Lindsey R. Loucks

Author of Romance and Other Scary Things

My Creative Juices Have Turned to Sludge

My brain and I aren’t getting along so well anymore. Does someone know where I can get electroshock treatment? I don’t even know if that will help. So remember how ecstatic I was when I signed with Crescent Moon Press? Don’t get me wrong – I’m still crazy happy about that!

Me, after I signed with CMP.

Now the pressure is on though. I wrote a book, and someone liked it! Hurray! But this book is the first in a series, and the rest should be equally good, if not better, so my brain tells me. *gulp* What? Equally good if not better? Excuse me while I go curl up in a ball and count the strange spots on the ceiling for the next five years. Nobody told me the rest of the series has to be equally good if not better OR ELSE, but my brain thinks that’s what I need to do.

So I started writing book two. My goal was to finish the first draft over the summer since I have time then. I’m maybe halfway through, which isn’t too bad considering it’s only July 10th. But so far the story is just a bunch of scenes. Nothing threads through it to tie it up in a nice, cohesive whole. There aren’t many twists (yet), but in book one, there were twists coming at you from every direction. I think the problem is I don’t have the story plotted out well enough, but the other problem is I can’t think of a plot! Yikes! I know exactly how the story begins. I know exactly how the story will end. It’s all that stuff in the middle that’s killing me.

Yeah, there are things I can do to get the old creative juices flowing again, like:

1. Take a break – I’ve done this. It didn’t work.
2. Read a good book – I’m doing this. It’s not working.
3. Watch a movie – I watch movies all the time. It’s not working.
4. Write something else – I don’t have any ideas for anything else! There was a contest for novellas I thought about entering, but my brain couldn’t pump out any ideas.
5. Go to the store and read some greeting cards – This is stupid. I’m not going to do this. This was actually a tip I found on the internet for writer’s block. No foolin’.

Does anyone have any other tips?

Oh, and my series is a dark and scary YA (think zombies, ghosts, possession, witches, etc), so if you have any horrorific ideas you’d like to toss my way, I will catch them and give you a big virtual hug!


  1. :'( Sadly, I can’t help either. I have a tendency to write quite episodically A LOT. Nuthin’ for it but to keep at it, I guess? 🙂

  2. Hmmm…the downside of success? I am still looking for that first deal, but exactly this kind of problem lurks in the back of my mind at times. Trouble is, book 1 will have been so many years in the making, but they’ll expect book 2 in a fraction of the time, as good if not better, and all done while promoting book 1. Yuck!

    Rather short of plot ideas – that is an area where I already struggle.

    Ideas for unsticking the creativity: Have you tried talking to your characters in some way? Interview one or two of them as individuals, ask them questions about their situation, let them speak for themselves. You can learn surprising things about them, and that might suggest ideas for moving things along. After all, the plot is supposed to be driven by the characters, not by an all-powerful narrator telling them what to do – isn’t it? 🙂

  3. I’m in there with you at the moment, with my own pressure pushing on my shoulders. But today I reminded myself I’m a professional. Ultimately, I need to get to work so I’m taking one hour at a time. Some days it’s all I can do. Good luck!

  4. I’m often the same: I have the very beginning and the very end, but the middle is just murky gluck.

    Write a fan fiction of your own book? It could turn out to be the next 50 Shades.

    Let some minor characters go off on tangents? They could be hiding important pieces to the story.

    Write a blurb or a query? It could help you focus on what the main obstacle/goals are and what you want to achieve with the characters and story.

  5. I totally get you, Lindsey! That’s how I ALWAYS write. Sometimes, without the ending (I just think beginning and take it from there). But I usually think beginning and end and just fill the space.

    When I run out of ideas, I usually think of really unlikely stuff that could happen – they might not even fit the book – and kinda make it fit.

    Have you tried the ‘What if?’ strategy? So, I have writers block. What if my MC had a throbbing migraine too and couldn’t focus on her decision making which would cause her to screw up at some point? But wait, Migraines are boring – she’s actually cursed/a zombie ate her brain/a ghost possessed her – which is why she can’t think properly and slaps the beejeebus out of her love interest and they break up.

    Okay, shutting up now. Hope I at least made you laugh. O:)

  6. Fold laundry. Drive around in the car with music blasting. Take a walk in the woods–on the beach–etc. Clean the house. Trim the hedges. Pull weeds.

    The answers are there. You just have to free your subconscious by doing something mundane.

    Well, it works for me. :^)

  7. I find myself distracting myself. Yep. That’s what I said. I deliberately distract myself. I get stuck on Facebook, or blogging, or making business cards and book marks. But writing?

    Here’s one for ya. Eggz Blast at CNN games. For awhile it was Monkey Gems.

    I have no idea what’s wrong with me.

  8. Lisa – yes, you’re right. I’ll just keep writing and hope something shiny happens!

    Ian – I have tried talking to my MC, but she’s so discombobulated from book one, she’s spitting out things that happen in the wrong order!

    Alexa – excellent advice!

    Fairchild – a query letter just might work. I started one, but didn’t finish. I’ll try again!

    Stef – you always make me laugh! I’ll try the What If game too!

    Penelope – you’re exactly right! I just need to free my mind enough so it can go freely without all this pressure!

    Louann – Words With Friends will be my downfall! 🙂

  9. Congratulations! And the taking a break thing and working on something else usually work wonders for me. Exercising gets my brain moving too. Gives the subconscious time to work out some kinks.

  10. Alison – thank you! I came up with an idea for something else, so that’s making me happy for now. Book 2 will just have to write itself without me for awhile!

  11. We all have those moments… I try to walk away and read something, which always gets me back into it:)

  12. I’m glad I’m not alone, Tania!

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