When the Pen Won’t Move

Okay! You began writing; words flow from your pen. Then suddenly, the pen stops. It simply won’t move. Many refer to the condition of stopped pen as W. B. I don’t like to spell the words, but most writers know what W. B. means.

I guess you have determined that I’m old school. The mention of “pen” dates me. Yes, I write my first drafts with a fountain pen. Then I commit the works to my laptop. Many writers never use a pen. I find that a fountain pen keeps perfect, natural rhythm with my heartbeat. Thus, words flow constantly. Then whenever I commit my draft to my laptop, I find rewrite and edit much easier. Since I am a visual learner, the mistakes that show up on my laptop, I cannot ignore. That’s why I use a pen!

However, this post isn’t about fountain pens. The post centers on times when the pen refuses to write. Pens can become stubborn as you know. Although I have never experienced stopped pens, some of my writing friends have. Here are a few tricks you may use to get your pen moving again.

  1. Set Writing Goal

Before you put pen to paper, determine how many words you will write. Set writing goals. When you know that you will write so many words before you stop, it keeps your mind operating in the go mode. Do the math! If you write 1000 words per setting, in ten settings you have 10,000 words. Your novel needs 70,000 words. You now have a visual of the number of settings it will take to publish your novel.

2. Keep Writing

So, you begin to write. Suddenly, you can’t write a single word. Keep writing, any words, until you reach your goal for the setting. By keeping the pen moving, your ideas will soon relate to the topic you have chosen.

3. Forget Writing Rules

Your first draft need not be perfect. When I can’t think of the exact word, I use a ________ for it. I’ll fill in the blank later. I do the same with a title, arena or a lesser character whose name I have forgotten. In other words, I want my pen moving!

4. Have Two or Three Going

My number one way to keep my pen moving: I keep two or three novels going at all times. If I begin to slow down on one, I switch to another. Before I finish a novel, I have another started. Currently, I am finishing two books. Remember, your goal is to keep your pen moving.

5. Always Have a Journal Handy

I make sure my journal or legal pad is close by. Even as I writing, a new title pops up. When I’m having a conversation with someone, a title leaps into my mind. I write it down immediately. My wife gets so upset because many of my ideas come at 3:00 in the morning. I hop out of bed and write the idea in my journal. With your journal handy, you never forget an idea.

6. Find your Ideal Time

Each writer has a time when he is most creative. Some times for writers is morning. Some of the best times for creativity is night. Whichever time suits you, learn when is your best time. Then, you can set aside your best time to write. Choosing a time to write doesn’t mean you write every five days. Set a time to write every day, go to you favorite place and write.

So here’s the deal. In order to keep the pen moving, you set your writing goals. Writing goals keep you writing. As you write, forget about grammar, spelling and formal rules–just write. You can correct the mistakes when you edit and rewrite. Further, have two or three novels going at the same time. Keep your journal or legal pad near you at all times. Then, find the right time and place for you to write. By following these simple suggestions, you’ll keep your pen moving. Your pen won’t stop!

I’m always available to answer questions or to help. Check out the services I offer on my service page. Let me know how I can help.

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