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Every Word Written is a Small Success. Writing Tips. Jill Kemerer

Every Word Written is a Small Success

When you’re in the middle of writing a book, it’s easy to get discouraged. You might not be sure what’s supposed to happen next. You certainly can’t remember what happened two chapters ago. The main characters you thought you knew so well seem wobbly, like you don’t know them at all.

This is when it gets tempting to avoid writing.

When everything inside you is screaming to do ANYTHING but write (hello, laundry! Why, yes, I need to scrub my stovetop right this minute…), extinguish those screams.

Sit down.

Write something.

Anything. Even if it’s ten words. Five.

Every word written is a small success.

When I’m writing a novel, I’m learning more about my characters as I draft the opening chapters. Then the things I thought were going to happen in the middle of the book sometimes change. I may have realized the heroine has a slightly different story goal than the one I initially pictured. Or her motivation to achieve this goal could be different.

Sometimes the scenes I’d envisioned no longer work when I have these insights. And it’s hard to figure out how to blend the new information with the upcoming plot points that need to happen.

Inevitably, if I stick with it, I figure it out. I’ve learned the hard way, though, the more I procrastinate, the longer it takes me to figure it out.

Which means it takes me much longer to write the book.

The additional time is not necessary. I don’t need three weeks of barely touching my manuscript to come up with the plot solution. What I do need is to sit with the discomfort and allow myself the freedom to think it through by continuing to write. Oftentimes, simply adding to the current scene brings the solution to mind.

Like I said earlier, every word written is a small success.

When we feel successful, we want to keep the momentum going because we feel like we’re winning.

On the other hand, when we ignore the manuscript, we feel like a failure. And the dread of figuring out what needs to happen next can stifle us. That doesn’t feel like winning. 🙁

Even though it’s difficult when you reach a section where you’re not sure what comes next, take a few minutes to jot down possible scenes. Then pick one and go with it. If it’s not working, you’ll know, and most likely, you’ll know what WILL work.

How do you get through those times when the words aren’t coming or you’re not sure what needs to happen in the story?

Have a terrific week!


Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. She hopes to encourage readers through her books the way so many books have encouraged her. Jill's essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. For more information, visit her website,

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. The note taped to my computer screen helps me remember what to do in times of joy and in times of uncertainty. “PRAY FIRST” is written in bold letters and a heart is drawn below the words. I keep that taped to my computer to remind me that I am not alone in my writing. 🙂

    1. Amen to that, Melissa! Often, when my writer friends get stuck on a scene, I ask them if they’ve prayed about it… and then we start brainstorming. The answers usually come pretty quickly after we pause to pray over it before we get going on the idea dumps.

  2. Jill, thanks for this beautiful reminder! Sometimes I actually do have to set aside a project for a while. I have multiple ones going at all times, because ADD doesn’t let me focus on only one. However, I try to write every day on at least one story. I do occasionally need a day of rest, so when I miss a day, I don’t worry about it. My word counts are usually high enough to more than make up for the days I miss. As for when I’m stuck for ideas, I’ve found that washing dishes while praying over the sticky spot and puzzling it out with God is a method that works pretty well for me. Other times, I just plod through words I might end up editing later, but, like you said, the consistency of writing helps keep my brain thinking on it and coming up with a creative solution.

    1. I understand, Andrea, I think we all have ways to cope with manuscripts! I never write on weekends. I keep business hours. And isn’t it wild how washing dishes or other similar tasks can give us the breakthrough we need? Love it!!

      1. Wild indeed! I’ve gotten some of THE BEST ideas while doing dishes, taking a shower, walking around town, etc. It’s so awesome how God designed our brains to NEED those tasks in order to function at our best capacity.

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