Let me say upfront that I don’t believe in writer’s block. However, I do believe in being stuck.
Chuck Sambuchino recently tweeted a column he wrote previously for Writer’s Digest about finding ways to increase writing productivity by focusing on brainstorming. The advice includes excellent ways to get unstuck.
He lists five brainstorming opportunities: while driving, while doing chores, while falling asleep, while cooking, and while waiting (in line or in the reception area of the doctor’s office).
Two of his five are favorites of mine. I especially like to “sleep on it” when I’m having problems with a scene. Sambuchino writes: "Think about your novel as you fall asleep, envisioning scenes as if they're in a movie," and I do exactly that. I play different scenes in my head and rewind and edit and replay until I figure out what my character does or says next.
I also "daydream" about plot twists and scene sequels while I'm waiting to see the dentist or the dermatologist or the physician. (Amazing how many doctors I have to see on a regular basis now that I'm on the north side of sixty.)
His other suggestions are not on my list. I need to pay attention when I'm driving, especially on Houston freeways. Getting lost in thoughts about my novel could be as risky as texting. As for cooking, I prefer getting lost in the creative process of making a recipe my own, so I leave story-crafting outside the kitchen.
Doing chores? No, thank you. I pay other people to do those bothersome but necessary chores. Doing so leaves me more time to write.