Tuesday, November 16, 2010

getting out of a slump.

So, i had a small writer's slump for about a week to ten days. i thought i might literally lose my mind. But i refuse to submit to the term 'writer's block' as it sounds very painful, and about as final as death. Well, my writer's slump came to a glorious conclusion and i churned out about 50 pgs today. So, here is my official list of tips to end writer's slump/brain drain/inspirational drought/or whatever other term you like.

Tip #1: Go for a walk. do not bring music, a book, or anything distracting. daydream about that glorious day when you'll be published, your characters, the characters from another book you wrote, someone else's characters, or what you'll say if you ever meet Jake Gyllenhaal, or who would play your characters in a movie (that last one is my favorite).
Tip #2: Read over the stuff  you've written before. This can help or not. I did a lot of this during my slump, ended up reworking and changing one of my endings, possibly throwing out an entire book. but when my ending was done, i knew that had been my calling, and i'd been stuck partly b/c i needed to go back and fix that. once i did, i was ready to get back to my current story. However, i also think that reading whatever you've written in a book so far will help you write the rest. I was lost in my other characters from another book, but rereading what i'd written up to this point made me want to write about these characters, now.
Tip #3: Skip ahead. My brain tends to work faster than my fingers (thank goodness), so sometimes i have ideas that have nothing to do with a current scene, but are still inspired. Sometimes i leave them alone and let them marinate for a while, and when i'm ready for the scene they've polished in my mind. but not very often. usually, i think and rethink the scene while i'm walking, driving, working, or doing something else requiring little attention. i think, wow, this scene is really inspired and great. Then later i write it down and it's crap. So my best suggestion is to write it down while it's fresh and shiny in your mind. Yes, maybe it happens in chapter 48, and i'm only on chapter 15. Or maybe it happens in book 6, and i'm only on book 3. doesnt matter. write it down. it's in my mind, so it needs to be spewed. maybe i'll use it, maybe i wont. maybe by the time i get there, it's summer instead of winter, and i have to change the snow to rain, or a hundred other little things. but it's usually better than if i dont write it down right away. Also, if i'm having a hard time where i am, it helps to write something that's inspiring me. it makes me want to keep writing to get there.
Tip #4: Switch POV. Someone told me adding a new character always gets them out of a writing slump. that doesnt help me. but writing from a different character's POV helps me tremendously. maybe that other one is boring me, or not much is happening with him, or i have so many things that need to happen that i'm overwhelmed. if i stop and leave that story for a bit and write about a different character and what's going on in her life, i'm fresh when i go back. That also just happened to me.
Tip #5: be flexible.
this goes back to the last two. when i was stuck, i kept staring at the screen, reading the last few sentences, dragging out a few more. Then i had an inspiration, and it wasn't from any of the characters i'm writing about. But so what? So maybe this book will have 7 POVs instead of the usual 4. maybe i'll cut some of them out later. But you know and love all the characters so far (or know them anyway) so you won't be lost if i go ahead and halfway through the book revert to some people you haven't heard from for 3 books. Right?

so that's it. those are my writing tips for ending a slump. i'm sure there are a gazillion more, but that's what worked for me. Also, thank your characters who got you out of your slump. on that note, thank you Marisol, Milton, and Meyer. My reverting M&M&M's stories jump-started me. i'm sorry for the fateful end of one of you, but hey, somebody had to do it. :( Just because i killed you doesnt mean i love you any less.

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