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When Being Stuck Leads to Success

May 30, 2017

Note From Rochelle


Dear Readers,

I’m super-excited to share with you a new product from my friend and fellow writer K.M. Weiland. She has just come out with an extremely helpful computer program, the Outlining Your Novel Workbook, based on her acclaimed book of the same name. There’s more information below the tip, along with instructions on how you can win a copy of the program.

Today’s tip will help you overcome feeling fearful and stuck—and write more!



The Write Now! Coach



From Stuck to Successful

by Rochelle Melander


After writing last week’s tip about dumping the excuses, I had an aha moment: sometimes our excuses are simply a cover story. We say we don’t have time to write or aren’t sure what project might sell when really, underneath our excuses, we’re feeling afraid or stuck or both.


I’ve been there. And I’ve worked with clients who’ve faced their fears, overcome their blocks, and moved forward.


What’s the trick?


Facing Fear

Recognize that fear happens to all writers. The only way to overcome fear is to acknowledge it exists and keep working. Yes, you may be afraid that your work isn’t good enough or that it won’t sell or that you don’t have what it takes to do it right—but write anyway. If it helps, get the outside support you need: take a class, hire a coach, find a critique group. But keep working on the project. The fear will come and go, but it does not have to overwhelm you.


Overcoming Blocks

And then there’s feeling stuck. What do you do when you have a project that seems to be going nowhere? This past weekend, I read this quote from the book, Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans:


“And don’t worry about being stuck. Designers get stuck all the time. Being stuck can be a launching pad for creativity.”


Whoa! Now that’s a reframe! With this point of view, being stuck can actually SAVE your project and make it better than ever. But how? The authors suggest that readers use mind mapping to discover new ideas—and then connect the ideas in unique ways to create even more fun possibilities. We can do the same thing with our writing—mind map possible solutions to a problem until we find solutions.


In an interview I did with award-winning author Donna Gephart about her book Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen, she mentioned how spending time brainstorming helped her find the perfect idea:


“I often give myself time goals. e.g., I’ll write/scribble for two hours, then I don’t get up or check e-mail or Facebook until those two hours are up. Two days before NaNoWriMo began, I had no idea what my new book would be about. So I told myself I’d try to come up with ideas for two hours. At one hour and fifty-eight minutes, I scribbled these words:  “Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen.” The next day, I knew Olivia loved trivia. The next day, I began writing about a girl who would do anything to get on her favorite show—Jeopardy! There’s no substitute for putting in the time.”


Wow! With a little time and the willingness to play with ideas, we can discover the perfect solution to our writing problem!


Your turn:

The authors of Designing Your Life suggest that sometimes we get so stuck in our usual solutions, we need a brainstorming party. If that’s you—grab a few open-minded friends and get together to imagine possibilities. And remember, brainstorming with clients is just one of the many things I do as a writing coach. Send me an email and we’ll set up a consultation:



About the

Outlining Your Novel Workbook

Computer Program

The Outlining Your Novel Workbook is a powerful brainstorming tool for writers designed to help you discover the brilliant possibilities in your ideas, so you can create a solid story that will both entertain and move your readers.

Writing a novel is a complex process that often leaves writers uncertain about where to begin or what questions to ask. By applying an outlining approach to your writing (at any stage in the process), you can gain a big-picture view of your plot, character, and theme. You’ll be able to identify potential plot holes before they ever get started, dig past obvious ideas to those that are truly unique and interesting, and create a plot that taps into the power of a solid Three-Act Structure.

The Outlining Your Novel Workbook (based on internationally-published and award-winning author K.M. Weiland’s acclaimed book by the same name) provides an intuitive and easy-to-use fill-in-the-blanks format that will guide you through every step of the process. Creating your own outline is as simple as starting on the first screen, using its prompts and lessons to work through your story in the most intuitive way, and clicking through the tabs at the top of the screen to access important sections such as Premise, Characters, and Settings.

Create your scene outline by identifying questions and plot holes still to be addressed, map your character’s arc and theme, and play with fun features that allow you to “cast” your characters and create story-specific playlists (which you can listen to without ever leaving the program). When you’re finished, you can print your finished outline or export it to popular writing programs such as Scrivener to help write your first draft.

The Outlining Your Novel Workbook program makes outlining a fun and empowering process that will help you write your best story.


+Outline – Create a story with a solid Three-Act plot structure and perfect scene structure.

+Premise – Easy fill-in-the-blanks give you a perfect elevator pitch every time.

+General Sketches – Brainstorm the big picture of your scene list, character arcs, and theme.

+Character – Get to know your characters with an extensive character interview, featuring 100+ questions.

+Settings – Keep track of your settings, explore your best options, and answer helpful world-building questions.

+Fun Extras – Import your mind maps and world maps, keep track of your story’s timeline, cast your characters, and create story-specific musical playlists.

+Print and Export – Print your outline (in part or total) or export your scene list for use in popular writing programs.


Check out the program:
You can check out the program at Amazon. It’s available for both Mac and PC.


Win a Free Copy of the Outlining Your Novel Workbook Program!

I’m giving away a free copy of this program to one lucky winner. Entry details are below.

Have a great day!


The Write Now! Coach


a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Responses

  1. Laura

    I use paper and pen to write my novel. Grammarly helps with spelling and word usage errors but I’m stoked about using The Outlining Your Novel Software. It’ll save me lots of time.

  2. Brent Wells

    I don’t outline, as of now, but since I’m struggling with my WIP I’m starting to think that I should write an outline on my computer before I go any further.

  3. Notes, notes, everywhere. Lately, I’ve learned to put them all on ONE thumb drive so at least they’re all none place. If I take hands notes, I either scan them into a document or type them up and save them to the thumb drive. Because I’m afraid I’ll lose that thumb drive, I also save things to the cloud and Drop Box. But I do all the editing on the thumb drive files so I know that’s the latest and greatest version of whatever I’m working on at the moment.

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