By: Emily Eileen Moreshead and Erin Rose Hennessy
We all love it when the words come to us as easily as the river flows downstream. When we know exactly where we want the story to go and exactly which roads we need to take to get there. If only all stories were that easy. Sometimes we as writers find ourselves stuck, or feeling that the current story just isn’t going in the direction one or both of us imagined.
When that happens it is best to keep the flow going in some way, whether it be by continuing the story in another direction, or omitting and rewriting paragraphs, or even chapters in order to keep the pace. It is sometimes necessary to start over not with the complete story scrapped but with the framework still intact.
One important thing is not to force the story. If something isn’t working, change it. Maybe take a break and write something else for awhile. I (Erin) find that it’s easier to find my flow on days that I’m well rested and not stressed. So, if I’ve had a particularily challenging day at work, I’ll suggest we write something “cute” for the night. The sort of filler stories that fanfiction writers call “fluff,” because they’re tooth-rottingly adorable, and they might make for good additions to a future story, but they don’t really have much of a plot.
I ,(Emily), agree with Erin in not forcing a story that just isn’t there. And I will add that it is most important not to stop writing when you feel the block. Writing anything is exercise for the brain so even a cute story or a drama filled tale or one of woe is worth more time than staring at a blank screen hoping your creative juices get squeezed. You can’t flow from an empty faucet!
And ideas can come from anywhere. Sitting back and just watching the goings-on, picking up a book, turning on the TV, surfing the web – spend some time doing something else, and the muse may come running back!