**** UPDATE **** I tweaked this post a little bit, added a few more tips and published it on Ezine. It’s official, I am a published writer. (Who cares if I didn’t get a dime?)
It happens to all of us. You stare at your keyboard and read the same sentence ten times, trying to fine tune so it strings together fluidly and matches the elaborate scene in your head. In the end, you have tortured the English language, and now you have the shanks. Here are a few things that get my neurons firing again:
1. Step away from the computer and go get something to eat. You would be surprised at how poorly your brain functions without the right nutrients. It’s a nice distraction that you can turn into a character development exercise by imagining what some of your characters might choose to eat.
2. Do some housework. Mindless tasks are extremely therapeutic. Shuffle some laundry around and pick up items that are out of place. Sometimes a disheveled environment sneaks its way into your mind and tangles your thoughts. If your house is clean, then choose a closet to unclutter. Organizational tasks become very subliminal for me, and it’s worth a shot. You could also go outside. It might sound insane, but my favorite appliance is a leaf blower. I rather enjoy the immediate satisfaction of blowing away the debris making a mess on my front or back porch. You could parallel it to your cluttered mind… it really works for me and I have calloused both hands from using it so much.
3. Play some music. Music can put you in any number of moods, so choose to your specific block (ie. romance, choose something romantic and so forth). You could also opt for classical, my preference is piano. The pure sound of the keys have a profound effect on my thought process and I don’t get caught up in the lyrics, which can sometimes be distracting.
4. Do some writing exercises. Write in different narrative modes and from different character points of view. I’ve learned a difficult lesson with my first novel, and it’s resulted in rejection from the only agent I’ve queried thus far. If you can’t articulate the voice of your novel and its concept, then you’ll have difficulty hooking an agent that will ultimately believe in your manuscript the same way that you do. It’s not enough to have a good story.
5. Start over from the beginning, and edit. Editing is probably the easiest thing you can do to find a way back into your story. The more you read what you’ve written, the easier it is to find the voice of your story and see what is working, and what isn’t. If this doesn’t work, then you need to shut down your computer and step away from your manuscript for a few days. Sometimes you get so close to your characters that you can no longer tell your story.
6. Fix something. If you life in a house as old as mine, then there is always something to either renovate or repair. So do it. Taking your mind through a practical troubleshooting exercise can expand into your subconscious mind and allow you to connect dots that you previously could not.
I’m always open to suggestions too, so if anyone has something that works well for them, I’d be interested in hearing it.