Liz McAdams Twisted Sister Fiction Twisted Sister Nonfiction

ON WRITING POST — What to do when you can’t write



Thoughts from Liz McAdams (Ed Note — I know, eh?)

It happens to all of us, sometimes, we turn on the computer or pick up the pen, and although the house is quiet and the caffeine levels are high, you get nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Or, you plug away at some sorry piece for over an hour and stumble over words and phrasing and lose sight of the plot damned well altogether. Just like I’ve been doing.

My house is dead silent and I’m awake, so that means I should be writing, but I just can’t pull it together. Pieces seem to be missing and I can’t push it through.

For nearly an hour I’ve been plugging away at a grand total of two hundred words. That’s painfully sad in my world, and a clear sign of struggle; but, no matter how much I force things, my mind keeps taking a sideways turn into serious distraction.

So what do you do? Sometimes you follow it along for a while and see where it takes you; you might end up folding some laundry while your mind’s somewhere else; drifting along with plot developments or just planning your next grocery list.

But what if that plot or scene is so big you can’t fit it all down on paper? It’s the cognitive equivalent of trying to cram the Titanic into a bathtub, and gets overwhelming to say the least. I can see it, but I can’t put it down. Here I find it helps to go back to planning, I might write some summaries in the character’s voice just to keep things fresh, or just purge out a bunch of jot notes.

That’s only if all cylinders are firing, my friends.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to jumpstart the engine, it’s not going anywhere, and you find yourself walking instead.

There’s not much you can do other than switch gears and mix it up a bit, which is why you might find me working on various projects at different points in time. Some things seem to fit better than others with wherever my mind’s at.

And I guess that might be the point of this post, to follow your mind, take heed of those little wanderings and daydreams, you never know where it’ll take you.


Liz McAdams is a short, sharp, writer (again, we’re talking height, not word count) who likes monsters and all things monstrous (and tends to produce monstrously huge bodies of work). Don’t worry, we’ll be locking her up soon so the rest of us can get a word in around here.

Liz’s work appears in the usual places, including Spelk, Near to the Knuckle, Yellow Mama and will be up soon on Shotgun Honey. Check her out at


Now my friends, it’s up to you – send us what you got, and share it with the world. We want your weird and wonderful little ideas floating around Twisted Sister – We Want YOU!!

Be sure to check out more on the craft of writing back here. And don’t forget our New Releases and Greatest Hits – crank ‘em up and let ‘em roll.


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