from the comments as well. Thank you, Tina, and all who contributed. I hate to think how much I might need this as I write my Blurb2Book ms. :-)

  67. I enjoyed this article. I too will watch music videos to get some motivation.
    My go-to is usually going for a run, a hike, or a bike ride to clear my head and center my thoughts. That wasn't working lately.
    The latest motivation I had came to me while driving to one of my favorite hiking places and it came in the form of a country song.
    I'm on course now.

  68. Thanks for the wonderful post and all the tips. It was much needed at this moment. I loved reading the different methods for getting unstuck, but I must admit, I like Tina's 30 minute nap idea. I think I'll have to give it a try.

    Please enter my name for the critique.

  69. Wilani
    for the blurb, think back of book hook. there's a bunch of blurb stuff on the eHarl threads. I'll see if I can find one for you.

  70. found something. blog post by Lisa Phillips that breaks down the 100 word blurb. hope it helps.

    blurb link

  71. This comment has been removed by the author.

  72. oh bother...
    here it is (hopefully). copy/paste?

  73. Well everyone likes my nap idea. Especially my cat. Lololol. How's the shoulder, Rhonda?

  74. Shoulder is sore, but I'm plugging along. :)

    I had my second physical therapy session, and my pt is happy with my progress. She said I could resume normal activity today as long as I stop and stretch every once in a while. I'm also off the pain meds, so my mind can focus on writing. All-in-all, it's a great day to Speedbo!

  75. The treadmill sounds suspiciously like excercise, Julie Lessman.

  76. Vince, yes I agree that sometimes that is the case. But most often I agree with Mary C. I am in avoidance and afraid to write the scene. Going to do a future blog post on that!

  77. A big THANKS to all our cheerleaders!!

  78. Totally loved the blog post today! I'm in the second half of Act II and finally hit the wall. The last two days I've dragged my characters around with me like two limp dolls...but I kept writing.

    Showers definitely work and so does Silver Sneakers. I daydream while I'm exercising.

    Definitely put me in the drawing for a critique and books.

  79. Thank you Deb H. I am printing off the blog now.

  80. Wow, so many great ideas!

    Firs, Melissa Jagears has got to be the cleanest author on earth ... or she's an exceptional plotter and rarely gets stuck! :)

    Erica said: My solution is to go back to the last place I was excited about the story.

    I like this. Great tip.

    And, like Tina, if I'm on an especially TIGHT deadline and been working for hours, I will take a short nap to refresh. Then I'm ready to go again when I wake up. When my brain starts to hurt, then I'm no good until I completely turn it off for a while.

  81. Lol on Melissa being squeaky clean!!!

  82. Great tips for getting unstuck, ladies! I'd love to have a chance to win the C.S. Lakin book :-)

  83. Loved reading what others do when stuck.
    I tend to do better if I take a little break and either play my piano or work on my needlepoint. Then I can return to my WIP with a somewhat refreshed outlook and usually the words will come.
    Hugs, Patti Jo

    p.s. YAY for Speedbo!! Am moving forward on my goal, and with 11 days left I feel good about meeting that goal! :)

  84. P.S. Must add that all my kitties agree with Tina's suggestion of taking a NAP!! ;) That always works for them, LOL. (actually, it sounds good to me too) ;)
    Hugs, PJ

  85. Naps! Yes! Great brain boosters, naps.

    Tina, I'm intrigued by the idea of being in avoidance and afraid to write the scene. That may be a 'stuck' problem for me right now. I decided to skip the scene and go on. Usually that doesn't work, but in this case it did. But guess what ... it's a scene where the heroine has to digest a whole bunch of changes and confusion.

