Write through your problems.

On the list of lessons I relearn, relearn, relearn:

When you hit a snag, WRITE. Don't THINK about it. | lucyflint.com

When I hit a story snag, I tend to hold still and think about it.

I am absolutely an overthinker.

And I feel a brick wall slowly building between me and the story. Energy and excitement drain away. The stash of chocolate begins hollering at me from the kitchen.

But this lovely quote--and many other brilliant writing books and teachers--has the right, sanity-saving technique. And when I remember to, that's what I do: grab a pen and a blank sheet of paper, set a timer for five (or eight, or ten) minutes, and just write like crazy. Write without stopping. 

It's amazing what this turns up--how fast I can plunge into better ideas for the characters or plot, ideas that snazz up the problem I was facing. It's like: instead of edging around the lake of story ideas, I'm climbing an overhanging tree and dropping straight in. Going deep.

After five to ten minutes of furious scribbling, I've solved it... or at least, I'm a lot closer to a solution than I was before.

At which point, I'll just have the chocolate to celebrate, right? So everyone wins. Everyone wins here.

Write your way through all of the problems; don't sit around thinking about them. -- Frances Itani