the two kinds of stuck

process working Oct 10, 2021
 

Stuck is one of those short, sharp, Anglo-Saxon-derived English words that give such a nice, rhythmic punch to our prose.

Compare it with something of a more romantic flavor, like, say, “immobilized.” A fine word, but you do get more bang for your buck with stuck!

The power of choosing one-syllable words (look at the last sentence of the previous paragraph for an example) is a great topic, but it’s not our topic this week.

This week I want to talk about being stuck. Immobilized. Not making progress. 

There are two kinds of stuck: Not writing stuck and writing stuck.

The not writing kind? We just stop working. We abandon a scene, a chapter, a project. We may have a lot of mental chatter about it, from the blithe “I'm just too busy at the moment” to the mean-spirited “I am undisciplined and unworthy of the name WRITER!” Either way, you're not writing! That’s stuck.

The other, and perhaps trickier kind of stuckness, is when we are stuck AND writing but we’re just going in circles. We keep tweaking the same scene and it gets different but no better. We revise our prose until it feels tight as a drum but the story is still a mess.

Or we write copious outlines do vast amounts of research...but we can’t seem to bring ourselves to actually write THE BOOK. 

That’s what I mean by not writing stuck and writing stuck. I think most of us are familiar with one or both of these gummy situations!

Is there a cure? Of course there is! That’s the topic of this week’s livestream. 


My weekly livestream about story structure, writing craft, and the mindset of the working writer happens on Wednesdays at 1 PM Pacific on YouTube. Come live and participate! Or catch the replays on YouTube or here on the blog.

To watch live and ask questions, subscribe to the YouTube channel here.  

And you can join the Path of the Storyteller Facebook group right here. 

Good writing is my jam! Put me on the mailing list, please.

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