    Anyhow, fun to find out how others deal with getting unstuck. I find getting away from the computer and doing anything helps. But naps are especially helpful :-)

    Nancy C

  86. What a wealth of suggestions. I have learned that I can't force it. sometimes I can get going if I write something like, "this is dumb, I don't know where I'm going." Often, that doesn't help and I have to do something else. I don't jump in the shower like Melissa Jagears, though ideas often come to me in the shower. Like Keli Gwyn, walking helps, as in simply going into the fresh outside air.
    This morning I asked myself why in the world I thought I could do Speedbo this month with so much going on. Then I looked at my word count: 20,080.

  87. I am so excited about all the great books I'll get to read from you SPEEDBO'ers!!!!! YAY

  88. Almost 2k today. My keyboards smoking! Please put my name in the drawing for a critique.

  89. Thanks for the kind words , Barb Scott!!

  90. Don't be intrigued, Nancy. It sucks.

    I will do a post on it.

  91. Jamie! Another Speedboer checks in!

    Amazing word count.

  92. Great post, Tina! There's nothing worse than being stuck and not knowing where to go next. Please drop my name in for the critique and books.

  93. Megan Z@!!! I can SEE you!

    Great to see you come out of lurkdom!

  94. Cindy K Green! Good to SEE YOU TOO!

  95. Jessica Laurie!! Another lurks out of the lurking shadows. Welcome.

  96. Sarah C. Every time I see your profile pix I think it's salmon. Went to check it out today.What a cute photo! Is it real?

  97. Bettie and Julie HS. Good for you guys on the Book2Blurb or Blurb2Book as the case may be. Congrats. BRAVE IS WONDERFUL!

    So proud of you!


    I am speechless! CONGRATULATIONS!!

  99. When I got stuck on my current project, I skipped over that part and started on the next part I knew what I wanted to say. That led to my Speedbo goal of going back and filling in the gaps.

    Update: I typed up some of my handwritten portion of my WIP. If I type as much every day, I'll be finished in 10 days. :D

    I'd love to win any of the books or a critique.

  100. Great info, Tina. Thanks. Lots of input on a Friday!

    Seems going back to the drawing board works for a lot of folks.

  101. I'm late, I'm late!!

    Thank you so much for sharing all these great ways to get Unstuck!

    Wonderful post, Tina! (And not just because you quoted me. :) )

  102. Dear Tina and all of the authors who gave great advice today, Thank you for all of your great suggestions. I've done a number of them, but Tina has my favorite: taking a nap.

    I'm still editing. I'm also taking a class that is helping me with plotting my new book. So please enter me in the critique. I already own four of Cathy Yardley's books on Kindle (have read the first two). Only enter me for the other craft book.

    Thanks for the pointers. Although I'll confess. I have a bigger problem with getting distracted. But most of these pointers are also great for getting back on track in case of distractions in addition to getting stuck.

  103. Great tips! Thanks for sharing, Tina!

    My favorite mindless activity is crochet, but only during the winter months. Going back and reading a section that was fun to write also gives inspiration.

    I have read (and love) Cathy Yardley's RYP, and am currently working through RYR. Its solid, straightforward approach is priceless when you want to learn something well and learn it quickly.

    I'd love to be entered in the drawing for the 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction!

  104. I have used several of these methods when I'm stuck. The shower is a magical place.
    I always get your email the next day with these helpful posts. Not sure whcih midnight you are refering to. Friday or Saturday. Put me in all the drawings please. Cindy Huff

  105. Great ideas. If one doesn't work, move on to the next tip.

    I like the XX for stuck in speedbo. If I don't know the answer, regardless if it's scene, name, historical event, whatever; I type XXname and keep on going. After I write the discovery draft, I search on XX and fill in the hole.

    Afterwards my discovery draft looks like a prairie dog town!

  106. Thanks for the great tips on getting unstuck! I wanted to post this by midnight, but I'm getting the feeds to my inbox a day late, so I see this was posted Friday and I've already missed Friday midnight. Wonder why I get them so late?

  107. Rah! Rah! hope you are all doing well in your Speedbo.. great ideas to get unstuck!
    toss me in for the books please :)