First, what is the difference between writer’s block and a writer’s slump? Many use the terms interchangeably and that’s okay because they are very similar. For me the difference is writer’s block can happen any time in the writing process and can be temporary. Writer’s slump is that place in your book when you appear to hit a wall.
Chapter 12 is that place for me usually. I’ve powered through – written fast – which usually means a long and tortuous editing process at the end of the draft. The growing word length has motivated me and kept me at it. Then I hit around about chapter 12 and I hit a wall. I’m not sure whether that is normal in the creative process or not, but I know many others have something similar.
12 chapters is a huge achievement but it’s usually at this point that I realise just how much there is still to write.
Don’t get me wrong – I love writing, and I really enjoy the process of getting the words on paper. However, we all experience overwhelm and that seems to be the point at which I do.
So, what can we do about it?
But our job is not to write that entire book TODAY – it’s our job to get today’s writing done. Then tomorrow it’s our job to finish tomorrow’s writing. That is how your book will get written. Don’t take on the whole book, just the bit you need to do today.
‘Make a habit of writing at least one page every day. Before you know it, you’ll have written a book.’ T. Gene Davis
Every book I’ve ever written – the ending has snuck up and surprised me. I didn’t see it coming and there’s a good chance that will happen to you as well.
Stephen King says, ‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.’
But that’s not all – writing – good or bad, happy or sad inspires us. It motivates us to get back to it. Even if it’s only to show that we can do it better than the person who wrote what we’ve just read.
Reading is a great form of escapism as many of us know so removing ourselves even for an hour can get us out of that ‘stuck’ place and kick off our creativity again.
Part of this is about shifting our ‘stuckness’, part is about a helpful exchange of oxygen or location and part of it is exposing ourselves to other potential material. Sometimes even half an hour will shift your slump.
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