Writer’s Blahs — Getting unstuck on writing your novel

I wish that all of us would-be professional writers could be like my newphew Nathan who routinely texts me things like: 4400 words today, 16000 in the last three days!

However, if you’re like me you’re juggling some combination of a paying job, a yard that needs mowing, kids that need to be driven places, and a house that needs fixing and it’s hard to sit down and write the next chapter in your novel.

Here’s a new trick to keep you going.

A novel is not a short story where you’ve got a quick idea of what you want to have happen or where you can craft seven to ten pages around a quirky idea that you had after your third martini the night before.  Novels are beasts who taunt you and dare you to figure them out.  In the middle of your novel, whether you outline in advance or just dive right in, you’re sure to run into a section that is more informational or is transitional but is not a part that you’ve been lying awake at night thinking about writing.

On the other hand are the sequences you’ve replayed in your head a hundred times — the crucial part in the romance where the heroine says something particularly romantic or the action scene where the hero dives through the door does a double summersault and comes up with guns blazing.

The trick is to save the good parts for tomorrow.

Saving the good parts to write tomorrow will bring you back to the computer chomping at the bit.  I’m writing a sequence where I know that in the next room, there is a bad guy lurking.  I know it and the 80 year old mother of my main character knows it and the main character just figured it out because she said she was going to make tea but the only person whoever made tea in the family was his alcoholic father and he only made tea right after he gave the family a good beating (Mom drinks coffee, strong and with two sugars).

So the main character knows that something is wrong and he’s sliding the pistol out of his waist band.

So I hit save and go to bed.

Guess what I want to do in the morning?   I want to write!  I don’t want to play computer games or watch tv or waste my life away playing Farmville.

Nope.  I want to get up and write.  My main character is about to come face to face with something bad and nasty and the cute coed whose life he saved and is sworn to protect is sitting on the couch next to him.  She knows something is wrong but doesn’t now how exciting her life is going to get again in the next paragraph.

So that’s the trick:   Save the good parts for tomorrow.

End your writing day and probably the chapter on a stressful note and be ready to come to the computer tomorrow.


About kentostby
Kent Ostby is a fiction and efficiency writer who is willing to dabble in just about any other phase of writing as well.

One Response to Writer’s Blahs — Getting unstuck on writing your novel

  1. NOzbee says:

    just ask Jordan; I NEVER stop when i want to. I pretty try to slog out the inbetweeness of awesome and then scream my way though those parts that I’ve been dying to write.

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