Day twenty-eight

If you get stuck while creating a long piece of writing, try this:

1. Change your position. Get up out of your chair, moving furniture if you have to, so you can sit on the floor. Get as far away from your ‘desk head’ as you can by making a creative change – for me this was restructuring the book using coloured pens, a pin board and pieces of card. While sitting crossed legged on the floor. Sipping coffee. With loud music.

2. Avoid the desk from now on. It’s too constricting. Work on your bed. Work *in* bed if necessary (though not for long periods).

3. Keep a small notebook by your side at all times. On the first page write: Brain-dump notes and use it as a container for all the other thoughts that come up as you try to focus on your writing. Scribble them down and get them out of your head. Later, when you’ve finished working, you can copy the notes over into their relevant homes (most likely other notebooks & planners.) Anal but very effective.

4. Call a trusted friend or family member for support while taking a break for lunch. Skype them if you can, as the sight of their face will make you feel less alone in your writing garret.

5. Avoid drinking coffee after 5pm if you want to have any hope of switching your brain off before sleep.

5. Do not, under any circumstances, give up.

20 responses
  1. Tracey

    Such wonderful advice … I shall print this out and keep your words by my side to use as needed! :)

  2. Hannah

    Great advice.
    I find my brain dumps to be very effective.

  3. mau

    thanks! i needed that!

  4. Charlane Killough Griffith

    never give up…i like that a lot

  5. Lisa

    Sounds like excellent advice, especially not giving up!

  6. short poems

    Great advice!

  7. Michelle

    I try to write in bed sometimes but it always makes me so sore! Great tips though, I especially like the idea of getting up and moving around. I’ve been doing the same with my art journal lately and it helps immensely :)

  8. Natalie

    The last is the most important thing to remember. Do Not give up. It took me ten years to write my dissertation but I finally finished it last year. It was an exhausting undertaking but I never gave up. Keep Going!

  9. Terresa Wellborn

    “Do not, under any circumstances, give up.”

    Best advice, ever. :)

  10. Amelia

    I can tell you are doing soooooo well! I sometimes really do send myself crazy with my own brain and ideas. Notebooks abound, must sort them some time soon.

    Good luck, and I look forward to seeing what transpires from this intense creative time :)


  11. Brooke

    I take a lot of breaks when I work ~ wander in the garden, make another pot of tea…very helpful.

    I like the brain-dumping idea. And definitely agree about the caffeine ban after 5.

  12. KJ

    I’m one of those people that coffee doesn’t seem to over-stimulate. The hot part can keep me awake, but I never notice caffeine doing much to me.

    I do love these tips. Creativity needs to stretch and have changes in scenery.

    Smiles, KJ

  13. margie

    in anticipation of ‘our” course i have already started the process of thought dumping. a new journal at a discount price, always a happy thing, filling up with whatever!

  14. Amisha


  15. Traci

    Right on time. Needed this!

  16. Marji

    YAY! perfect words and good advice =)

  17. honora

    great suggestion about switching positions! working on the floor sounds so refreshing. in the middle (or beginning?) of my first novel. it’s alternately the most difficult thing in the world and the most amazing thing in the world.

  18. leonie

    i have the worst writer’s block ever. and i’ve totally brought it upon myself

  19. ida

    i especially like tip no 5, am currently working on a book but it’s not easy. stay focused! -ida

  20. lizzie bee

    thanks for the post and inspiration of your blog susannah! i am currently trying to write thesis for my master’s degree, and its harder than i ever imagined it would be. some days i really need to be reminded not to give up!

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