Pulling Out of a Stall

Planes stall when their angle of attack prevents them from getting lift from the flow of air. Cars stall for a variety of reasons, anything from the wrong mix of fuel to mechanical problems. Writers’ brains stall as well and like cars this occurs for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes I run out of ideas. Sometimes I’m stressed. Sometimes my brain is just too tired to put words together. Sometimes depression will stop me from writing. Sometimes I’m too easily distracted. Stalling is not precisely writers block, but it can lead there.

This week my brain is stalled because I have too many competing ideas and my brain is switching rapidly between them causing a stall.

One important thing I’ve learned over the last year is how to deal with a stalled brain. Like someone whose ancient Datsun B210 just needs to last a few more years, I’ve had to learn how to restart from a dead stop while hoping no one notices.

I have a bag of tricks I use can constantly add to:

  • I narrate ideas into my recorder and then transcribe them using Dragon. This works because I am a person who gets ideas while talking.
  • I discuss my potential ideas with my husband who responds back and pretty soon I have a nice little brainstorming session.
  • I do art until my brain responds with a story.
  • I use one of my card decks made for writers, usually Mythulhu or Storyteller Decks.
  • I check for writing prompts online.
  • I read a short story or novel and then type in the beginning and try to replicate what the author did.
  • I go for a walk. Sometimes movement helps jog something loose.
  • I take a nap, hoping to wake up with something later.
  • I ask my friends to write with me. Often the camaraderie helps.

It’s important to pull out of a stall because the trajectory of a stalled brain, like the eventual downward momentum of a stalled plane, takes me down. It’s even harder to deal with at that point. So today I am going to take my stalled brain and read some good stories. Let’s see if that helps with the stall. If not, there are many other options.

Hope your brain is flying through a flawless blue sky this afternoon. Be well, friends!



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