I hit a wall yesterday on THE SILVER DOOR. I’m in the process of getting unstuck.

You can watch me getting unstuck (using Inspiration) here:

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51 responses to “Stuck”

  1. Rapunzel247 Avatar

    The video was pretty cool but if you do decide to provide some lessons that way, I think you should give an accompanying transcript. Hardly anyone else does this and it drives me nuts when I don’t feel like watching a video, need quite or haven’t many downloads left for the month and the only way to access the content is to watch the video.

    Secondly, what program were you using in this video? It looked cool.

    I’m using Vista Ultimate and Firefox.

  2. TinaK Avatar

    Finally got a chance to look at this and it loaded and ran well. I agree the audio was a little bit too low. I’m using XP and Firefox.

  3. Jack E. McCarty Avatar
    Jack E. McCarty

    I had trouble when using Windows Internet Explorer, but it ran fine using firefox. The volume was a little low, however, it looks like a great idea for someone writing with a computer. That is if he or she has that, or a like application.

  4. Sam_R Avatar

    Holly, I am a visual learner, and I think this is an excellent way to learn writing. I say this from experience in another art form. I have never taken a formal art class, but I have a ton of books on sketching. After studying the books, most of the stuff I produced was okay but nothing extraordinary. Then, I watched two sketching videos on YouTube. The difference in reading about a technique and actually watching it materialize was magical. After I watched the videos, one of the local casinos used my next sketch as their Halloween advertisement.

  5. Annalisa Avatar

    Firefox and Windows XP here, and it worked just fine.

    I’m fascinated by the video screenshot and I’d definitely be interested in more lessons using that format. I’m a visual learner so seeing words written down (and diagrams and drawings and so on) penetrate my brain better than listening.

    Your voice is very soothing, incidentally. And did I hear cat cries in the background?

    As for the getting un-stuck method, I wonder if low-tech people might have luck flipping through magazines or coffee-table books of photos, if they happen to have them lying around.

  6. lizb Avatar

    I gave in and installed Firefox, then the video ran fine. Looking over the other comments it looks like IE6 isn’t playing nicely. Loved the concept of lessons delivered this way.

  7. LarryMarshall Avatar

    Used Linux and Firefox. All worked fine.

    Seems like a good brainstorming idea. What is the name of the software that you presented?

    Cheers — Larry

  8. jillb Avatar

    It looked good, and the voice over was very clear. It’s similar to the mindmapping software we use at work (although we don’t get the nice pictures).
    I used XP & Firefox (although I have Mac envy!)

  9. jcracek Avatar

    Running an old Mac PowerBook with Tiger and browsing in Firefox, my internet is DSL. The movie loaded quickly for me and played well.

    I think some video lessons could be fun for topics that lend themselves to a more visual medium.

  10. Blackfire Avatar

    I think the video was a good idea. I’m using windows and it worked fine for me.

  11. Jack E. McCarty Avatar
    Jack E. McCarty

    The video window was blank. I am using Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows Vista Home Basic. I have a HP notebook. My ISP is Clearwire.

  12. jdw300 Avatar

    I really liked the video. What was that software called? I am using IE 7 and had no problems viewing the video.

  13. LisaM Avatar

    I’m using Windows XP and IE7, and, like Zoe, it played fine the second time. (The prblem is probably with Quicktime.)

    I really like the idea of using video as a learning tool.

    One thing I’m wondering, however, is how fast it would be to download longer (larger) video files.

    The demo was great. Very timely, I’m stuck myself at the moment…

    Thank you!

  14. rcyork Avatar

    Visual is a great medium — especially for the brainstorming part. I’m a visual learner and (I’m not sure this is good for writers) a picture is worth a 1000 words.

    I’m using Firefox on linux and had no problems with audio or video. (you have a vocal kitty, too ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  15. jwoliver Avatar

    The visual method works as far as being able to convey a message. The sound of your voice also helps engage me into the video.

    I use Firefox/Vista, and I had no issues with being able to view the video.

    Also, I use a similar method to help generate ideas. Instead of using Inspiration though, I use tarot cards and let my mind draw connects through the images I see. This is also one of my more recent way of generating maps.

  16. worldsapart Avatar

    I’m intrigued by your method for getting unstuck. I can’t say I’ve ever done anything like that.

    The demo looked great on Firefox/XP, and I think some sort of lesson done with visuals like that would be wonderful. Even something as elementary as your file organizational system when you’re writing would be really interesting.

    PS – Speaking of being stuck, I bought your Plot Clinic and just SKIMMED it…and was miraculously unstuck on my 2nd draft revision (which involved a hefty re-plot). ๐Ÿ™‚ It was the index cards that did it. So thanks, and good luck with The Silver Door!

  17. djmills Avatar

    Great Demo, Holly.

