Trying to solve a problem in your manuscript and you just can’t figure it out? Just say you don’t care and move on to something else.
Yes, really. Stay with me on this one. Let’s say you’ve been working on a problem in your manuscript for hours, days, months, or a lifetime in dog years. You’re trying to write a new piece of it, or you’re trying to solve an old problem in a new way, or you’re working on any scene that requires some creativity on your part. But you’re tired. It’s draft 37 and you’re burned out. You don’t really care how the love interest dies anymore; you just know he needs to be dead in a way that gets to the next plot point and isn’t inconsistent with three other conditions already set up in the rest of the story. Frankly, if you could make him appear to you in the flesh for a moment, you’d hone one of your chewed-up pencils to a super-sharp point and just do the deed yourself. That would feel so good right now.
But that’s not how this works. Now, you’re seasoned enough to know that you can’t wait for your muse to show up before you start to write, so you sit down in your chair, lift your fingers to the keyboard, but…nothing. You can’t figure out the problem. You eat chocolate, and…nothing. You drink copious amounts of coffee. Nothing (except an urgent need to pee). You stare out the window, walk the dog, clean the house… All the usual prescriptions for jogging a writer’s brain add up to you being no closer to accessing the necessary creativity than you were at the beginning of this effort.
So give up. Turn your attention to writing something else.
I’ve discovered that sometimes, when I’m having trouble working through a problem or a scene, I can jog my writing brain into action by metaphorically walking away from my problematic manuscript and instead writing in the form with which I began my writing journey: [Read more…]