Getting Unstuck

A writing tip from Alan Orloff

We’ve all been there, facing a blank page and a blinking cursor. How do you get past "stuck?"

Try these tips:

Work on a different section of your manuscript. Jump to the end, or to a scene where you know exactly what's going to happen. The words might flow more freely.

Do something else. Watch TV, go to the movies, lace up your jogging shoes and get some exercise. Stop banging your head against the wall and trust your subconscious to sneak up on the problem from a different angle.

Read a book by an author you admire to absorb the flow and energy of something you enjoy.

Write something in a different genre or form. If you are a crime writer, try writing something that's humorous or autobiographical. If you write prose, try poetry. If you write novels, try a short story. Or log some serious time on Twitter.

Write in a different style or voice. Switch from first person to third (or vice versa) to shake things up.

Read an inspirational book on writing. Stephen King's On Writing or Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird are two good examples.

Mix up your routine. Try music or try writing at a different time of day than usual or in a different place.

Bribe your muse. Promise your muse you'll do something nice for him/her after you get a few scenes written. Lunch with a friend, a round of golf, or a box of chocolates have been know to work (so I've heard).


Alan Orloff is the author of the Agatha Award-nominated Diamonds For the Dead. His latest release is Ride-Along, available for Kindle.

Trey Powers never killed a cop before. Never had to. But after his cousin Jimmy has been framed and murdered by Officer Karla Cheng, one of Hafton Police Department’s finest, Trey has no choice. He must avenge Jimmy’s death, one way or another.

To get closer to his quarry, Trey joins the police department’s Citizen Action Team, and when a rival team member is killed, fingers point at Trey. Now, he’s the hunted one, and the harrowing race is on: Can Trey bring Cheng to justice before she frames him for murder? Or does something even worse? Ultimately, Trey finds his life in jeopardy—along with the lives of those he loves—after embarking on a terrifying ride-along with Jimmy’s cold-blooded murderer.

Trey Powers never killed a cop before.

Never had to.

Click on the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.


Deb said...

I needed this! I'm stuck on one sentence that keeps me from submitting my entry. Time to bribe the muse with promises of a glass of wine if we can just get it done.

Thanks, Alan.

Alan Orloff said...

Deb, sometimes you need more than one glass :)

Deb said...

Agreed. I had to bribe that witch with a whole bottle.