Three Writing Exercises to do When You’re Stuck

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Hello everyone! For the past several weeks, I’ve been nice and word-blocked on my novel. I’ve tried starting over, I’ve tried writing what I can, I’ve tried reading and rereading what I’ve got already…it’s been very hard to find that inspiration to continue on with the story in my head. Of course, I plan on finishing it within this lifetime, there’s no doubt about that. Sometimes, writers just get stuck.

I always find that doing other, unrelated writing helps me get back into the groove and out of writer’s block. Here are three things that I’ve always done to help me get back to writing!

Write Short Stories

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I love a good short story. Having ADHD, it’s really easy for me to get bored with a long novel…but short stories are contained, bite-sized, and fulfill my desire to write and/or read something without really committing too much time to it.

If you have new story ideas while your working on a big project, such as a novel, write them down somewhere. My Notes app on my phone is full of ideas that I can scroll through and pick to write a little story about. I also have a Pinterest board dedicated to writing. Most of the pins I’ve saved are prompts, and when I get stuck I usually take a break and write something inspired by a pin I saved however long ago.

If inspiration strikes you randomly, and you know you can’t make whatever idea you have into your already-established universe, you can also write a short story surrounding that bit of inspiration. Writing something short and different from what you’re writing generally inspires more writing. Let that inspiration guide you back into your projects!

Go Read a Book

unrelated photo to fill up space #3 (although this was a nice day to lay under a tree and read a book)

Admittedly, I haven’t read anything new in about a year or so. I always find that when I read, it helps me write better. Sometimes I get ideas for my own novel reading other people’s! Of course, plagiarizing is not okay and I’m not saying to do that at all. Instead, let someone else’s voice be inspiration for your own. It’s always interesting to see how other people write, and it’s fun to try to take the inspiration you gather from a well-written book and use that energy to keep writing your own.

I also consider reading fan fiction (aka fanfic) something viable to get your own creative juices flowing. Many writers of my generation started out writing fanfic (including me!), and LOTS of it is surprisingly well written, nuanced, and objectively better than most books out there on the market now. Obviously some people would disagree with that statement, but I appreciate fanfic as a valid art form and one that can definitely get your own creative juices flowing just by reading!

Take a Break

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If all else fails, and all of your normal go-to’s for writer’s block aren’t working, sometimes it’s best to step back from writing completely and take time to regroup. I think it’s important to realize when something isn’t working in the moment. If you step away and come back to it later, you have a fresh mind and fresh eyes to really look at your project anew.

I’ve admittedly done this with a lot of my old drafts for novels, saw that the story just wasn’t working, and scrapped it all together. I’ve also had stories on the back burner that have gone through so many changes because I’ve done this, that now they are more viable as actual novels than they were before I stepped away.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to let the idea rest for a bit. You can always tweak something, change something to make more sense, or completely revamp the idea! You’ll never know to do so, however, if you beat the idea into the ground. Stepping back and looking at it with fresh eyes is sometimes the greatest thing you can do for your writing.

Really, anything that helps you take the stress of writing off of yourself will help with writer’s block. Even though it’s supposed to be a fun hobby, sometimes I get stressed while writing! It’s important for me to do these three things, as well as countless other techniques and practices that I’ve learned throughout the years to make writing fun for myself again and again. Hopefully these three ideas can help you get out of your own writer’s block!

Thanks for reading everyone! Part of my plan for this blog has always been an outlet to keep my writer’s block at bay. I figured I should share some things I do to make sure I don’t get too stuck in writer’s block!

If you like what you’ve read today, feel free to follow me on Twitter (and subscribe to me here on Medium) to get blog updates as soon as they go live every Monday! Feel free to leave a tip on ko-fi if you’d like as well.

Thanks again for reading! I’ll see you here next week with something new!

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I write stories, as well as music, movie, product reviews and monthly wrap-up journals. Basically, if you can think it, I can write about it.

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Mary B. Golubich

Mary B. Golubich

I write stories, as well as music, movie, product reviews and monthly wrap-up journals. Basically, if you can think it, I can write about it.

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