When The Words Won’t Come


This was going to be a post on writing and motivation, but wouldn’t you know, the words just won’t come… Actually, it’s ironic. I’ve had a really productive writing day today.

Then it stopped. The well ran dry.

Sometimes the project I want to finish just doesn’t mesh with where I’m at. I’ve completed one novel, almost finished two more, but that last little bit seems to be taking the most effort.

Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful when I meet that inevitable roadblock in one of my projects.

1. Always look ahead. It’s easier to revise a novel once it’s written than it is when the first draft isn’t even there. I’ve found that the kinks tend to work themselves out, or I make adjustments as I go (without looking back to edit), along with notes so I know what to go back and change later.

2. Notes are your friends. I’m a little obsessed with notes. It’s good to keep track of where you’ve been, where you’re going, and any changes you’ve made along the way.

There are so many times where changes could get in the way of moving forward, going back, editing… But this problem can often be solved by just making a simple note of the changes. (This makes revision much easier.)

3. Outline, but not strictly. It’s good to have a loose outline so you know the important plot points along the way as well as the order they come in. It gives structure, yet also leaves room for free flowing inspiration.

Before I write on a given day I write down the important points I want to hit in that writing session. It helps transition me into that story while also giving me some guidelines for the day.

4. Sit down and write. It doesn’t matter how random it is. Open a notepad and start typing whatever comes to mind, or open your file and start adding to your story ignoring a bumpy transition. This can always be changed later and you never know what new ideas or insights you may receive by writing whatever comes to mind.

5. Take a moment to breathe. Close your eyes. Drink a cup of tea. Do whatever it is that calms you and can take you to another world.

6. Be flexible and understand that every story is different. Just because one technique worked for you in the past does not mean it will always work in the future. Make the adjustments that are needed for each individual story. As you get to know your characters and their worlds, you’ll have a better understanding for how their story is meant to come together.

And finally…

7. Accept what comes. There are days where we won’t feel the vibe of a certain story, and that’s okay. Sometimes stories need time to rest while you focus on other things. Accept whatever comes of your writing time, whether you finish a novel you’ve been working on or write a new and completely unrelated idea. Even that seemingly random thought just might come in handy.

Happy writing!


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