    I used IE7, Netscape 8.1, Mozilla Firefox, RealPlayer and QuickTime Player on MS XP Professional 2002 & SP2 and all ran the movie file.

    Don’t have time to practice process yet as I am trying to keep within your time frame of two weeks for second draft.

    But, great demo and thanks for taking the time to do it. Looks better than using Tarot Cards because can scan in any number of pictures from mags, or create icons, to use in the program.

    I don’t know how often I would download large files (live in Australia and have slowest broadband in the world) but will for a while if you continue with them, especially relating to plotting.

  18. fendley Avatar

    I am using Windows XP with SP2, I couldn’t view the video. and I really wanted to.

  19. PolarBear Avatar

    Oh, and the video ran just fine.

  20. PolarBear Avatar

    I’m using XP SP2 (with current patches) and Firefox

  21. lizb Avatar

    The reboot didn’t help, neither did reinstalling QuickTime. Darn it! I HATE technology.

  22. laubaineworld Avatar

    I am running a new MacBook Pro with Tiger. I tried viewing in both Firefox and Safari and had no problem in either.

  23. lizb Avatar

    No joy with the video on XP Pro and IE6, but my system’s been flaky for a couple of days. I’ll try a reboot and see if that helps at all.

  24. Bethanie Avatar

    No problems using Windows XP SP2 and Firefox.

    LOVED the video and would love to see more. You really have a great ‘video-voice’!

  25. tkeller Avatar

    I agree with the others who commented about your voice. Your voice is easy on the ears. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I liked the audio/visual element. Combine that with “your turn” exercises, and you’re right up my learning alley.


  26. peaceheather Avatar

    I’ve been wondering what you sound like… you sound quite a bit like me, which is strange yet satisfying *grin*.

    As for movies, YES YES YES – and I’ll second whoever it was that suggested you draw us a map. A movie would be an awesome supplement to the Create A World Clinic.

    I’m using ordinary Windows XP, IE7, and had no problems – although I did have to really crank up the volume in order to hear you, the sound *did* transmit.

  27. Oh.Carolina Avatar

    I would LOVE to see more videos from you! I like your voice.

  28. autumnstar Avatar

    Fantastic idea. I loved the video. I’ve been using inspiration for quite a few years now, I believe I heard about it through this blog/website, actually.

  29. RMSolberg Avatar

    Hi Holly,

    LOVED this. As a learning tool I think this is a GREAT way to conduct lessons and demonstrate ideas. I’m a reader… but inflection can can convey so much.

    I watched your clip on my IBook G4 running Tiger OSX 10.4.11, using Firefox (in the library…with the candlestick. ;)) and everything came through perfectly – no issues.

    Thanks for sharing and wishing you unstuck and happily typing away again soon!

  30. anders Avatar

    Safari on Leopard. Worked without a hitch. I like the video idea //very// much!

  31. InkGypsy Avatar

    Neat little use of Inspiration!

    No problem with the video/audio – PowerBookG4 (OSX 10.4.10) and Firefox.

    I love the idea of using video to supplement teaching courses. I, too, am a very visual person and like the ‘watch and learn’ idea – as long as the key information is in supplemental notes I can reference/take with me in another format.

    May your muse give you the key to unlock your Silver Door very soon!

  32. Peter Knight Avatar

    (Later) Yes, it worked fine on Firefox and XP (Quicktime was messed up). Brainstorming a story that way? I’m not sure – I use a white board or large pieces of paper and scribble like mad – visual too I guess, so maybe this could do. Great software.


  33. laoreilly Avatar

    My system doesn’t seem to know which app to use to open the file. WinXP Home SP2, Firefox 2.0

  34. Radish Avatar

    Using Windows XP and Firefox — no problems in viewing the video.

    Being visually oriented myself, I usually find any kind of visual stimulus to actually be distracting when I’m stuck — it only makes it worse. Yeah, weird, I know.

    Pretty much, I have to call for an intermission in the theatre in my head [turn off the projector, bring up the house lights], and then I pick up the guitar and play some Bach to exercise a different part of the brain for a while. Or, I’ll listen to soundtracks that have a similar emotion or tension or pacing I’m going for in the scene of the moment.

    If it’s a continuity issue, I work it out on the chalkboard — yeah, it’s visual, but it’s also a tactile, physical act, with texture and sound.

  35. tonydyer Avatar

    I use Mac Mini PPC Mac OS X 10.4.11 with Safari 3.0.4. The software has potential but you could look at teaching sells at The material is really good and if you decide to join why not do it through a link at one of my sites I’ll get an affiliate commission if you go to it via that link.
    The cover a range of software a lot PC only but enough is related to Mac if you look at the forums.

  36. kim0298 Avatar

    Hi; I use XP and IE 7 or Forefox. I was impressed with the use of graphics as oposed to topics to inspire writing. Pretty unique!

