yep, take a break and don't worry about it for a while. Try something different - take tap dancing lessons or something - be creative in a totally different way, and you'll be refreshed when you come back to writing.
Posts: 1750 | Registered: Oct 2004
Something terribly exerting and violent if possible. Or get something to eat. (The two balance each other, which is the only reason that I don't resemble a balloon.) That's the short term fix to being stuck at a point in a particular story.
LDS suggested an excellent longterm fix. Those flash challenges have been terrific.
It depends on why I need a break. If I'm stuck on a particular aspect of a story then I try two different things: 1. work on a different story (this is where the flash challenges help a lot) 2. read an "about writing" book because usually I will get inspired.
Sometimes I will try rewriting the scene completely from a different POV or angle to see if maybe I'm focusing on the wrong thing and that's why I'm stuck.
Sometimes I'll get involved in a good movie or video game just to get away entirely. Or read a good book of a different genre than I'm writing in.
Critiquing helps too. It gets my mind off my work but still keeps it active and sometimes shows me, in a round about way, where I got off track. It's easier to see mistakes in other people's work and sometimes I'll see something and say, "Hey, that's what I'm doing here in scene five. That's my problem."
Why does ice cream have to wait until all else fails? That hardly seems fair . . . especially since me and that container of cookies'n'cream have gotten so close . . .
I just switch gears, much like everyone else said. I trust that my subconscious is hammering away at it, and will let me know when it figures out whatever it is. Sometimes stories (at least mine anyway) need to age a bit. They tend to flesh out and flourish when I let them steep in my brain without really working on them for awhile, then I come back to them and go, "Oh yeah, THAT one. That's a great idea!" and I'm back into the fray.
I honestly don't know. In my experience, the more I write, the better and more creative I get. The problem is making sure that I go ahead and write. It can be hard, knowing that I'll be a better writer tomorrow.
But then, I go ahead and read stuff that I've already written to assure myself I'm not a total slouch even now.
I also stop working. The thing I'm working on is to eventually get back on them or picking endings first. But I'm doing babysteps.
Another thing I like to do, and I've done this for as long as I can remember, is to fold my baby blanket in half (triangle-wise) and tie it around my head. It usually helps.
I have a number of novel-based role playing groups I belong to. A lot of people disagree on this, but I enjoy switching over to something where the characters are familiar and the universe is already created. It at least keeps me writing when I'm stuck on my own things. And sometimes I do get super-motivated and decide to use that opportunuty to work on dialogue or description. I also like to throw in plot wrenches and see how other people deal with those things. <shameless>
I also recently had a book on shamanic journeying recommended to me on two separate occassions. So I went and bought it. I do find I'm more creative when I keep up a regular meditation or prayer time. After having my daughter, I got out of that habit and try to sleep as late as possible. I'm trying to resurrect that habit of inner me-time.
[This message has been edited by Ahavah (edited May 29, 2005).]