When I get stuck
“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.”
― Hilary Mantel
Last week I got stuck while working on a paper I was writing and then I came across that quote by Mantel. So I went to the park and saw this swan swimming – Like magic, the writers block suddenly disappeared.
What a great quote. . . and great advice. So very true!!
Good advice – though often I find when I feel stuck and like nothing’s coming together or working properly, what I really need to do is just keep on at it, even if it feels like I’m not going anywhere. There comes a point where it all comes together and starts to actually look good. I’ve started getting into the habit of, when I begin to get that feeling, taking a picture of the thing I’m working on and comparing it to how it looks when it’s finished, a reminder for next time that it will happen!
thats great advice; ‘taking a picture of the thing i’m working on’
Thanks! I’ll try it next time I get stuck!! 😉
I get stuck all the time. That’s when I bury myself in other writers’ works. Then like a newly charged engine, I’m in the race again;0
Years ago I took a year off from teaching to write “my great American novel.” After ripping up two months work I finally settled into my routine around October. Whenever I became stressed or blocked I would take my new pound-pup for a walk; the fresh air and quiet (very rural here) were enough to keep me creating. But – when emotions & weather got so bad I had to remember my salary (or lack of) my venture was taking out my family income – that was enough of a kick in the rear. By May I had 350 + pages of raw story which called for another two years of personal and professional editing. I failed to get significant nibbles from agents so I tucked the manuscript under my bed (talk about “sleeping on it”). There it remains. I have written other pieces and started other novels but I remain haunted by my 1st – which I will continue to believe is my best. What keeps me stuck – as far as writing novels are concerned are the raw and vulnerable emotions I traveled through on my 1st novel. So deep had I dug into my life/heart that I felt like a walking, open wound when I was out in public with my family – like everyone knew everything about me…Maybe if I had had some publication success to balance this pain things would be different. I am a fairly strong and self-possessed woman otherwise but the thought of reliving that terrific vulnerability – at times, scares me.
awesome stuff Gwenn!
Thanks for popping in my re-ignited blog!
Too cool! I am ALWAYS stuck. My husband thinks the computer grew to my body. Can’t be helped, when one opens a new business. hahaha
But this was a refreshment to my spirit! Thank you so much! I will take a walk in my mind.
I’m an editor as well as a writer. I love revising and rewriting. I hate first drafts. For years I did all my writing on the computer. When I got blocked, I’d haul out a yellow pad and a pen, any pen, and start writing. It worked every time. Now I do almost all my first-drafting, fiction or nonfiction, in longhand. I’ve got nine fountain pens and seven bottles of ink, all different colors. For sure one reason this works is that my handwriting is so scrawly that the internal editor can’t read it, and what the internal editor can’t read, she can’t second-guess. Writing in longhand also enables me to put in a couple hours writing before I even boot up the computer. This is especially important when I’m first-drafting because checking email, playing Scrabble on Facebook, and messing around online are much more fun and less scary than writing.
Getting stuck is probably a ‘pointer’ of God that it is time for ‘something else’ (I don’t believe in God perse, but I thought it was a nice sentence;) Cheers, Max
Hi westendpublications. Thank you so much for liking my poem ‘ The Ambulance’. Best Wishes, The Foureyed Poet.
Thank you for the “like” for my Write Your Success blog post.
Your writing sense is inspiring. Your advice sensible.
Keep on writing!
Is the the swan who owns Swanson’s Frozen Dinners? It looks familiar.
Fantastic site. Lots of useful info here. I am sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious.
And naturally, thanks in your effort!