  37. kim0298 Avatar

    I use either EI 7 or FIrefox on Windows XP. I was enlightened by the use of images instead of topics to search for inspiration. Funny, it never occurred to me !

  38. magickelise Avatar

    I use Firefox on Windows XP (my boyfriend’s PC, mine is on Vista), and it work fine.

    I love the idea of using Inspiration to get unstuck. As I’m currently swimming in a mudpool with my current project, I’ll try it out!

  39. brookewhite Avatar

    Holly, I know this sounds cheesy, but you have a lovely voice, so doing some visualizations and talk over it might actually be a great idea for a course. I am intrigued by this process, so far th eonly time I had to work on a deadline things turned out well for me, so I don’t really really know how I would handle things being stonewalled and under pressure. I just wait things out and work on something else in the meantime, so no feedback here. Sounds like a neat idea though.

  40. Zoe Avatar

    I’m using IE7 on Windows XP, and it played fine. (The second time. The first time, it asked me to update Quicktime and then froze.)

    I liked the video, and thought the format worked well for something like this, which would be hard to describe in text. For the most part, though, I absorb information best when I read it. So for me it would depend on the subject – if it was something like this, where the visual component is very important, then I’d like to see it in video format. But I’ve seen a lot of people that do videos that are nothing but them sitting and talking while looking at the camera; in cases like that, where there’s no necessary visual component, I would do a lot better with text.

    Thanks for showing us your unsticking process; I’m always curious about the specifics of how other writers work.

  41. Holly Avatar

    The program I’m using to brainstorm is Inspiration. It’s available for Mac and Windows, and I’ve been raving about it for years. It’s awesome.

    The program I’m using to record me using Inspiration is SnapzPro2:

    Have been using it for screen capture stills for years, but just tried out the video/voice thing today.

    As for the writing… shoot me. Aaaaagh.

    Meh. I’ll get there.

  42. Oswallt Avatar

    As much as I love to read, there are just some things that are easier to learn by watching and listening. I’d love to see you draw a map.

    Video played fine using:
    Quicktime 7.4 on Windows XP Pro SP2 in Firefox 2.0 and IE 7.0.

  43. Ronder Avatar

    Fascinating! I believe I could brainstorm the same way. What program are you using?

    I use Firefox and it worked fine.


  44. TangoDream Avatar

    Using IE7 with XP. Had no problem getting the video. Very good idea! What program did you use to create it? Also, I loved watching you use Inspiration8 in that way. (I’ve been using it for a few weeks not as per your suggestion…it’s wonderful!) Hope you get ‘unstuck’ very soon and everything starts to flow smoothly for you!

  45. Lexy Avatar

    Using Firefox on Windows Vista.

    Yeah, looks like it could be a good idea. I like watching things! Usually if I see something done I can pick up the technique or whatever a little quicker and then use it for my own workaround.

    I, too, would like to know what that program was, and if it is available on Windows. ๐Ÿ˜€

  46. Peter Knight Avatar

    Alas, it didn’t work for me: On Windows XP and Firefox, it tried to open (my default setting in Quicktime – it’s my least favourite video software. With more time I’ll try and open it with other stuff. Just now though I’d been having trouble getting WordPress setup (by Jimmy Brown’s instructions – thank you for this excellent reference) – Plugins not working and just as I thought I was getting there WordPress recommended upgrading the blog software – ah well! Back to Geek Mode. Will check back here later.

  47. LisaHartjes Avatar

    I like the idea of short videos to teach things. When I’m learning, I like to see what it is I’m supposed to do, and then do it (referring back to the example to make sure I’m doing it properly.

    I’d love to know what program it is you were playing around with.

    And, as per your request, I’m using Firefox on a Windows XP Professional SP2 box.

  48. snowwiewolf Avatar

    I also like the idea since I learn best by seeing someone do somtheing and then repeating it myself.
    When I’ve been stuck I’ve done something similar and found it very effective. I’ve drawn schenes from the story I’m writing and gone through some earlier drawings. Specially the ones that I haven’t seen for a long time help with writers block.

    I had some trouble when I used ‘Internet Explorer’, the video wouldn’t load, but when I used Firefox it worked.

    Other videos would be great, specially since I get a migrane easily from staring at the computer screen for a long time. Videos and audio don’t give me a migrane as easily as reading the screen.

  49. JeffRutherford Avatar

    I’m using Leopard on a MacBook Pro. Safari browser. The video worked great.

    And, videos are a great idea!


  50. ajestice Avatar

    I like this idea because I’m a visual learner, and sometimes being able to watch a process, or a tutorial, or a lesson, instead of reading it is the most effective way for me to learn.

    I’m using Firefox and Linux. I didn’t have any problems with audio or video.

    Good luck with your brainstorming!

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