4 Tips to Beat the Writing Slump

155015_10152470039320296_481028802_nRecently I’ve been in a writing slump. This is similar to writer’s block in the way that I wanted to write, I had story ideas, but every time I opened up the Word Doc or looked at my printed MS I didn’t know how to proceed and what to do to make it better. I’m blaming self-doubt for this. That voice in the back of my mind piped up, thinking that everything I did was no good.

How to beat the slump

There were four things I did to bring myself back out of the slump.

1) Defining a theme. I felt there was no focus in my stories (yes – I was in a slump for all three short stories I was writing.) I knew what the plot was but something just felt missing so I defined my theme. Defining the theme gave me a better idea about the conflict and gave me more ideas about how to present each scene and ways to show my theme using the characters. It gave my story more focus.

2) What I love about the characters. I’ve written about some of the characters before, I knew them well, but somehow they felt 2D. I needed to rediscover what I loved about them, their quirks and flaws and the dynamics between each other. I had to work out the conflict and their history. Falling in love with them again brought back my enthusiasm to write the story.

3) Why I wanted to write the story. What did I have to say that was so important that I wanted readers to take away from my story? How did I want them to feel when reading it? What was the purpose? This is tricky to figure out. For me, I love my characters, and I want my readers to get to know and love them as I do.

4) Write through the doubt. It was difficult to shut that voice up but I did it with focus. I sat down with my printed MS and let myself just focus on the words and edit as I normally would. When I’m not focussed on what I’m doing then self-doubt tries to drag me down. I had to focus to work through it.

I worked myself out of this writing slump and had a great writing sprint, I just hope that I can keep it up and remember these steps for future slumps.

Self-doubt is the killer of creativity. Remember that!

Have you suffered through writing slumps? If you have any tips of how you overcame them, please share!

6 thoughts on “4 Tips to Beat the Writing Slump

  • February 4, 2013 at 10:22 am
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    It’s hard when you hear the voice that what you’re writing stinks, I think you just have to fight your way through it. Good luck!

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    • February 4, 2013 at 10:46 am
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      Thanks Victoria! I have to remember that the more I write, the more I learn, the better my writing will be 🙂

      Reply
  • February 4, 2013 at 10:25 am
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    I find that my main enemy is perfectionism and the obsession with doing things “the right away”. Leaving aside the obvious matter that there are only guidelines in writing, and no actual rules, this approach usually only results in frustration and procrastination. How do I face it? Personally I’ve found that when I stop obsessing about perfection and start focusing on having fun and experimenting, I actually write much better and learn a lot more! So yes, remember to keep having fun with writing: first of all to live better with this passion, and second, it’s more important to your growth than what you’d think! 😀

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    • February 4, 2013 at 10:48 am
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      That’s some really good advise Sara. Sometimes I struggle to choose between what I should do and what I want to do and forget that the writing rules are just guidelines. I’ll definitely try and look at my writing as you do and see how I get on. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  • February 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm
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    Ruth, the obvious answer is to ask Bandit for inspiration.

    Or, look outside of yourself. I watched Chinatown this weekend. This isn’t writing. True. But it is, in a way. Analyze the structure of movies (or novels), and this may help to give you the spark you need to get back to the word processor. If all else fails, there’s always Bandit.

    Prospero

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    • February 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm
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      That made me laugh! I bet Bandit is buzzing with great ideas, mainly to do with carrots I suspect 🙂
      That’s some good advise, I do like to look at the structures of movies and books and try to spot things or guess things earlier on. Good idea!

      Reply

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