Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ The Slumps



Today, I'm talking about the slumps that every writer faces at one  time or other in their writing career. Yes, it happens to all of us so don't feel like it's only you.

By the author blogs I've been reading lately, it's becoming an epidemic! About every third blog I've read in the past month has one author or another in it. That averages out to 75 authors.

It may be to summer heat, depression, not having a schedule, the busyness of life, or a host of a thousand other things. We all have things we have to do. Things like a job, a house, children, loved ones, uninspired, financial woes, and even deaths to deal with.

My current slump has lasted five months! I haven't written a new word in my manuscript for that long. Yes, I have filled in some words that my aphasia stole from my mind. Yes, I've corrected a few sentences. But not the 600 new words a week or month I promised myself when I first took on this project. Count them...zero, nada, zilch, the big goose egg of forward progress.

Is it frustration? Oh yes it is to the rafters.

BUT (this is a a three-letter words that grows ten feet tall)

I learned a long time ago...

Frustration leads to further frustration. It's hard to be creative when you are frustrated. It's a dog chasing its tail around and around. Don't fight it.

Stop kicking the dead dog trying to get it to move. You are your own worst enemy. Now if not writing is due to laziness on your part, this doesn't apply. But we all have limits and how far and fast we can push ourselves.

Deadlines are made to be broken especially self imposed deadlines. As indie authors we set our own deadlines. As traditionally published authors, yes we have deadlines but there is wiggle room built in.

Goals are flexible. They are based on what you can actually accomplish. Goals like shooting for 110,000 word manuscript is daunting at best especially with the schedules of have-to-dos piled a mile high.Shrink the goals into manageable pieces.  Set goals in 25K word increments and then go on to the next 25K. The first 25K and the middle 25K are the hardest to get through. When writing is tough how about 200 words?

Realize this all of this and move on. It's like the Serenity Prayer. I've quoted it often these past few months. There are things in my life which I cannot change and I have the wisdom to know it.

I am currently riding the waves until things calm down to a squall instead of a hurricane. No, this is not writer's block. I've stopped writing for a time. There is a big difference in the two. I know this because I've been through this before. Not for this long, but I know it will pass.

I have the courage to say this will pass and I will once again write again. I know this. I believe this. And, I look forward to this in the near future. There's not much a writer can go through that I haven't walked in their shoes. I've been at this for a every long time.

Along the path of writing there are stones in the road. You may have stubbed your toes on a few, or even tripped and fallen. Yes, there is pain involved, but in the grand scheme of things...you are a writer. That's what you do. That is in essence of who you are as you sit there pounding away at a keyboard. Nobody ever promised that anything you wanted to do would not be without some sacrifices.

Again I say, realize this and move on.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.


6 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes it will pass. I went many months without writing between my second and third book, and it wasn't a slump. I just wasn't motivated by a good idea. But one did hit me eventually.

J.L. Murphey said...

Alex, I've just never had one last this long before. Maybe because I always worked on several works in progress at once. Or it could be my stroke. Or it could be life in general.

Barb Polan said...

"Goals are flexible" - I love that. I generally think of goal-switching as giving up, being unable to accomplish the first goal, so lowering the bar. I have a PT, though (I'm a stroke survivor), who calls it "changing your mind," something we're all entitled to do throughout our lives. That's very forgiving - something I have trouble with is letting myself off the hook.

J.L. Murphey said...

Goals are something you strive towards. Timelines are just self or others impose on you. Sometimes the two do not mesh well.

Lara Lacombe said...

Always good to be reminded that beating yourself up is not the way to kickstart productivity/creativity.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JL .. life is life isn't it - and sometimes we just need to be. I'm sure when the time is right you'll start again ..

You are writing - you are recording your daily turmoils or daily journey .. and teaching us things as you go along this roller coaster journey .. good luck with patience before the ups start to come along - I'm sure they will ..

With thoughts - Hilary