Advice… there is so much of it around. But I have realized that the reason why that is the case is because certain things will speak to you at different times, and so there will always be an endless font of wisdom from which to drink.

As I imagine is the case with most things… just about all the advice I have read about writing can be useful in a non-writerly life. Well, except for assglue. I think that might pertain strictly to writing. But, I digress.

Yesterday, while struggling to get through plotting my outline for this new novel I am writing, I kept hitting a wall. A blank empty wall in my mind that kept all thoughts from seeing the light. It has been like this for about week now. I have the opening scenes in my head firmly, but the rest had been eluding me. And driving me c.r.a.z.y.

I decided to follow some advice I’d seen peppered through the writerly world and change tacks. Do something different to inspire the creativity, you know?  So, I went upstairs, where my laptop sits on my night table (thank the gods of the internets for the awesomeness that is dropbox.com, btw.) and promptly opened my WIP while sitting in a new locale.

I don’t like to work in my bed, because I am one of those people who gets all cozy and warm and then gets a case of the heavy eyes. But yesterday I was going to get something done. I promised myself. I was following advice! I changed something about how I was working. So I sat and gazed lovingly at the screen on my laptop, fingers poised for greatness, waiting for the brain juices to begin flowing. And woke up two hours later. #truestory

Refusing to accept defeat, I remembered an old bit of advice that I heard long ago that had nothing to do with solutions for writers, but was aimed at general life-problem solving. I have used it for may years as a person who journals and generally thinks to much. But here it is: When you’re stuck on something, grab a pen and a paper and start writing about it the old fashioned way.Start at the beginning and see where it ends.

The act of writing longhand unlocks something in the brain. So I started by writing the synopsis of my first few scenes that I already had, and the let the rest come. And it came! I could feel my pulse in my pen as I gripped it tighter and grew more exited by the plot that was unfolding before my eyes.

Here is a shot of what happened yesterday. I got a few pages of solid plot flow as a result of my little exercise. Now my white board is a flutter and my mind is open again to this book.  #canigetanAMEN

Sometimes I find that there is nothing quite like the gifts you receive when you slow things down a bit. When your life is busy and you’re feeling overwhelmed by deadlines, sometimes the best thing to do is take it slower.

What do you find that work for you?

About the Author Corinne

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  1. Writing long-hand is great. I do this when I’m stuck, too. Move away from the computer desk, sit somewhere else with a notebook and pen, and just let the words flow. Usually after 15 minutes or so, I’m back in the groove. And if that doesn’t work, going for a walk usually does. :)

    Congrats on breaking through your block!

  2. I love the #truestory bit! Smiling! I dont’ often try the hand-writing trick when I stall, but I should, because it does work. Another trick that works for me esp. with outlining and plotting is asking lots of “what if” questions.

  3. Ah yes…I like a spiral notebook and my Clicker pencil. I can scribble and scratch out and erase to my heart’s content. I also pace and talk/think things out. Hubby has learned not to talk to me when he sees me pacing on the porch.

  4. Congrats on breaking through the wall. I haven’t tried the writing by hand method yet, but I totally agree that slowing things down helps a ton in writing and life.

  5. I am a huge fan of the spiral notebook. When I stall I go to bullet-point mania mode and try to lasso the random ideas zooming through my brain. It may not look like much on paper, but I do find I go back to those brainstorming pages and pluck out the gems later.

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