Coming Unstuck without Coming Unglued
Yesterday, I had a fairly good day writing. Edited the previous day's work, piled into the next chapter, and then somehow wandered...
La Brea Tar Pits.
It happens to every writer at times. Things are grooving right along, and then you realize, hey, there's no bridge between Point A and Point C. So you have to slam on the brakes and somehow figure out a way to build one.
So what do you do to come unstuck? I've developed several techniques to deal with it. I might take a walk or run the vacuum. I'll drive over to the bank or grocery store to take care of some errands. I will pick up my laptop and move to another location, either in the house or over at the library or a coffee joint. Sometimes (shockingly) I even resort to pen and paper because using another modality seems to break loose mental logjams.
Today, however, I've chosen the time-honored Griping About It strategy. I'm blogging about the problem, talking to my husband about it (even though he's rarely all that helpful, the process of articulating my conundrum often is enough to get me moving in the right direction) and maybe even calling a critique partner and asking, "Can I bounce something off your head for a few minutes? I'm stuck and need a few extra brain cells."
Here's what isn't helpful. Watching a movie, TV, or reading someone else's novel just sends my brain on vacation. Going out for fun activities, too, is a bad move, since I'm rewarding my subconscious for stalling. I try to reserve these treats for when I've actually accomplished something. Playing mindless Internet games (Bejeweled is an addiction!) sometimes helps to ease anxiety, but unless I limit myself to under five minutes, it just becomes a work-avoidance technique.
And coming unstuck is work. It requires tenacity and discipline.
Now that I've shared my techniques, I'm starting to get a glimmer or a mental image... I think I'm about ready to attempt to build my bridge. While I'm hard at it, can you tell me, did I miss any of your favorite ways to get yourself unstuck?