I’m going to tell you something personal.
I’m an emotional eater.
I eat when I’m bored, anxious, stressed…and even when I’m happy!
(Stay with me, this will connect to writing.)
I know what doesn’t help. Punishing myself. Restricting food. So I don’t do those things any more.
What does work? Well…I haven’t got it all figured out just yet.
One thing I’ve discovered is if I actively decided to do something different, to walk away from the scenario where I’m standing in front of the fridge, scanning for the thing that’s going to make me “feel better.” Because otherwise, I get stuck in the loop of returning for another bite, and another, because it isn’t actually what I need. And I get more and more frustrated with myself. (Not to mention a little sick to my stomach.)
NOW…let’s talk about writing.
It is a common thing to get stuck while writing, especially while writing something as big as a novel. It happens to everyone.
When we get stuck, we have two choices. We can keep returning to it in the same way (the way I keep returning to the kitchen) and get more and more frustrated that it’s not working.
Or we can experiment with different strategies that might help us get unstuck, to see what works best for us.
If you are stuck (or, rather, when you get stuck), try to approach it with an air of curiosity. Will this work? What about that?
This video covers six common reasons why writers get stuck. Is there a specific reason that YOU get stuck from time to time? Let me know in the comments!
Hello writers. Today I wanna talk about six common reasons why writers get stuck while writing a novel. If you’re feeling like you’ve hit a roadblock and don’t know how to move forward, I hope this episode leaves you feeling like you’re not alone and that it helps you understand yourself and your writing process a little bit more. But before I share them, if you’re stuck, I want you to schedule a free introductory call with me right now, and let’s talk about how to finally get your novel written. I know how frustrating it is to not be able to see the forest for the trees while writing a novel, and that’s where I come in. I wanna help you. The link is below in the description. So the first reason you might be stuck is that you’ve lost motivation. Although I know this feels terrible, it objectively isn’t that big of a deal.
A novel is a big project and it takes a long time. You’re probably going to experience a rush of enthusiasm at the beginning, and then that is going to fade and for the rest of the project, your motivation will come and go in waves. This is all totally normal. The second reason you might be stuck is that you don’t know where you’re headed with the story. In other words, you started out with the beginning of the story in mind, but wanted the muse or some other form of inspiration to show you which way to go. Listen, I’m all for creative inspiration, but a novel is a big project. Kind of like driving across the country. If you don’t know where you’re going and you don’t have a map or at least a general plan, you’re going to wind up on a dead end street in a city and state you’re unfamiliar with.
A third reason you might be stuck is that your inner critic is making noise, right? It’s yelling at you. It’s telling you what you’re writing isn’t any good. If that’s the case, we can’t be surprised that you’re stuck <laugh>. If every time you sit down to write some meanie is telling you it’s terrible, you’re going to believe that it’s terrible. But you’re also not going to have enough confidence to figure out how to make it better. The fourth reason you might be stuck is that you aren’t really invested in your story. Now, this might feel like a bit of tough love, but if you’re going to write a novel, you’re going to need to care about it enough to sustain you through the long effort of writing it, and if you’re not really that invested in it, that might be telling you something important. A fifth reason you might be stuck is because you’re in a hurry, <laugh>. You’re asking, why am I not done with this thing yet?
And the consequence of this is that you’re trying to rush through to the end. The problem with doing that is that you’re probably skipping crucial elements of the story, either at the scene level, the character development level, or at the plot level. When we skip over things, we end up knowing that we have to fill in the gaps, but not knowing how to do it. The sixth reason you might be stuck is because you’ve recognized a plot problem and you don’t know what to do about it. Going back to that cross country driving analogy, it’s like you suddenly realize partway through that instead of driving a hatchback, it would’ve been so much better to have a camper van. Should you stop and get one? Or should you go back to the beginning and retrace your route with that new vehicle, or should you plow through to the end suffering in your tiny car?
Now, it’s possible that you’re experiencing a combination of two or more of these reasons, which is also very common. Or maybe you’re experiencing something completely different. No matter what, I want you to sit with these six reasons and feel out which one of them resonates with you the most. Knowledge is power, my friend. Once you know why you’re stuck, you can start taking intentional steps to get out of the muck and mire and start writing again. And in an upcoming video, I’ll give you some specific strategies to get unstuck. If you like this content and know someone who might enjoy it too, please subscribe and share. Thanks. Happy writing.