Friday, April 27, 2007

Stumbling Blocks

If you lose your momentum on a book project, is it possible to get it back? Most times, I would say yes.

Let’s say you’re writing along and things are going great. Then you hit a block. You don’t know where to go from there. You’re stuck. Here are some ideas. Run through the plot so far. If you’ve been keeping a Book Bible, refer to that. What has been the sequence? As you do that, envision the characters. (Get up and walk around, if that helps.) Now envision what your character would do next. Or perhaps envision what would be the absolute worst thing that could happen to your character at this point. Then either sit down and write it or make notes on the different scenarios you come up with.

Or if this kind of walking, talking and visualizing is not your thing, then get out paper or sit at your computer and type ideas. Doesn’t matter how wild or crazy, you’re not judging them at this time. Right now, you just type ideas as they come into your head. You can go back and filter them later.

Maybe your block is not on what should happen next with a character or situation. Maybe you’re at the editing stage and you’re just sick of it. Then put the manuscript away. Not for good, but for a time-out. How long of a rest you take from it depends on you. Work on some other project, be it writing or knitting or cooking or volunteer work. Maybe even go to a writing conference or workshop to reenergize yourself. But not only put the book out of sight, put it out of mind. When you feel you’re ready, you’ll come back to it with new eyes.

Sometimes you hit a stumbling block and you have to work your way around the block. Sometimes you have to turn away from the block and go some other direction until you’re ready to come back and tackle it.

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