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Roadblock

20 June 2012

These last couple of nights have not been nearly as productive as I’d like. I know where I’m going in my current story — the problem is getting there. The destination is hovering on the horizon, about two chapters away, but I’m not entirely sure what happens in those two chapters just yet.

This isn’t much of a problem for a lot of writers. Some folks I know would just go ahead and skip those two chapters, write the ones they already know, and go back and fill in the missing chapters later. And that method makes a lot of sense to me… it’s just not how I work.

On a first draft, I write in straight lines. A leads to B leads to C, and so on. It might be a holdover from the Twitter Novel stuff, but I think that’s always how I’ve written. That means there’s times when I feel like I should be writing that I spend just thinking, considering how I’m going to get to that destination chapter without taking the jump-ahead shortcut.

When I’m stuck in that place, one thing I find helpful is housework. Dishes, dusting, laundry — stuff that requires little to no conscious thought to accomplish. It lets my mind blank itself out, work on a solution in the background without actively thinking about anything.

Failing that, nap. A nap always works.

What about you, folks? How do you navigate these minor creative roadblocks?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 23 June 2012 0525

    I’m one of those writers who skips chapters. Big leaps at times. Or, like you, I just do something like cleaning or take a nap (or go for a walk). Sometimes, if I really must write in order, I accept that stuff needs to bubble around in my head and give it time for the deeper parts of my mind to work out. Also, for me, juggling; it’s like meditation.

    Your method obviously works. You move through your books at a pace slow enough to think about it all along the way, but quickly enough to be prolific. I’m sure Lisa doesn’t mind when you get your mini blocks and clean!

    • 23 June 2012 2022

      Indeed she doesn’t. She’ll often go to sleep with a trashed kitchen and wake up to coffee and breakfast in a clean kitchen. So, you know, if this whole writing thing doesn’t work out, I suppose I can always go housekeeper-style.

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