The Mid-Story Insecurities

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Talking to some fellow writers recently, I’ve found we all hit that mid-story slump where we think our work is absolute garbage and that no one is ever going to want to read it. It doesn’t seem to matter how many other books we’ve written and put out or how well those stories were received, our work is trash and we should be beaten down for calling ourselves authors.

I guess maybe it’s because writing, like all art, is subjective and it’s true, people might not enjoy this particular story as much as previous ones we’ve written. It’s also true that most first drafts are…well…close to garbage.  I really do believe in the whole ideal of the story comes alive in editing.  We normally rush and fuss to get that first draft done, straining just to get the story out.  When it comes to the re-reading and editing is where we start to polish and get rid of the stuff that’s not necessary or doesn’t work so well.

It also just seems to go with the job title that authors are insecure about their work.  Maybe we should hire people to stroke our egos during the writing process….naaaahhh that money is better spent on editors, cover designers and little “OMG I hit my deadline!” gifts (which I highly recommend if you need motivation!).

So what should you do if you hit that mid-story slump? Plow through of course!  The beauty of doing Nanowrimo is that you really don’t have the time to go back and re-read what you’ve done already. You just need to keep going and try to hit the 50k or finish. It can help to think back to your previous works and how you may have had the seem feeling during the initial writing and how you ended up with a fantastic finished product, a great book that  people enjoy.  Don’t give up! Remember all those books on the shelves in the store have gone through multiple versions and editing processes until it was ready for mass consumption.

What do you do to get through your mid-story slump?

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4 responses »

  1. I bought myself some small, really bouncy balls to throw against the wall when I feel like that. I also got lots of Coca-Cola and nice black teas. I can only indulge when I’m sitting down to write.
    I also allow myself just 10 minutes to go back and beef up scenes I’ve already written. That usually gets me in the right place to keep writing.
    Slumps happen. I think we all just have to find the right way to deal with them. Sometimes a little sanctioned distraction works. Sometimes a bribe. Sometimes a compromise. We have to do whatever it takes to make us keep going, and realize that other people’s rules don’t have to be our own. We have to OWN our writing experience.

    • Heh I’d get yelled at for the bouncy balls, but the treats to partake only while writing is a nice touch. And I agree, we do have to bribe ourselves sometimes, but I think we’re always happy for it in the end when we’ve got a finished story!

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