Has this happened to you? At the moment you need inspiration and motivation the most, you find yourself sinking under a pile of crumpled drafts and random rewrites. Whether you’re running out of steam right before a looming deadline or you’ve developed a bad case of writer’s block—basically, you’re stuck. At Writer’s Relief, we know this happens to every writer sooner or later. But if you’re tempted to throw in the pen and give up when the writing gets tough, our experts have some tips to help you get unstuck.
How To Get Unstuck When The Writing Gets Tough
Admit You’re Stuck.
Too often, writers keep trying to push ahead when they should stop and take a breath. Tell yourself—aloud, if necessary—that you’re stuck on your project. Once you’re no longer using all your creative energy to fight the possibility that your current piece is going nowhere, you can focus instead on how to move forward.
Pinpoint Why You’re Struggling.
Are you struggling with plot holes or characters? Is the poem not conveying the message you’re striving for? Be honest with yourself because you might be trying to hold onto something that doesn’t really work. Once you define the issue, you can then brainstorm ways to fix it.
Try Writing Prompts And Writing Exercises.
Refocus your attention and recharge your imagination with a few writing prompts, creative writing exercises, or freewriting to get back into a creative mindset. The writing prompts can be about anything: You’re doing this to unlock your creativity, not to apply the results to your current project. If you feel the problem is stemming from a weakness in your writing abilities, you can target a specific skill and work on improving that technique with writing exercises. And simply letting your thoughts flow through freewriting is a great way to effectively bust through writer’s block and get your project back on track.
Skip The Snag.
If you’ve hit a troublesome part of your story or poem, skip it! (At least, temporarily.) Turn your attention to a different part of the work where you’re not feeling as stuck. Perhaps switching points of view will help you better understand a scene or character. Then, when you’re ready to go back to the section that’s giving you trouble, you’ll have new ideas for overcoming the problem.
You can also cut out the sections that don’t seem to work and put them aside. If you like what you now have, great! But if it turns out the edits didn’t offer the improvement you hoped for—simply put the words you removed back in your work.
Take A Break.
Walk away from your desktop, laptop, notebook, or typewriter, and give your mind a break. Get some fresh air, move your body, and find a new perspective. Whether it’s something as simple as going for a walk outside or as spontaneous as inviting a friend to get coffee—you might discover inspiration and the solution to your writing problem in the most unlikely places.
Work On Something Entirely Different.
It may seem counterintuitive, but putting this WIP (work in progress) aside might be the only way to save it. Don’t give up on this troublesome project, but put it away and write something else. You may even consider writing in a different genre! After you’re back in your creative groove, return to the project that was giving you trouble and look at it from a fresh perspective.
Should you ever give up entirely? Sometimes an idea or topic seems promising, but ultimately doesn’t go anywhere. And that’s okay! It’s good to explore and take risks with your writing, but it’s also good to realize when something you’re writing isn’t coming together the way you’d hoped. If you’ve tried one—or all—of these writing tips and your piece still isn’t working, shelve it. But don’t delete your work! Weeks, months, possibly even years from now, inspiration may strike and you’ll realize the perfect solution to your current quandary.
Question: Do you have any tips that help you get unstuck when you’re writing?
Very helpful. Just saved a creative piece as a result of your advice to take a hike. LOL.