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Suggestions to avoid writer “speed bumps”…

November 15, 2010

As a writer, I’ve gone through periods when I’ve been incredibly prolific and written at a demon-speed, and there have been times when I sat in front of the computer for a couple of hours and wrote nothing more than a couple of paragraphs. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced writer’s block, but I have hit some writer “speed bumps” that slowed me down considerably.

These are the things that have worked for me to avoid those speed bumps:

  • You know the phrase, the harder you work, the luckier you get? It’s true in writing, too. Only it’s “the more disciplined I am, the more inspired I become.” That’s why writers often say, “write every day.” It’s true. It works. I write every day. The more I write, the easier it is.
  • I stop writing in the middle. It’s natural inclination to end a writing session by ending a chapter, but I try not to do that. I try to start the next chapter and then stop. It makes it easier to pick up if I’m in the middle of something rather at the beginning.
  • I write when I’m not writing. I plan out scenes in my head when I take my daily walk, when I’m driving, when I’m in the shower. That way when I sit down to write…I know what I’m going to say. It takes the pressure off.
  • I try not to get hung up finding that quintessentially perfect word or sentence. I know it’s not what I want to say, I know it’s wrong, so I highlight it and move on. I fix it later.
  • Sometimes I write scenes out of order. If I’m stuck on a scene, but there’s one I’m dying to write that occurs later, that’s the one I write. I find that I learn things about my characters that help me to write the scene I’m having trouble with.

These are my suggestions. I’d be interested in hearing about any tips that have worked for you.

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