Tag: Writer Resources

Merciless Middle Ground

After spending nearly 33,000 words to begin a tale that in my mind spans a trilogy of epic adventures, I’m finding motivation to continue investing time and talent elusive. From successful writers (unlike me), I’m learning that this malady commonly strikes writers when they reach the middle of a story.

It’s frustrating to me because I know where I want the story to go. There are a few blurry areas, but I’m sure my characters will guide me through those portions. Why can’t I write it then?

You know I’m going to play the “I’ve been so busy” card. It’s a favorite ploy of Type A overachievers such as myself. Our poor, over-inflated and highly sensitive egos couldn’t handle the truth. (Jack Nicholson, “You can’t handle the truth!”)

Time for a reality check. I’m tired. I’m sick of school and work and my creativity feels like it’s abandoned ship. Eking out three blog posts a week feels like ripping out my fingernails and toenails at the same time.

Recently, I’ve seen some advice from other writers (like this one from Kristen Lamb, my blogging guru). I’ve been trying to check out more blogs, hoping some of the creative talent from these successful scriveners will rub off on me. (Or maybe it’s just another work avoidance tactic. My students may be teaching me something after all!)

This is the advice for this “block” that occurs in the “middle” of a writing project:

  1. Write the ending. Once the ending is there, it shines a light, guiding the rest of the story.
  2. Write about the characters or the setting or what will happen in the next chapter until you find the words for the point in the story where you’ve stalled.
  3. Take a break from the story, but not the characters. Journal their thoughts at the moment you left them. Get inside their minds until their psyche pushes the words onto the blank page.
  4. Start something new. Perhaps the story isn’t destined to work. If it is, it will rise up again later and you can return to it then.
  5. DON’T start anything else. Write. Put your seat in the chair and put words on the page. If you delete them all later, no one cares. The important thing is to keep writing – on this project. If you want to be a finisher, you must keep on keeping on.

What’s your advice for writers like me who get stuck in the middle and lose interest in writing their story? When is the right time to give up? When should we push through even if we hate the writing?