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Yesterday, I hit a block... I don't know why particularly but I just had difficulty focusing on writing and made myself sit down to do it but my word count was pitiful and half of what it normally is. Does anyone have any suggestions on upping your word count staying focused even when you feel a bit meh about a scene and you've not figured out why?

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  • Put in a placeholder, outlining what that scene is supposed to be about, and move on to the next one, that you feel less meh about. Come back to it later (at which point, if it's still meh, it probably means the scene itself is wrong). A break - go for a walk, etc - might also help.

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    • I like this advise. I do the same. 

      Also, if I have to think about something and it just does not come to me, I quit writing for the moment. I do not even think about it. Do something different. Any other activity. And after some time it comes to me. Easy and naturally. :)

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      • This is such good advice. You're right. Trying to force it means the scene might be unnecessary. Last night I was in total flow and it was so easy and things were just coming to me. I know I need to go back and tweak some things (lack of description of scenery and characters for example. Realising now that's a weak point) but otherwise I'm just having fun now.

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        • Wise words, Rick 😀

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        • Hi Brigette, I am definitely an amateur when it comes to writing, but I keep some inspiring quotes handy for those days: 'I believe myself that a good writer doesn't really need to be told anything except to keep at it.' Chinua Achebe. The problem comes when you doubt if you are 'a good writer' and a community like this probably helps with learning great practical tips. I like painting and writing and in some ways they're similar - 'writer's block' and the 'blank canvas' can both be daunting. I find when doing both that when you stop concentrating so hard on 'getting it right' or 'upping the word count' your creativity is more likely to click in. Sometimes just trying to improve a paragraph or sentence helps rather than wondering if the whole book is junk.

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          • I'll second that last bit. I get more satisfaction in getting a paragraph just the way I like it than rushing many words to hit targets.

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          • Try not writing linearly for a while - if your'e stuck at a point then go and write a later scene - often by writing a later scene then the one you're stuck on will have something to head toward. I don't normally write in a linear fashion i.e. start at page one and finish on page 378 though I just did that for the first time recently. I didn't get stuck but, as I usually write bits and pieces all over the place it wouldn't have worried me as I'd have just moved on.

            To be able to do this (I'm thinking about Rick's disapproving face up to this point) is you need a firm plot outline - what happens when and who to - I have an xcell spreadsheet with it all mapped out - usually takes about 1000 words. The writing never follows the skeleton exactly but it gives me a foundation and allows me to move around the manuscript writing when and where i want.

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            • Good points, Danny. As you say, you need a skeleton to be able to do this. Also, if you find you miss points in your first draft - foreshadowing, etc - you can always work them in during the second draft. Or third, fourth... 😀

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            • It's brilliant when the words flow and I relish and enjoy those moments, but I do sometimes get stuck going over the same few sentences which prevents me getting to the end of the piece I want to write (I have a strong internal editor that I am trying to tame). When this happens I resort to pen and paper and do a writer's sprint - set the timer for 10-20 minutes and just write what I want to say. I don't worry about sentence structure, repeated words etc. I then dictate this into a word document (which highlights anything truly awful) and go through and add punctuation. It's usually not a great piece of writing but it's something I can work with.

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              • I was in an editing slump until, on the 27th of August (and this is what convinced me to sign up to Jericho too!) an agent on a Jericho call asked to read my full manuscript when I'm done! I've never queried it yet and the spark of inspiration to continue has lit into a flame again.

                ...of course, I've only edited the first 15k-ish so far. The fatigue will set in sooner or later...

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                • This is brilliant news, Elfriede! Best of luck with it all and be great to hear how you get on - I love to read success stories 😊

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                • When I hit a wall in what I am writing I tend to move away from my writing place for say 10 minutes (don't forget to come back!) then go to my reflection journal and start writing ...The reason I am stuck is..... (free writing)

                  I tend to start unpacking the issue then realise I am actually writing again. Then back to what I was doing before. 

                  Good luck and happy writing going forward

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                  • When I hit a wall in what I am writing I tend to move away from my writing place for say 10 minutes (don't forget to come back!) then go to my reflection journal and start writing ...The reason I am stuck is..... (free writing)

                    I tend to start unpacking the issue then realise I am actually writing again. Then back to what I was doing before. 

                    Good luck and happy writing going forward

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                    • When I hit a wall in what I am writing I tend to move away from my writing place for say 10 minutes (don't forget to come back!) then go to my reflection journal and start writing ...The reason I am stuck is..... (free writing)

                      I tend to start unpacking the issue then realise I am actually writing again. Then back to what I was doing before. 

                      Good luck and happy writing going forward

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