Don't miss a freebie, deal, or new release.Join Now!
banner with headshot and name

Back stretch

It's only day six of 2010, and I'm already having to learn flexibility when it comes to my new goals. It seems that when I'm a bit stumped in my writing, and feel unable to add another word to the scene I'm working on, I play instead.

How will Steve and Libby get out of this one? I don't know. I'll check email. Maybe I'll get a good idea. Yeah, right. Usually the only good idea I get is to respond to comments on my web post, or update Facebook. Speaking of which, hang on, I'll be right back…

I've had to find a way to avoid temptation when I'm less than motivated to move forward in my book. So, yesterday, I moved backward instead. I made a list of fill-in scenes for earlier parts of the book that need to be written. Then I picked one and wrote it.

[NOTE: Here's where the beauty of Scrivener comes in. I can easily move scenes, add in placeholder scenes with synopses, etc. See this link for my post on Scrivener. If you're writing on a Mac, click the link at the right and get it NOW. No, I don't get paid to say that, I just LOVE the program.]

I was still adding to the story, just out of order. My mind re-engaged. Beautiful prose abounded. Well, prose of some sort anyway.

Another trick I used was to start revising already written scenes from earlier in the MS. Now that I know my characters better, and understand how their story will unfold, I could fill in missing pieces of characterization, deepen the emotion of certain events, and just notice areas where there needed to be more…something.

This works for me because I tend to write concise scenes with the minimum to get the job done (and sometimes not even enough for that). My scenes feel very bare bones at times. For those who tend to puke all over the page for 200,000 words and then cut like crazy, I guess it might not be as helpful, unless they're trying to work their way down to a certain word count.

The last thing I've decided to do is give myself small rewards. Realistically, if I can't do any fun stuff until I've finished my 1000 words, I'll probably cheat. Especially on those days when putting in 1000 words is like shoveling snow. It looks easy but takes four times longer than you expect. I will not be able to wait ten hours to check my email or read a few blogs.

My new plan is to allow 30 minutes of “play” for every 3-400 words I write. I'm starting tomorrow. We'll see how it goes. This too may need to be flexed.

Do you flex your goals at all?

The Daily Squirrel: Robert's view

If he married the widow, he'd never have to rob another bank. No more unreliable getaway drivers, run-ins with the cops, or weeping tellers. No more running. He could live the good life and it would be legal. It almost seemed unfair.

Mary Weatherly was in decent shape for a forty-something. And with her cash, he could overlook a few wrinkles and gray hairs. He could get it up for her, no problem. If she kept him happy, he might not even have to keep a girl on the side.

“What about Rita?” John raised an eyebrow at him.

“What about Rita?” Robert asked, picturing the hot woman he'd shared a bed with for over a year. “She doesn't have any money.”

Tell your friends!


  1. Christine


    Yes, I do. But that’s why I love my timer on the microwave. 60 minutes in, time to play at the beep (or throw in a load of laundry… haha).

    I did the same thing today. Banged in more layers, a new scene and sense elements. Got my word count. Whew.

    But we have a mission!! You’ll get finished!

  2. kathleenwall


    Like Christine, I definitely work with time more than word count. If I work a certain amount of time, I can check what’s going on in FB. Sometimes, though, I just have to disconnect from the Internet or I can’t make myself behave. 🙂

    Good job finding a way around your writer’s block!

  3. Reply

    BTW, I clicked the link to read what you had to say about Scrivener. It sounds quite useful, but I’m not a Mac user. I imagine their is some sort of PC equivalent out there?

  4. Christine


    I love Scrivener, but I use it less when I am in super revision. I like the “comments” section for my revision process. In first draft and second draft mode, Scrivener is totally awesome, but I still think I need to figure out how to utilize it more efficiently.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.