Writing Tips
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5 Paths to Take When Your Manuscript Runs into a Fog

First. Don’t panic and don’t throw a fit. You are in good company, here.

If your writing journey has been anything like mine (and I am sure it has) then you know what it feels like to be writing with creative momentum one moment only to find in the next that you’ve written yourself out of ‘road.’

You’ve somehow trailed into a creative fog whereas you don’t know what your next step should be, or what direction you were heading in in the first place. Or you see where you want to go but the bridge there has been washed out by murky waters. I could go on…

Now before you begin to think that I’m referring to that nasty phrase, ‘writer’s b%#ck'( I don’t allow swear words on my blog) stop! This is not that.

The happening that I am referring to is similar to those moments in life where you have so many options to choose from that you simply become frozen. Or, you have all the right pieces in hand but you don’t quite now how to fit them together yet no matter how hard you try.

Now that we’ve clarified what we are talking about, here are 5 Paths you can take to get back on the ‘road’ to creative momentum again.

1. Read over your previous chapters or read your entire work from the beginning: Sometimes we lose our way because we forget where we are going. Me, I inherently write my stories with several threads.

Sometimes things get knotted and working out the tangles requires going back a few chapters in order to straighten things out again.

2. Create a separate document and try writing different scenarios for the scene you are working on: Having options is a good thing and sometimes what you had initially planned to do in your story (before you got that grand idea to rewrite chapter 3 which shifted EVERYTHING after that) no longer cuts the mustard.

This is the time to try new things. Your creativity, your characters will throw ideas at you if you let them. Give each suggestion a shot and see what fits in the end.

3. Just put your fingers to the keyboard and let out whatever comes to mind: It could be you have a creative cramp and just need to do a bit of stretching.

‘Stream of consciousness,’  ‘free’ writing definitely helps stretch out the creative kinks.

4. Get into a different environment, get into a different frame of mind: Listen to music, read someone else’s work. These things could realign your focus. The same way certain scents trigger memories so too can sound or imagery trigger your creativity and get you back on the right road.

5. Take some time off: Maybe some time apart is what you and your manuscript need. Ever heard the adage “Too much familiarity breeds contempt?” This can happen between you and your manuscript. So give each other space when you need it.

Take a week to even a month from working on your piece. Then come back to it with fresh eyes. You may find that those murky waters have receded from your ‘bridge’ and have left you some great nuggets of awesome to use in your story.

BONUS: Create in a different outlet: Just because your writing road seems to be down for maintanince doesnt mean all paths of creativtiy are cut off.

Draw a picture, bake a cake, knit a sweater. Just create something to keep your creative muscles warmed up and ready to go.

Don’t lose heart or faith when the fog hits. What you need will come to you in time. It just takes time…some times.

Writer's Table

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

This entry was posted in: Writing Tips


The Founder and Voice of I Came For The Soup/ICFTS Creative Enc. Candice Coates is a Fiction and Non-Fiction Writer, jumping from genres ranging from Speculative Science Fiction and Fantasy to Comedic Clean Read Romance and Suspense, all with touches of her Christian faith. She is a lover of Ireland, languages, tea, and just about anything with pistachios. When not writing she is creating visual art, or new designs for her handmade polymer clay jewelry line, Shizen Brook.


  1. Great advice! Last time I got really stuck on a story, I did a free write and figured out the rest of the plot. It was a great aha! moment. 🙂

    • Thanks, Claire. This entire posting is a reminder for myself. I revised a novel for my Beta readers to review and critique, made it to the last 3 chapters and the fog hit. Why? The new content no longer fit the ending so free writing and faith is taking place over in these woods 😉

      • Yep! I’m in the middle of revising an entire novel myself and I think I might end up running into that the further I get into it, since I’m doing some pretty drastic revisions. 🙂

        But you got it! Keep on writing. 🙂

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