writing tips

Writing Tip: Stuck? This is why you need to skip ahead

Did you notice that I was missing for all of November? If you follow me on Twitter, you will probably know that I was busy taking part in Nanowrimo this year. I just didn’t have the time to meet a daily writing target and blog at the same time. Sorry, not sorry.

I have a bad track record when it comes to Nanowrimo. I have attempted it six times and every time I have failed spectacularly. This year though, I was determined to do it properly. I came up with a story idea, started it on the first day of November and tried my best to meet every word target. Did I finally break my losing streak? No, but only because I got to 40,000 words and came down with the flu. I don’t consider it a loss as I have been bitten by the writing bug again and I now have a novel mostly started. Better than nothing and certainly better than my previous attempts.

One of my biggest take aways from Nanowrimo this year was:

If you are stuck just skip ahead.

I have been told by various people that when you hate your writing, are suffering from writers block or are just plain stuck to “write something else”, but personally I think that works even better if that something else is just another part of your book.

If you are not feeling a scene, or if you have written yourself into a corner, just move on. Leave it where it is and write another part of the book that you are really looking forward to writing. You can come back to the part you were stuck on later when you feel better or have a new idea of where it is going.
Skipping ahead means that you are still making some headway with your novel. Instead of giving up or sitting there staring at a blank Word document you can still get some work done. I think everyone has a part of their own novel that they are really excited to finally get to, so just write that instead. Yes it might make your first draft look like a patchwork quilt at the end but all of that can be fixed in the second draft. No one reads first draft except you.


Why you should skip ahead in your novel when you are stuck:

  • Stops you wasting time focusing on the part you are stuck on
  • Lets you write scenes that you are looking forward to writing
  • Keeps you passionate about your story
  • It stops you giving up and claiming you will work on it when you are not stuck any more, which we know wont actually happen.
  • It’s the first draft, no one will see it except you. It can been sewn together later

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