Sometimes, as a writer, you may encounter quite a few challenges. You may end up with carpal tunnel or writer’s block or may get so distracted by your thoughts that you end up blocking a busy hallway. Who knows? Anyway, writing isn’t always fun. It can be excruciating. You may write twelve drafts of the same paragraph and not be happy with it? At this point, many people who aren’t writers will ask, “Then why do it?” And the answer to that question is, “Simply because we’re compelled to.” Writers have a compulsion to do so, it is a fixation and even if they go mad while trying to churn out a masterpiece, they will go mad willingly. If not gladly.
Philip Roth once said, “The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” He couldn’t have been more right. Too many attempts and nothing satisfactory. Any writer will tell you that they go through slumps. Isn’t that just writer’s block? No. No, it isn’t. Writer’s block is when you actually wish to write but cannot think of what you should put on the page. If you want to know more about how to defeat that enemy check out my earlier post: What To Do When Your Writing Is Stuck. So then, what is a slump? A slump is a period when you know that you should be writing but you honestly just don’t feel like it. In the back of your head you know that once you start writing everything will fall into place. You may have a personal deadline coming up and you want to make it but there is something telling you that you should binge watch your favorite series for the fifth time this year.
Slumps are completely natural and everyone goes through them, albeit some longer than others. Now, I didn’t say that going through a slump means not writing at all. In fact, if you ask any writer about their own experience I am sure they will tell you that your favorite novel was written when they just felt like being a potato and shoveling ice cream in their mouth. That’s just how things are. So how do you get past a slump? Oh, I am so glad you asked.
Here a few tricks that I have picked up over the years. Trying any of these should give you that kick you need to get back to your first love (which should obviously be literature).
Take a break.
This may seem counter-intuitive since you may not have been doing anything at all but it’s true. Sometimes, you need to take a break from words. That means you may not feel like reading either. But this break isn’t what you’re thinking. It isn’t a pass to go be a potato (#lifegoals). Instead, take a break from writing and do something else productive. Go grocery shopping, go to the gym, visit family. Get up and out of the house and take in some sunlight.
Create a new character.
Maybe you just need to write in a new face.
Think of your audience.
Stop and think about the importance of what you’re writing. Even if it feels like it would never change a thing, that chapter you’re working on can change a person’s entire outlook or make them feel something. Isn’t that enough to jeep writing?
Write a catch phrase for each main character.
This may seem strange but it is a fun way to get you back into writing. It is short and simple. Plus, these phrases never have to make it into the final work but they will help you when you need to think about dialogue.
Think of all the reasons you love to write.
Remember why you like writing and why it is so important to you. This will help you to place everything else on the back burner for just a little while as you return to your work.
Just do it.
Joyce Carol Oates once said that sometimes she has to force herself to write. The same may be true in your case. Perhaps the best way to overcome a slump is to just do it.
I hope these tips were helpful and if you have any you wish to share, feel free to comment below. And don’t forget to take a look at my other posts.