Sometimes I run out of steam. Sometimes I run out of ideas. Sometimes I run out of time. Sometimes I just plain get stuck.
Whatever the reason that forces me to stop writing, I make sure I won’t have to face “blank screen syndrome” when I settle back into my chair (not completely, anyway).
Before I shut my computer down, I like to have some specifics of where the story is headed upon my return. My mind will keep exploring and tossing around ideas while I’m away, but I need a jumping-off point on my work-in-progress that will help me dive in and get started when I fire up the computer. Sometimes I have an idea that I want to incorporate later on that I don’t want to forget.
It may seem obvious and easy, but I like how this works for me. Wherever I am when I stop writing, I type in ALL CAPS the next few events that are going to occur. Short notes like PIPER ARGUES WITH HER MOTHER, THE CLUE IS MISSING, or START AFTER BREAKFAST are pick-up notes that get me started in the right direction and in the right frame of mind. I might add RESEARCH DUMB WAITERS or WHEN WERE THUMBTACKS INVENTED to remind myself of details I need to check for accuracy.
I might change my mind about these bold notes or I may use them as I originally intended – time away to think/ponder has a way of either reinforcing my original vision/direction or reveal a better way. The great thing is, they get my mind working right away and if I’m not sure where I’m going, I can just start writing and, bottom line, that’s what I need to do. Write my story.