I try to work on my manuscript all day Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays and intermittently on the other days of the week. I head into the local library and work there because I’ve found that it forces me to work when I seem to find too many distractions at home.
Monday started out like any other day. I had a plan for what I wanted to work on, but when I sat down to write the words simply wouldn’t come. I sometimes find this is the case when I’m not sure what chapter/scene/dialogue I want to write next, but I’d sketched out the scene in my head the night before.
People would probably chalk this up to ‘writer’s block’, but I really don’t like using that term. Yes, I was struggling to put words on paper, but I feel like the term gives you an excuse to momentarily accept defeat. I don’t like that at all. I have never liked the term, and I truly think that you can work through a slump, even if you achieve just a small amount of work.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation before I’ve listed some tips below that might help you get back to the page.
- Writing is often times a challenge. There’s that saying that if it was easy everyone would do it, and it isn’t wrong. Even on really good days, I don’t write at the speed of light because my ideas are flowing so fast that I can barely put them on the page. If I find that I’m super motivated/inspired I often write slower, more methodically because I want to make sure that I capture my idea to the best that I can in an initial draft.
- There is a difference between giving up and taking a break. My little story ends with me following my own advice and taking a break. I knew that I’d pushed myself to write more than I thought I could on Monday, so I felt o.k. in taking a break. I can’t say I felt great about it because I didn’t have some nagging thoughts of guilt run through my brain later that day.3. Know when you’ve done enough for the day. There are some people who set a goal of a certain number of words a day. I generally stick to a word count, or a set amount of time to work depending on whether I’m creating new content or editing for the day. That said, I’ve often pushed myself too far and burnt myself out. I was tired and cranky, and I didn’t have any motivation to work the next day. Some people don’t get burnt out, but I suggest finding a healthy, daily workload that you can stick with and enjoy.
4. Read something for inspiration. It doesn’t have to be something literary, and often times when I’m frustrated with my own writing I search out a book that is nothing but fun. I let reading take me out of my own head. I find a book that inspires me by the story. Something that I think is so well written/motivational/exciting that I want to try and write something like it myself.
5. Find a prompt. If all else fails I love going online and finding the most outlandish prompt I can. Do I look at it and think that it’s completely bonkers? Yes? Then that’s the one I pick. I find that the more out of your comfort zone that a prompt is it has the better chance of getting you out of whatever slump you might find yourself in.