Monday, November 28, 2011

The Dreaded Slump

Some people call it writer's block. I call it a slump -- that time when I seem incapable of writing anything new. I might be in the middle of a book or maybe I haven't yet begun a new one. Either way, it can be really depressing to be in that space where I can't seem to write. It happens to me and many other writers, so I have developed a few behaviors to overcome the stagnation. I hope they help anyone else out there who suffers a similar affliction.

1. Put my current WIP on ice and start something new. That something doesn't have to be an epic novel. It can be a short story or a novella. That change can often push me out of a creative rut.

2. Adjust my daily word count goal. Sometimes taking off some of the pressure can help. If my current daily goal is 2,000 words and I'm overwhelmed by the idea of writing 20, I change that daily goal down to 500 words. That little mindset switch can re-energize my creative juices and the decrease in pressure sometimes does the trick. I switch it back up once I have my mojo back. Hey, I figure 500 words is better than no words.

3. Take a breather. Sometimes I allow myself to take a little time off. Life happens. I might have company in town or just lots of things in my mind. I have to tell myself it's okay to take a vacation from the writing as long as I set the parameters of how long that break will last. I try to keep it to a max of a few days.

4. Write with friends. I occasionally go to a cafe with members of my RWA chapter to write. Sure, we spend part of the time catching up with each other, but we also get some writing done. Seeing others working can kick-start my On button.

5. Break up that daily word total into manageable blocks. I allow myself a short email break every 100 words or so. Or I do a 250 word sprint then take a break to get outside or get some chores done.

What about you? Do you sometimes get creatively blocked? Do you have any suggestions for ways out of the dreaded slump.


Shawna Thomas said...

Absolutely! My problem is if I allow myself a breather, I get really lazy. Or deeper in the rut. I have to force myself to the computer every day. That sounds odd even to me. I have to force myself to do something I love. LOL.And when you're not focused distractions are everywhere! We all know, sometimes the pull of twitter, facebook or solitaire is just too strong to resist. : )
Great advice! I think I'm going to try your short story idea.

MaureenAMiller said...

This is a tough time of year to concentrate because you get pulled in a thousand directions!

Wynter Daniels said...

Shawna - good luck. Let me know if you get back on track.

I totally agree, Maureen. This is the hardest time of the year for me to write.

Chudney Thomas said...

I've found that if I give myself a break from writing every once in a while soon ideas starting buzzing around in my head and then i start itching to write. That doesn't mean those breaks didn't stretch on to long for my liking.

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