My Toaster Hates Me: Four Ways to Unstick Your Writing

I’m convinced my toaster hates me. I place soft, fluffy bread into its yawning mouth, and I get a blackened lump of coal in return. When I hear the popping sound of the end of the toasting cycle, my bread is jammed under the lip. There’s no reason for this. It’s punitive, plain and simple. It’s not like I’ve ever stuck a utensil into its inner workings. Well, there was that one time. The toaster let me know it wasn’t appreciated.

(Note to self – unplug toaster before using knife to unstick bread.)

“How does relate to the writer’s life?”

I’m glad you asked.

Have you ever been stuck on an article or manuscript like my unfortunate piece of bread? Here are a few tips to help get over the top.

1. Try free writing. Find a random photo of a landscape and write a scene as if you are there on vacation. Write like mad for ten minutes. Then rewrite the scene as if you were being pursued by aliens.

2. If you always write in third person, try writing a scene in first person. To switch it up even more, write in first person as if you were from another culture.

3. Sometimes it helps me to open a new document and start pounding out words. When I was stuck on my “Caregiving Season” manuscript, I free wrote this:

I hate what I’m writing. It totally stinks and no one will ever want to read this. I’m feeling sorry for myself too.

Then I went on to describe the feelings I had while caring for my mom. Some of what I wrote went into the finished manuscript. Obviously not the self-flagellation part.

4. Take a break. A walk outside – yes, fellow introverts, there’s an actual ‘outside’ to experience – can help get your creative juices flowing. Read a book on the craft. Watch TV or play a video game. Whatever it takes to let your “girls in the garage”* work out the sticky problem and come up with a solution.

Let me know in the comments section what works for you to get unstuck.


*James Scott Bell calls his the ‘boys in the basement.’ I don’t want any boys in my basement so I prefer to call my muse “the girls in the garage.” Kind of like a garage band, only better.

About Jane S. Daly 9 Articles

Jane Daly – Banker by day, blogger by night. She was recently awarded the Excellence in Editing award for her book, The Caregiving Season, and two Cascade Awards sponsored by Oregon Christian Writers. Jane is also the author of Because of Grace (2015) and is the treasurer of Inspire Christian Writers and West Coast Christian Writers.

4 Comments

  1. A bag of cookies usually helps me get unstuck. Once I get my fingers get all full of cookie crumbs, the ideas start to flow, and my fingers are itching to fly over the keyboard once again. Although effective for my writing, this trick is not too good for my figure 🙂

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