Tips for Young Writers 29: Two unusual ways to solve your story problems (possibly)

When you’re grappling with a story problem and just don’t know what to do about it, you might like to try one of the techniques below. They’re what I do and they’re extremely easy.

1) Sit back, close your eyes and silently ask yourself for the solution. Then just relax and listen to your thoughts. If something comes to mind write it down no matter how silly or irrelevant it seems. Don’t question it, just write it. This may be all it takes to find your solution, but if not …

2) Try leaving your writing area for a few minutes and doing something menial. I’ll sometimes hang the washing on the line, tidy the kitchen, check the letterbox – anything that distracts me from the problem. When I return to work, more often than not the solution has somehow become obvious.  It’s as if, sometimes we need to stop trying so hard to get things right. And maybe our thoughts sometimes need a breather so they can untangle themselves.

July 4, 2011

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