Three Things to Write When You’re Not Writing!

Hello bloggers and blog-readers,

Best Cat In the World and I had a bit of a rough month last month. He’s something of a Nanowrimo widow, lamenting my paying more attention to my keyboard than to him. It would have been amusing if I hadn’t been trying to build my word count.  It was a tight race, but I did make it in spite of him.

I know, our writing goals are not typically word –count based. That’s a November thing. But, we all get writer’s block when we just don’t feel like we can go on with a project. I realized that the things that can build your word count in November, can help you keep writing when you’re blocked, too.

Now, I realize that these are things that will likely be edited out of the final draft. Do not let that bother you. The act of getting it on paper, or at least into your word processor, will help the world that you’re writing about become more vivid to your mind’s eye and enhance your writing, even if your readers never read these text-building tricks.

1. Descriptions – Describe something. Add as much detail as you want. Try to picture the character’s face, clothes, house, or the room they’re in, as vividly and in as much detail as you can. Write down how many steps are on the staircase to the bedroom, or how many buttons are on a character’s shirt. Write about what they’re wearing or what they’re eating or what the layout of their kitchen is. Yes, you do not want to stop your scene and add in a long paragraph detailing your main character’s shoes in your final draft. But, thinking about what kind of shoes your character would wear and writing a description can be a fun way to think more deeply about your character. The information is valuable, even if it’s only read by you.

2. Character Dreams – Write out, in detail, a vivid dream your character had. This is a great way to help crystallize your character’s hopes, ambitions, fears, and a great way to work out how their back-story colors their current personality. It’s really an enjoyable way to enter into your character’s psyche and explore. Understanding how your characters tick is a great way to work out how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking about, and what they’ll do next. I love this one when I’m stuck.

3. Change point of view – Now, this one is not universal. It only works if you’re writing in the first person, or a limited third person point of view. But, if you really don’t know what to do next, try writing a scene over again from a different key character’s point of view. How does that character see the actions of your primary character? What’s going through their head as the action unfolds?  This can completely change the way you think about a scene, and offer a lot of ideas on how to progress.

We do not need to limit our writing to things that will be read by others. Writing for ourselves only, to see our thoughts on paper, has value. These steps will not enrich your prose if you leave them in. But, the process of writing them can help strengthen your grasp on your characters and their world.

And isn’t that what we all need when we’re stuck?

Happy Writing