Keep the Writing Flowing

Type type type.  You’re writing along and all of a sudden you hit a spot that just won’t come together.  Maybe you need to look something up.  Maybe you just can’t get a transition right.   Or your dialog just sounds phony.  What do you do?

Some writers let it bring them to a halt.  They sit staring at the flashing cursor on their monitor wishing they could keep writing, hoping that the write right words will come.  If the words do come, fantastic.  If they don’t . . . then what?

Kristin Nitz tells about the method she learned from author Leslie Connor who marks the spot she gets stuck with one quick phrase.  “Something Brilliant Goes Here.” Read about this method in Kris’s blog post of the same name.

What I do is just a little different.  I frame a brief set of instructions or a question between two sets of Xs.

  • XXwhat does it really feel like to chop down a tree?XX
  • XXhow did I describe this house earlier?XX
  • XXtwo different dates for this. Which is right?XX

This let’s me move on, marks where I had a problem and gives me some basic instructions for how to fix it.  When I reach the end of the manuscript, or another good stopping place, I go back to the beginning and then search for “XX.”   One by one I fix the various problems and smooth out the bumps.

What method do you use?


4 thoughts on “Keep the Writing Flowing

  1. “Hoping that the write words will come” type, write = right. I do this allll the time. >.<

    rough draft – i just keep going. Let it be phony. Let it be bad. When it is finished, it can be edited.

    1. Oh, man! That is so funny! I do this one constantly but have always caught it before I post it. And this is why we sometimes need someone else to read our work.


  2. Sometimes when I can’t find the right words but I know what belongs in a section, I’ll write the really raw and wretched stuff in all capital letters. Then it’s easier to find. Usually a day after I put up the bad description, I can begin smoothing it into a halfway decent one.

    1. That would work! I do capital letters sometimes too. Tonight’s phrase was “SNAPPY HOPEFUL ENDING GOES HERE.” I usually have to do this after someone comes rushing through my office door to tell me about what happened in gym class or what the cat is doing.

      Do you go back and rewrite a few pages as you start writing the next day?


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