What To Do When You’re Stuck

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Gorgeous azalea hedge

Do you ever get stuck? You’re in the middle of a busy day, or month-long project, or novel, and suddenly, everything stops. You’re not sure what to do next. Paralysis sets in, followed, often, by panic. What’s wrong? Why can’t I move forward? What if I NEVER get going again?

Been there? Me, too.

Here are a couple of ideas on what to do when you’re stuck:

TRY something new

Often, we get stuck because we’re in a rut. Or we’re headed in the wrong direction. I believe what many writers call ‘writer’s block’ is often our sub-conscious telling us we’re headed the wrong way in a story. Sometimes, the answer is to try something new. Attack the problem from a different direction.

Other times, we need to take a step back and dive into something completely different in order to get the creative juices flowing again.

A while back, I needed a creative challenge. I felt my writing was stagnant and well, blah. My son approached me about taking one of my book manuscripts and turning it into a screenplay. I had NO idea where to start. But I decided to find out. What started as a terrifying challenge became a wonderful creative kick-start—and I loved every minute of it.

That screenplay became a feature-length movie called, Catch of a Lifetime, (starring Matthew Ashford and Julia Denton) and will be shown at the Silver Springs International Film Festival in Ocala, Florida, on Friday, April 4th at 4:00 p.m. Which, I admit is both terrifying and exciting—but that’s another blog post.

For more about the Festival, go to And if you’re anywhere near Ocala, we’d be so honored if you came to support us and Catch of a Lifetime!

SEE something new

Have you taken a walk lately? Even just stepped out your front door and looked around?

PInk and white azaleas

Pink and white azaleas

We often get so focused on our to-do lists, we wear blinders and miss what’s around us. If you’re feeling stuck, go outside. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Take a different route to work and LOOK at the scenery.

Go to a shelter or pet store and pet a puppy or a kitten. Or watch some cute puppy/kitten videos online.

Taking our mind off what we’re stuck on often lets our subconscious solve the problem while we’re busy doing other things.

THINK something new

Our biggest obstacle is often in our minds. We play these negative tapes: I can’t… I’ll never… I shouldn’t have…

Trade those in for positive tapes: I can…I will…Instead of this, I’m going to do that…

Changing our mindset and the self-talk in our heads can make a huge difference.

So if you’re stuck today, try something different, see something different, think something different. And let me know how it goes, would you?

*     *     *

Catch of a Lifetime: There is a great write-up about the Silver Springs International Film Festival at if you’d like to know more. If you’re local, I hope you can come see the movie!

Angel Falls is on sale! ONLY until March 30th, you can get the Kindle version of Angel Falls for just $2.99. If you know anyone who’d be interested, would you let them know? Thanks so much.

Do you like aviation AND suspense? Then I hope you’ll stop by my writer-friend Sandy Park’s blog to find out more about her latest novel and see what she’s working on now. You’ll be glad you did!

I am also featured on the Munce Blog this week, so if you have a minute, I hope you’ll click the link to read Seeing is Believing…or is it? You’ll get a quick look into my life as a boat captain.


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    The Conversation

  1. A screenplay – what fun! I wrote one also, and it led to me finding my voice and two published books (another on the way). Best wishes on your April 4 premier! You’ve listed excellent ideas for getting unstuck. Changing gears really works!

    • Connie Mann says:

      Good for you, Ashantay! I love the stories of how people find their voice and get published. And now you’re awaiting book three. That’s so exciting!
      Thanks so much for sharing our excitement and glad the ideas for getting unstuck were a help,too.

  2. Maddy says:

    Me, although from home. My boys wanted to watch a movie and chose Wadjda from Amazon – mainly because it was described as hilarious. Although it was far from hilarious for me, it was the first movie to be filmed in Saudi Arabia. Certainly refreshed the concept of feminism for me, and gave my boys a completely different view on the role of women. Hardly comparable with having a novel transformed into a screenplay and then broadcast. Amazing. Well done you.

    • Connie Mann says:

      Hi Maddy, isn’t it fun to see where inspiration can come from, and how something unexpected can get us back on track? Great story. Thanks for sharing it–and for sharing our excitement about Catch of a Lifetime!

  3. Mary Cool says:

    Such good advice, Connie! I’m very random and so I get stuck when my mind starts thinking about so many things that I can’t focus. What I do is stop and make a mental list of the things that need to get done and focus on one thing at a time. I’m so much more efficient that way.

    When writing, I write down the ideas that are invading my mind on a small pad of paper that I always have at my side and then focus on the page that is in front of me.

  4. Jan Jackson says:

    Congrats on the movie premiere, Connie! I know how hard you worked on it, well deserved kudos! And again, you’ve read my mind. I’ve felt stuck, or maybe trapped in limbo, for a while now. Two steps forward, three steps back. Not a happy dance. I need to change that. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Lorna Dishman says:

    Great suggestions Connie! I like that about you. You’re so organized. You have an “attack plan” for writer’s block.

    Your heroine in Catch of a Lifetime sounds very organized too. Is the character based off of you or just the planning part? By the way, I hope to see you at the showing of your film if I can get the leave from work.

    • Connie Mann says:

      Lorna, if you could see my office right now…! LOL! I *wish* I was very organized, but not always. 🙂

      Oh, how fun. We’d love to see you at the Catch of a Lifetime showing–if you can come, make sure you get there early (and ideally buy the ticket in advance) so you’ll get a seat! Thanks SO much for the encouragement!

  6. Marlenea Dallow says:

    You are in the big time now! Congratulations.
    Sounds like a perfect mother/ son combo.
    What a treat to share the same work.
    Thanks for the writing tips.