Insecure Writers Want to Know
How do you keep going when it becomes difficult to get to the end of your story?
Take a Short Break:
If I’m having trouble getting to the end of the story I’m working on, sometimes I save what I’ve got and go for a walk. It doesn’t matter the weather. I just dress appropriately and head outside. I walk down to the lake by my home, or into the woods. Fresh air and nature help me clear my mind and rest my eyes from the computer screen. A change of scenery. A chance to think things through without the words or blank screen pestering my mind or eyes. I take a small notebook and pen with me in case ideas come to mind.
Ask Specific Questions:
I hate to admit it, but I talk to myself about what’s happening in the story, remind myself the point I’m trying to make. Ask myself specific questions about the characters, their motivation, their backstory or problems.
Talk to Others:
I used to brainstorm with my mother how to fix a problem in the story. I’d get up from the laptop and walk around her kitchen, spouting off what I was trying to accomplish with the writing. She’d sit there, patiently listening, asking questions. But she’s in Heaven now. Yes, I still talk to her.
If I’m lucky, I can call one of my fellow writers and talk to her about the problem I’m having in the story. I believe everyone needs someone to talk to about story. This is why critique partners or writing groups are so important. This is why you all are so important to me.
Write the Ending:
Sometimes, I just type notes about what I want to happen at the end of the story and then see if I can bridge from where I’m running into problems to the end of the story. Rough notes on what should or could happen. Then smooth the notes into scenes. And then smooth it again. I’m trying to trick my mind to get to the end. Then I revise and hope things work out.
Let Your Subconscious do the work:
And sometimes I just need to walk away from the story for the day or maybe a few days. Even a week or two. Sleep on it. Don’t actively think about it. Distract yourself. Let your subconscious work on the problem.
It will be interesting to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. It’s wonderful having a topic to share our thoughts on each month. I am extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors in this writing and publishing journey.
Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web. Please come again!
This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I’d like to thank our co-hosts for June: SE White, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguire, Joylene Nowell Butler, and Jacqui Murray! Please visit them if you can.
Our group posts on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.
22 thoughts on “5 Tips to Help You Get to the End of Your Story”
Thanks for the great tips. Talking to other writers can be really helpful. When I’ve gotten stuck in my manuscript, I turned to my critique partners, and they really helped me out.
Good for you, Natalie, for having critique partners. They are invaluable. I wish I could say I have specific critique partners, but I don’t. I do have writing friends that I bother…ahem…ask help from occasionally. And of course, I have all of you at IWSG!
Thank you so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful day!
Sometimes I just let my subconscious do the work. I also rely on test readers to help me.
So wonderful to have “test readers,” Alex. Lucky you! It’s always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!
I use a plot worksheet to hammer out the main points, but I still get stuck at times. Usually taking a break or asking ‘what if?’ and trying out some scenarios helps.
Great points, Melissa! Thank you so much for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. All best to you!
I’m sure a lot of the best writing work goes on when we’re not even thinking about it. Stepping away is definitely key at times.
Yes it is, Nick. Thank you so much for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. All best to you, sir!
You’re very normal, Victoria. I do the same thing. There’s an old native prayer that says “Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.” I believe that.
Wow! So do I, Joylene. Thank you so much for sharing that bit of wisdom. It is so true. It’s always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!
Walking and talking to yourself should do the trick!
Oh my gosh, Lee! I do that all the time. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. Thanks for your insight. Have a beautiful day!
What a kind and grateful post, Victoria! With some great tips too. I find if I distract myself, my subconscious goes to work. Usually my characters are rebelling in some way. They set me straight on what is happening. Nature is wonderful in so many ways, from inspiring you to soothing an overwrought brain. I usually have notepaper and a pencil with me. But I’ve never written ideas on them. I take photos, and they can spark my imagination. Have a great June!
Thank you so much for your kind words, Louise. I truly appreciate them. Nature is excellent for the soul, whether you write notes while enjoying it or snap photos. Photos are wonderful reminders to set you in the beauty of nature while writing. Real inspiration, for setting, for peace of mind.
Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing, Louise. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your weekend!
I like your tips. I too talk to people who are gone, and I walk. I have to remind myself these days to turn off the audio books while I walk so that my subconscious can do its work. It’s a scary places sometimes so I often deliberately distract myself, but that isn’t helping my writing.
But sometimes it’s necessary to “distract” ourselves, Rebecca. And then sometimes it’s good to listen to our thoughts and allow our subconscious to work.
Thank you for your kind words and for visiting Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful weekend!
Love all of your tips! I’ve had success with letting the subconscious work out some kinks. And sometimes, the breaks are more accurately described as “long.” 🤣
Oh my gosh, Lee. My breaks can become “long” as well. When the subconscious works, it’s great. When it doesn’t…sometimes I need to recharge it…and even then. Let’s just say, I need all these tips to mix and match to keep going.
It’s always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your weekend!
Some great tips!
Have a little bit of writing-related fun where you give your inner writer a little TLC such as, doodling or writing some bad poetry.
You are so right, Michelle! It is VERY important to give your writer self a little TLC once in a while. I usually just get mad when things aren’t working out. I need to be more generous to my writing self.
Thanks for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!
Ooh, yes, asking questions is a good tip! I try to ebd each writing session with a question to be answered next time.
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Deniz! I’m so glad you are here.
What a great idea! Posing a question allows your subconscious to work on it until your next writing session. Thank you so much for sharing your insight. I’m going to add this to my list of what to do when I finish a writing session. All best to you!