Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dealing with Writers Block

First of all, if you haven't already commented on my author blog for a chance to win Sarah Sundin's A Distant Melody, do so now! If you mention you're a GTW (Go Teen Writer) reader, you'll get entered twice. Sarah's an awesome writer and the book is amazing. Definitely worth taking 10 minutes to read the interview and leave a comment.

Moving on.

A reader e-mailed to say, I have ideas when I'm away from my writing, then freeze up when I have time.

I feel for you.

My guess is that most writers have their "break through" moments when they're not actually at a place where they can write. Mine often happen when I'm doing dishes or straightening my hair. I'm not sure why it happens like that, but it does.

Especially now that I'm doing the mom thing and often can't just dash to my computer when inspiration strikes, I've had to develop a system for jotting down ideas. This system has taken many forms over the years. Right after I read Bird by Bird, I carried note cards with me. But the problem then was that I never knew how to file them. So they just got stuck in a box, and every once in awhile, I'd leaf through them.

Then I started jotting notes to myself on whatever scrap of paper I could find lying around. When I was able to get to my computer, I put them on there. I had a word document for new ideas and scraps of dialogue that I liked, but didn't know how to use yet. For stories I'd already started, I had a separate document where I kept thoughts or ideas. Such as, "Chase knew she was with Palmer. Points out her lack of honesty." While this means very little to anyone else, I know what I'm talking about.

Now that I've joined the world of Smart Phones, I keep track of ideas in the notepad program and then (ideally) back it up to my computer. I've yet to do the "back it up" step yet, but I will.

There's probably as many systems for keeping track of ideas as there are writers. The important thing is to figure out what works best for you, so you can make use of whatever precious writing time you have.

See you back here on Thursday!


  1. Thanks for the suggestions, Steph! ...now all I need is to GET an idea. Lol. :)

  2. That made me laugh, Emii. I definitely go through "idea draughts." You're not alone!