When the words just won’t come


I will be honest with you that the title of this blog post isn’t entirely true of my writing right now, although it has been in the past.

But I have been finding that the flow of my WIP is slowing at the moment. Before I began writing I made a comprehensive plan of the plot and in which direction I wanted my story to head.

Of course in actually coming to write it things change and I’ve found that the characters I’d planned have evolved and taken new paths. That’s all well and good. But sometimes you get to a stage in writing a story where things just go a bit stale.

As I said I know where I want to take my story ultimately but I want it to flow seamlessly, with one scene merging into the next so that the narrative doesn’t feel forced.

Right now I’m feeling my writing’s a bit barren. I’ve had a lot of things to focus on apart from this WIP because among other things,as you may have seen from other posts, I’ve been promoting the publication of my debut novel The Inheritance. So I’ve had plenty of distractions.

That’s not the real reason for this dryness in my writing though, I don’t think. I just need to somehow regain a bit of momentum with it, to really tell the story and focus on the general plan I originally came up with and not get too bogged down in dialogue between characters which doesn’t go anywhere.

When I’ve got past this difficult stage of trying to sew the story together seamlessly somehow and I eventually finish the first draft, I’m actually looking forward to sending it out to beta readers and getting their opinions on what’s working and not working, particularly in this part of the story.

Ultimately I want to be able to finish and publish this story by the end of next year but I’m not sure I’ll manage it. Especially seeing as writing a new post for my blog feels a lot easier than moving the action in my WIP along with no visible seams!

What do you do when you’re finding it hard to find the right words to carry a plot forward?

21 thoughts on “When the words just won’t come

  1. I read something once, and I can’t remember for the life of me where, that when you hit that point, when you just can’t get past that part that you are stuck on, when you can’t see how to get from a to b, that the best thing to do was keep writing each day. Keep ploughing forward because you can always go back and change it and once you’ve done that for a while, it will all start flowing again.

    I tried this a while back when I got stuck in one particular scene – I just kept writing. And whilst what I wrote wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to write, it did eventually make everything start to move again.

    Hope that helps? And good luck! I shall be downloading your book soon. 🙂


  2. I’ve tried to write outlines, but they don’t seem to work for me. Strangely enough, I get my best ideas when I put in my ipod and get on the treadmill – call it multi-tasking if you want.


    1. Sorry to hear that Kerry. It’s not a good place to be in is it? But people commenting on this blog post all say I should keep writing – any sort of writing – so I’m sure the same is true for you. You’ll get there!


  3. Everyone goes through dry patches so it’s only a worry if it lasts for months. Here’s what I’ve found works. Sit down and start writing – even if it’s nothing to do with your WIP. Sometimes I’ve found it better to start a new short story – a change is as good as a rest.

    I’ve also gone out and picked up three to five objects and put them on my desk. I then ask how these objects may relate to the next thing I have to write. It sounds weird but it works for me. In fact, I think I’ll blog about it.

    Finally, I now use Scrivener, which I love. It enables me to write little scenes which I can move around like a child doing a jig-saw puzzle. I recommend it.


    1. Thanks for that Martin. As always great advice! You know after I’d read your message this morning I looked up Scrivener and I’ve decided I’ll download the free trial, see how I get on. It sounds really interesting. 🙂


  4. I agree with the other comments Elaine about just keep writing and push on through – even if you think it’s rubbish and even if it’s not your current WIP. That’s what rewriting is for to turn a barren wasteland (which I’m sure it’s not that’s just how you’re feeling at the time) into something beautiful. Go write! x


      1. I’m on a roll with Time Shifters book two but that’s because I’m only at the start. It’s the middle bit where I’m sure it will be a struggle – long way to go until then though so I shall go with the flow for the time being. 🙂


  5. Sometimes it helps me to think about switching scenes around to help with flow. Other times it helps to brainstorm what my novel is about and to think about my themes – even focusing on one word (e.g. jealousy) can help me to link the last part I’ve written to the next.


    1. Hi Laura. Thanks for that – great advice. Brainstorming – now that’s something I hadn’t considered. I did manage to write quite a bit on my WIP last night, so maybe I was worrying a bit too much. But you know sometimes I still do feel like I haven’t got my groove where as other days I’m fine.


      1. Glad you managed to write more 🙂 I know what you mean: some days it’s such a struggle to find the right words, whereas on other days words just flow


  6. I agree with Kate about pushing through. I couldn’t write anything much earlier in the week and now I’ve written thousands of words – but they may be dreadful. I like the idea of using such powerful words as jealousy, Laura. I’ll nick the idea. And I’m glad you enjoyed Blood of Ironside second time round, Elaine. I’m flattered that you wanted to read it after your copy-editing.


    1. Well reading it the second time around I was able to focus on the story more and notice things about it that I hadn’t before. 🙂 Glad your writing’s going well. As I commented to Laura above, yesterday evening I managed to get a whole load of words written but as you said about yours they may be dreadful!


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