No writer is immune to getting stuck once in awhile. Whether it’s a plot problem, characterization issue, or actual writer’s block, there will be times while writing—or revising— when you want to either a) bang your head against a wall, b) ingest large quantities of chocolate, c) look for the solution at the bottom of your favorite beverage (did someone say wine?), or d) exercise. Totally kidding about d)—that’s crazy. Anyway, here are a few tips to bust through the tough times and get back on track.

1. Do something else. I know this contradicts the whole “butt in chair” thing, but I’m not talking about a month long sabbatical. I mean taking an hour or two and do something different—take a walk, take a nap, see a movie, play with your kids, go out with friends, etc. For the crazies out there, you can even exercise. Sometimes we get too close to our work to be objective, and a little distance can yield a different perspective. Just make sure that you then park your butt in the chair and get writing again.

2. Write something else. Keep writing, but something else. Write a blog post or a short story. All writing helps us grow as writers. If it truly takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, then any time you are writing helps you to reach that level.

3. Ask for help. This one is sometimes hardest for people, but it’s where an amazing critique group or writer friends can really help. In my critique group, we often run ideas by each other when we’re struggling with something. Again, your friends and critique partners have that distance that you don’t, and can tell you which of your ideas suck and which don’t. I love my critique group and am amazed at the insights they’ve had which I’ve used to strengthen my books.

Have you used any of these tips with your writing? What other tips have helped you when you’ve been stuck? (Please don’t say exercise.)