Getting stuck in the middle of a scene is the most annoying shizbiz to happen when I’m working on a story, and it’s enough to make you quit altogether if you’re trying to figure out how to write a book for the first time. I’ll be working on a project, cooking along like a runaway semi, and then BOOM! The ideas just stop. Like, for real stop. I don’t even know how it happens. It’s like one second my brain is just pouring creativity and the next it’s saying, “You know what? I’m just gonna stop working right now because I can.”
Yeah, sometimes my brain can be a huge jerk-off.
A long time ago, in the faraway land of not being a graduate student slash dad slash all the other stuff I am, I’d take these brain lulls as cues to wrap it up. Those were the storybook days of endless free time where sugarplums and lollipops grew aplenty, and my landlord was cool if I just didn’t pay the rent sometimes. Those days have since gone the way of the buffalo, man, so quitting just because the words stop flowing isn’t an option. Sometimes I have to give the muse a kick in the ass.
So how do you keep the ideas flowing if your brain decides to punch the clock? Some people say writing prompts can help, but I could never really get down with writing prompts. For me, the answer is journaling, but not in like a “Dear Diary” kind of way. I just pull out the notebook and start writing like I’m talking to myself, which isn’t much of stretch seeing as I talk to myself out loud all the time. I write about where the story is, where I want it to go, what the characters are doing, what has happened so far, why I’ve had them doing what they’re doing — you get the idea, right? It only takes a couple of pages before I’ve got some plan for where to go next and I’m cooking with gas again.
So yeah, give it a try. Maybe a little bit of talking to yourself is what you need to bump that word count a little higher for the day.