Charles Yu's Insanely Helpful Advice On "Getting Stuck" While Writing

Illustration for article titled Charles Yu's Insanely Helpful Advice On "Getting Stuck" While Writing

What do you do when you're in the middle of working on your writing, and you get stuck? And then you start beating yourself up, which only makes it worse. This happens to everybody — but Sorry Please Thank You author Charles Yu has some terrific advice on how to cope.


Talking to Suvudu at Comic-Con, Charles Yu shared his own techniques for coping with running into a dead end, writing-wise:

Besides the obvious advice of "keep writing," I think the times when I have been most stuck as a writer have been the times when I took a leap forward...

At the beginning of choosing a story, I try to write away from my weaknesses. I try to write towards my strengths, at least in the kinds of stories I want to tell. But when you're in a story, it's too late to do that. And it's often in those moments where you feel like the thing is falling apart, when you sense there's a weakness in my story, I find that going towards those and really being interested in what is going on with that weak spot in the story, is when I develop the most as a writer, I think...

Often I've found that the storytelling problems that have been the hardest are the ones that I've taught myself the most by trying to get through them...

[When I get stuck and start telling myself "You suck"] sometimes I will read to myself something that I have liked that I wrote, to remind myself, "Once in a while, you do it." Like, it's usually a paragraph or two, that I'm like, "I remember how I did that." Sometimes I just read things that I really enjoy, that I go back to again and again, from other people's work, and say, "This is why you started doing this." And remembering the inspiration. And thinking, "This isn't really about success or failure — and it's going to be a lot of failure in the process." And reminding yourself that that's why you do this: To experiment. To fail.

The whole video of their interview is below. [via Suvudu]



I actually just went through this process. I found a bunch of stuff I wrote in college and encouraged myself to continue on. Its incredibly great advice.