Getting stuck is an internal and extremely frustrating struggle for me, as I'm sure with all writers who find themselves in this sticky situation. Sometimes, the answers to my problems are simple, but in my dedication to produce something "brilliant" the first time around, I over analyze, second guess, and often lose direction in my writing.
I'm never totally satisfied with my writing, which often contributes to me getting stuck in the first place. Sometimes, I have to except that this is the best that I can do at the moment, move on, and then come back later to revise. This is my method of "walking away" (Ellen's words). Sometimes I don't walk far, just to another part of the story. Even if I do decide to put the story down in order to return with a fresh perspective, my difficulties are never far from my thoughts and I find myself working them out internally even as I work on a different story.
I think the worse part of being stuck is being unclear on which direction to take a particular piece. When I lose my direction, it helps to read other books. I've noticed that when I'm reading, I often get the itch to write. Sometimes, reading a book in the same genre that I'm writing helps me to refocus on my goal. Also, I have to come to terms with the fact that writing is reversible. Anything I write I can be unwritten. Sometimes I have to just choose a direction, and know that I'm not stuck with the outcome. If it doesn't work, I can erase and try a different path.
Lately, when I've lost direction I find myself thinking about what Carmela said in her class. She was quoting someone when she said "Don't be afraid to write a bad book." I try to keep this in mind when I'm writing. This advice has helped me a lot when I find that I don't know how to move forward.
Right now, my ideas for Camp Lagoon are percolating and I am stuck again on a PB manuscript. In regards to the PB, I'm grappling with the question, how should I bring it to a close? Endings are always sticky. As I work on my YA novel, my PB question is brewing in the corners of my mind. I find if I don't think too hard on things, the answer will eventually come.