Shaking the Slump

As a writer, it’s absurdly easy to go from feeling like you’re writing the next bestseller to feeling like you’re writing something not fit even for rats to consume. Here are a few suggestions to shake yourself out of that writer’s slump:

  • Get feedback from your mom. Or your best friend, or your significant other, or anyone who is obligated to love whatever you write. Even if it’s someone you normally trust to give an honest critique, tell them straight out that you need a shameless ego boost. We all do sometimes.
  • Reread your favorite part of your story. It’s a good way to remind yourself that you enjoy what you write and that you can write well.
  • Get away from your work. Ideally, get outside. It is winter, so going outside may not be an attractive option, but just do something that takes your focus away from how terrible of a writer you think you are. Exercise of some sort is a great option: going for a walk, doing a few crunches, jumping jacks, anything to get your blood and endorphins flowing.
  • Write something else that will remind you how much you love writing. Even if it’s just a goofy one-off scene that will never turn into anything, write it to remember the joy of writing.
  • Evaluate your motivation to write. If you’re writing for fame and money, you’re in the wrong business, pal. Nothing but fire and passion can possibly bring you through the torture of dragging a book from inside your mind and wrestling it to the page word by word. Once you realign your motivation and remember that you’re writing this book because it has to come out, not because the rest of the world has to like it, it’s easier to get past that fear of failure.
  • If you’re still worried about whether people are going to like your book, remember that there are people in this world who hate Harry Potter. Insane, I know, but there you go. It doesn’t matter how good a book is, there are always people whose tastes will not align with it, and that’s okay. Just because someone doesn’t like it doesn’t mean that it’s terrible.
  • Remember that you’re still awesome. Bad writing does not a bad writer make. Even if you just wrote the lamest scene ever to appear on paper (or computer), you’re still an awesome writer because YOU ARE WRITING. Plan to fix it later, let it go, and keep on writing, because that’s the kind of awesome writer you are.

So there are my strategies. What do you do to get yourself out of a slump?

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3 Comments

  1. Jeez, woman, what time did you write this? At the armpit of dawn? I hope it was a scheduled post, otherwise, you need more sleep.

    Again, you’ve cracked me on the back of the head with this. I love your strategies. One I have (which is probably terrible) is to read a little of a book you really hate and then pinpoint what you don’t like. Style, syntax, voice, plot, character development, etc, and then go back and read your own stuff. That helps me to remember that even famous authors can write terribly sometimes.

    • Haha, I definitely need more sleep, though Scout did let me sleep in until 6:30 this morning. But most of the post was written last night (while I was having a major crisis of writerly worth), and I finished it up this morning. 🙂

      And I think that’s a great strategy! I got to meet Dan Wells once, and he said, “I wish every aspiring author could read a first draft of Brandon Sanderson’s novels. They’re terrible.” It really does give some perspective to remember that everybody writes terribly sometimes.

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