Being Stuck

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Please tell me I’m not the only one who hits a point in a piece I’m writing and gets stuck! Also, I can’t be the only one to revise a story (or other work) a zillion times and become tired of said story. Seriously, I have a hard time even reading, let alone finishing, my story, “Empty Nest,” because I’m stalled and sick of reading it, and I’ve been working on it for years! Well, okay, on and off I’ve been working on it, but not for 5 straight years (or how ever many years it’s been since I wrote the first draft). It’s like I take a year on; I take a year off.

What helped me to get unstuck (this time around–other times was sheer will!) was taking an online writing class. It was a generative course, in which doing the assignments and exercises help you start something new, whether it’s a poem, short story, novel, essay, memoir. Story Studio Chicago (this is NOT an ad) is the place that runs the class. They also have in-person classes, but since my anxiety won’t allow me to attend a “real life” class, online works so much better. The only thing is that writing classes aren’t cheap. They’re usually $200 or so for a 4- or 5-week class, and more ($300 or $400 for a longer class (12 weeks, maybe?). But if you can swing it, it is SO worth it.

Since taking that class, I’ve started many new stories. The problem is, I still have to finish “Empty Nest” and my other story, “Lucky Charm,” neither of which I’ve touched in months, if not a year. I’m stuck. On the other hand, I have (as I mentioned in my last post), been writing every day since the class began. I just can’t get myself to revise these stories. Maybe I’ll need to use sheer will again, but I don’t know if that’s a sustainable practice.


Do you ever get stuck in your writing? How do you become unstuck? Do you ever get tired of any of your stories/essays/poems, etc.?

Author:

I hold an MFA in poetry from The Ohio State University. I'm a fiction writer, blogger, wife, pet mom, and Ohio State Buckeye!

22 thoughts on “Being Stuck

  1. I get stuck a lot of times. Sometimes because I can’t put my thoughts in words, sometimes because I don’t feel like writing it. And in another case, it once took me two years to find an ending to the last part of my poem. I’ve been searching for a sequel to one of my stories for past four years.

  2. Stuck ‘yes’ – one third way thru a writing challenge I found myself feeling like my hobby had become a daily chore so I printed out the pages and looked at the positive aspect = nothing is a waste of time. I’m sure you’ll finish those stories. Look at how much you have accomplished recently! 🙂 An idea: some writers ask another person to read some of their work and give honest feedback.

    1. I like that you realized that nothing is a waste of time. I agree. I do have a writing coach who hasn’t heard from me in a while! Thank you for the encouragement. 🌻🌷

  3. Hi Barb, Glad your class was so inspiring! When I get stuck, I share my work with my writing group, or I start fresh with a blank page and rewrite the story. Then I combine the new and the old. My two cents, Rebecca

    1. That’s part of the problem — I have to find a writing group to join. I did join the Chicago chapter of Shut Up & Write but I have yet to attend one of their meetings. I will make a point of going next time they meet. Thanks for commenting!

        1. No, I’ve only been to Madison once, although my husband and I loved it there! I have taken a few online writing classes through UW’s continuing studies program. It would be great to met for coffee, but I’m just not sure when I’ll be there next. ☕️

  4. Barb, thanks for sharing this. We’ve all been here and I’m stuck on a story now and have no idea how to produce the words that need to come, so I’ve focused on other projects. I’m thinking that by NOT focusing on it, the solution will come. Ha! Fingers crossed.

    1. I’ve switched my focus to doing writing exercises/challenges that I find on the Internet. I make myself do the writing even if I don’t like the exercise. It helps generate new work and break through writers block. I know what you mean about not focusing (on a story). I’ve set aside 2 stories for about a year. It’s time to get back to them. I guess I ought to push myself to do it no matter how “painful” it is! Fingers crossed. 🌻❤️🌷

      1. It can be tough. Sometimes I wonder, do people really want to hear all about my life? Then I look at my readers, there are also amazing that includes you Barb XX

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