Friday, January 12, 2018

5 Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Writing Slump



Ah, winter. It’s beautiful. It’s cold. It rekindles your love for blankets and hot cocoa. But it can also pull you into a slump—well, at least, winter has that sort of effect on me. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE this time of year. Prefer it over the hot, sticky, triple-digit weather inherent of Louisiana in summertime. However, December and January are the months I find most difficult to write and be inspired. I start out as I always do: at the page. Blinking cursor. What do I write today? Where am I going with this? Is this really the story I want to write? And there are days I keep going, fingers flying. But then there are others when I say, “Nuh uh. Not doin’ it,” and then allow myself to get sucked in to either social media or Netflix or both.

However, at the end of the day, writers write. It’s what we do. And if we’re not doing it…well. We can’t be held responsible for the mayhem that may ensue. We always have a story to tell. Problem is…Which one? We begin to ask ourselves whether we’re writing in the right genre. What if I’m better at fantasy? Mystery? Romance? Erotica seems to be selling really well—I’ve seen the indie authors on Facebook with their flashy, appealing ads. Maybe they’re just better at this than I am. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this at all. What if I’m not a writer at all and I’ve been kidding myself since I was…what? Eleven?

I’m here to tell you: Get that last one out of your head, all right? You’re a writer. There, I said it. And you have a story to tell, so tell it. That’s right. Go on. Get those words on paper. Erotica, Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy…Heck, write a combination of all four! It’s your story, your baby. So, get going already.

While you’re at it, here are a few tips to pull yourself from a writing slump and help you refocus:


1.      Set realistic goals. This seems obvious, I know, but it really does help. Currently, I’m working on two contemporary, full-length romance novels, as well as edits for the third installment of my young adult series. The third book of The Symbolon Series will be published by July 10th. My goal is to be finished with at least one of the two contemporaries by that time, as well. If I can swing three releases this year, I’m going for it.

2.       Hit a writing retreat or conference. Nothing gets me fired up like being around other writers. Check for local or relatively-local conferences you can attend and get ready to learn. If you’re in Louisiana or Mississippi, the Jambalaya Writer’s Conference is coming up on March 3 and it’s only $35 if you register early!

3.       Adjust your environment. Declutter your desk. Bring in a new plant or a cool new notebook. If outside noise doesn’t bother you, nestle yourself and your laptop in a corner at Starbucks. Or go to a park and breathe in the fresh air while you write! Changing your environment tricks the brain into creative thinking.

4.       Don’t leave too much time between writing sessions. Even if you can’t write on your manuscript (I love this story, but, ugh, my heroine! Is she trying to be this stupid?!), write a blog post, an opening to a new story or an entry into that journal you’ve been meaning to begin for the last decade. Just write.

5.       Don’t burn out. Writing’s work, y’all. I mean, you can try to skirt the truth any way you want, but that won’t make it any less real. Not only that, but it’s hard. However, there’s a reason you started writing. For me, I was fourteen and the kid in between freshly-divorced parents. I didn’t want to write about myself, so I wrote about fictional characters and…well…I just never stopped. In short, writing is an escape for me; a way to deal with the chaos in my head. But the minute it becomes TOO much like work, I have to take a step back and remember why I started writing in the first place. Write what you can and often and you’ll find the will to keep going.

So, don’t let those negative thoughts in, okay? Get out, bad, brooding creepie-crawlies! Be gone! Because you can do this. Really, you can! Pull yourself up and write your story. 

What do you do when you find yourself in a slump?
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1 comment

Andrew Leon said...

I don't know how to define slump for myself.
When I'm not writing, it's always because there are too many other things going on, and I can't manage to carve the time out for it, which is why I do almost no writing between Halloween and New Year's Day.
It looks like a slump. It feels like a slump.
But I can't say that it's a slump.

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