Thursday, June 10, 2010

Writing Slumps And Dumps

I have to admit, I've been pretty annoyed lately. I've been down in the dumps about this awful writing slump of mine. After spending months on TANGO, writing or editing nearly every day, it's been weird to just sit around. Now that the story's complete, and agents are looking at it, I vowed to work on another project. So I started TAC (The Age of Consequence, the second book in the series), then decided it might be best to take a little break from that world and start a side project to help keep myself balanced. Personally, I find working on two very different projects to be very helpful in terms of keeping myself sane. I don't know why, it's just the way I've always been.

So I went through my graveyard file (yes, it's legitimately named that, and color-coded gray) and dug out an old favorite of mine, Abra Cadaver. I'd written about 35k back in 2007, but reading through it, realized how terrible it was. Determined to fix it, I labeled the rewrite, Saving Grace, as my summer 2010 project.

And after a week, I gave up.

I had no fire for the story, and no idea what to do with it. Everything I tried to write came out sounding like crap, and I was left feeling deflated and angry.

Where was my muse? Why had it abandoned me? It was as if anything outside the TANGO realm refused to be written. I couldn't work on old stories, and where I'm usually bombarded by new ideas daily (I think my writer friends, and readers, are probably sick of my writing ADD), I hadn't had one in months. I felt dried up and washed out, and it was a feeling I did not enjoy.

My best friend offered a few suggestions, all of which I turned down. Not because they were bad ideas, but because I know how I write, and I know what does and doesn't work for me. She suggested I work on some shorter pieces, or take a break, or use Write or Die to coax something out of the darkness of my pen. And I'm sure some of those things would have worked for someone else, but they just couldn't fix me.

In truth, I usually just sit around and wait. I tried to write through it, but that idea failed. Hoping inspiration would strike seemed like the best bet.

And I turned out to be right.

I'm usually inspired by really ridiculous things that somehow weave themselves into a legit plot once I start writing. TANGO sprung from my Nazi Germany class. This latest idea of mine came from a commercial for America's Most Wanted, of all things. I wasn't expecting it, but in the two days since I saw the commercial, I've written a prologue I'm actually really happy with. And while I still haven't worked out the plot's finer points, I've got a direction, and I'm running with it.

I think we all go through slumps in our writing. No doubt, they're incredibly frustrating, and make you want to bash your head against your desk. The best advice I can give, however, is to be patient. Ideas are like love - they come to you when you least expect them.

1 comment:

  1. I call my ideas folder "Idea Graveyard" too, most people are all "WTF?" when I mention that. =P

    I'm doing the summer novel challenge on TWA and at 16K I'm already all writers block-y and I want to change story. =/