Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

Friday Fives – staying sane while writing a book


  • Ranting

My husband usually takes the brunt, but I’d be okay even ranting at a cardboard cut-out of Elvis.  Just as long as I could talk.

“I hate my characters!  I hate my plot!  Why am I writing this book?”

I even like to shout about good news.

“This scene is the most inspired bit of words EVER WRITTEN!  I’m a genius!”

  • Getting away/relaxing

Sometimes I curl up on the floor in front of the TV and watch The Goonies. Or put on records and crank the volume. Anything that involves forgetting about my WIP for at least a few hours.

  • Putting my characters in unlikely situations

When I get stuck, I imagine scenes that would never be in the book. My characters taking epic roadtrips or joining the circus.

  • Not being too hard on myself

I like to set writing goals, but I learned a long time ago that stressing over those goals isn’t going to help.  It’s actually going to slow me down.

  • Working on something else

It’s the whole “absence makes the heart grow fonder” thing.  I dump my misbehaving WIP in time-out for awhile before I start to feel bad.  Maybe I was too hard on it.  I’ll just crack the door and peek in…oh, look how cute it is!  *pulls it out for a hug*


Happy Friday to everyone – it’s 9:15am in Virginia and I’m already having a looong day, so sending out virtual cake to all the writers in the trenches, we will have a virtual party and this day will end up ROCKING.  I know it will.

Video below for further inspiration – I thought about saying, “replace every instance of Goonies with writers.”

“Writers never say die!”


“It’s our time down here!”

But the rest of the speech doesn’t make a lot of sense with the switch.  EXCEPT, I’ve now decided on a new name for writer self-doubt:

Troy’s Bucket.

DON’T get into Troy’s bucket, keep sloshing around, looking for treasure, because being down here with the rest of the Goonies is a whole lot more awesome than being anywhere else!

P.S. How idiotic are Troy’s friends to not realize there isn’t a person on the bucket?


Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

11 thoughts on “Friday Fives – staying sane while writing a book

  1. ◦Putting my characters in unlikely situations

    I LOVE that idea & might have to adopt that! Also I don’t think it is possible to remain sane & write a book 🙂

  2. I need to adopt the unlikely situations trick! I’m guessing that also helps get your mind back to a “I’m having fun and playing with stories!” place and away from “this is so serious and why I am I not perfect” place.

  3. I third the love for the unlikely situations thing. Good idea!

    And that scene from The Goonies is my favorite. I’m always telling my husband that it’s “Our time, it’s our time down here” with that voice, and he looks at me like I’m not normal.

  4. Number 3 reminds me about one of my my writing friends who likes to blow things up whenever he is stuck in his WIPs.

  5. Oh my gosh, ranting. Yes. I rant at my characters all the time. And I have a fairly dirty mouth, so there are lots of explitive-filled strings of anger directed toward my characters.

    I too really like the unlikely scenarios idea. Totally stealing that. 😉

  6. haha #3 is great! I’m going to try that sometime…

    And oh! Thank you for the virtual cake!
    *licks virtual icing off of virtual fork*

  7. Putting my characters in unlikely situations

    LOVE that one! I will have to try it. And trying not to be hard on myself is so, well, hard.

    Great list!

  8. Great post! I often need to step away for perspective, experience a little life. A well-rounded, happy person always makes a better writer. Sad and frustrating times add to writing, too, but are just another reason for a good break.

  9. Thanks for the virtual cake. Yum! I’m eating it right now. Great ideas for staying sane. I particularly like the one where you shout out good news!

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