Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Way Things Work

Recently, I've had a run of bad luck. Not terrible luck. I didn't lose a family member or find a lump. There were no insects crawling through my nasal cavity or strangers in my bed. I'm talking missed train connections, minor disappointments, relatives venturing close to Benjamin Franklin's deadline ("House guests, like fish, stink after three days...") These are just the way things work when life is moving from day to day. And things need to keep moving if you're going to keep a reader's interest.

Indeed, when you write, these things can make all the difference. You might say, bad luck is the new black. Ok, maybe you wouldn't say that, exactly, but without a good deal of tension, your story might get a little ... well, constipated.

So, if you find yourself a little (writers') blocked up, why not shove a little writing laxative into your system. By that I mean, do whatever you need to do to get your ideas moving along. Change chapters. Write from a new perspective. Add a character you know you won't keep. Draw a map of your character's neighborhood. Send your character's boss a nasty letter.

What comes out may not be worth keeping, but at least it's out. And if the ideas that had been in the way were already a little stale, what comes next might be the real deal.

What do you do to keep your writing flowing free and easy?


Caroline Hagood said...

I can never have enough (writing) laxative.

Matt Sinclair said...

And your writing doesn't stink!

Cat Woods said...

I switch gears. If I'm stumped at writing, I edit. If I'm editing and I run into a dead end, I write.

Typically, I have three or four projects going at once--in various stages, of course. This makes switching gears--and brain cells--relatively easy!

Oh yeah, or I critique. Critiquing my team members' work gets me excited to go back and find the areas in my own writing that need work!

*passes prune juice to the mighty elephant before backing away*

Matt Sinclair said...

Good advice, Cat -- on the variety of projects and on standing back after supplying an elephant with prune juice. Thanks!

Pk Hrezo said...

I like that idea... or you could write up a termination warning from your character's boss... endless possibilities!

Matt Sinclair said...

Indeed, Pk! I think the only real blockage is if you think you simply can't do it anymore at the level you know you need to meet in order to reach your goals. But I've not gotten there yet. I hope I never do.