3 Ways to Get Back on Track

Sometimes it's hard to get back on track--back to the day-in/day-out grind of making forward progress with a manuscript. Writers often have this problem when they take several days off in a row.

If you're a writer who is stuck when that way, here are 3 ways to get unstuck and back to daily achievement.

1. Make a list of as many things as you can think of that might happen in the current chapter that has you stuck. Same with writing dialogue or action. Jot down various bits of dialogue or actions that could take place. Mix it up and try different approaches.

2. Just sit at the keyboard and make your problem a question you ask aloud and let your fingers fly. For example, why does Jennifer go into the creepy basement when she's scared of the place? By asking the question aloud and letting your fingers fly without regard to typos, rethinking, etc. That helps you turn off the internal editor.

3. Cluster a word as a way to chase down ideas and thoughts without being hampered by the technical aspects of "correct" writing. It's great for figuring out which way to go when you haven't a clue. I like this technique. Just write a word in a circle in the center of a blank piece of paper. Then draw lines from it like spokes on a wheel and write down whatever pops into your head. After a bit, you'll see a pattern develop. This will lead you in a specific direction of thought. When you sense this direction, write a paragraph or a page about it.

Takeaway Truth

The most important thing is to do something today--even if you'd rather doze by the pool, play with the kids, or just read a book. Taking action begets more action.

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