A writing slump is something every author goes through, no exceptions. The same way you’ll get stuck in a plot at one point or other, a writing slump can come at the most inconvenient times.
You’ve drawn up this plan for New Years. You’ve got that fabulous thing called a writing schedule and your outlines all ‘stacked’ out in a neat little row. Because you’re a professional (I have to add, there is this feeling of accomplishment that comes with being organized and having clear goals. If anything it does provide a sense of control of you writing destiny. Yep, I’m a bit of a control freak *wink*).
So what do you do when you couldn’t be arsed, as my cousin says (she’s into everything British), to write? How do you work up the energy to sit down at your laptop? What if you have a deadline? *yikes*
One thing I’ve learned in my thirty-two *grin* years of being on this earth is that for whatever reason, sometimes in life your spirit will be at odds with what needs to be done, motivation hard to find.
Because of this I’ve come up with ways to get myself out of a Writing Slump by doing the following:
- Recognize that I’m going through a writing slump *smile* Yeah that doesn’t just work for AA meetings. You need to face up to what you’re going through so you can deal with it appropriately.
- Close my laptop. And for a whole 24hours deny its existence. Okay you don’t have to be that drastic, but do leave off the forcing yourself to ‘write at least 300 words a day’ or however many you’ve set for yourself as a goal. Leave it. Walk away.
- Go live. Go out with friends, watch a movie, take a walk, work in your garden, check out the mall for sales, the projects you’ve kept off doing around the house‒go do those. There’s life apart from writing, yes we are artists and we love to declare, “Writing is life!” We all know that’s not true. Life is art. No life, no art. Go out, take in the world, be part of the hustle and bustle. Take a day or two.
- Now take a notebook with you wherever you go, because inspiration’s going to flood you from all sides. That chapter you couldn’t be arsed to finish is going to claw at you. Scenes will come to you, remember, this is a slump; your spirit was affected here not your ability to convey mental images and a tale in sentences.
- Go write. If you can barely contain yourself to work on your story, whether it’s editing or fleshing out a scene or writing something new, go do that.
I think the biggest mistake I’ve made with writing is not acknowledging that it’s something I may not want to do every single day. That I would want to close my laptop and focus on something else with the same level of intensity. As modern-day authors we constantly get bombarded with, “write the next book”, “write a blog post”, “write a status update”, etc. We spend a considerable time of our lives writing. It stands to reason that at some point that’s going to become tedious. You are going to need a break. Orientate yourself. And that’s where I think a writing slump serves its purpose, to remind us that we’re made out of more than just writing. The sum of our parts needs more to survive.
So the next time you get down on yourself for being in one, shake it off! (Yeah I just went all Taylor Swift on you *smile*) It’s your author spirit telling you it’s time to take a break.