How To Get Out Of A Writing Slump

By on September 17, 2017
How To Get Out Of A Writing Slump - Writer's

Let’s face it we’re not perfect, nor are we writing machines. There are days where we sit down to do some writing and think ‘no. Not today,’ and then crawl back to our bed, or stretch out on the sofa and binge watch Netflix feeling horribly guilty about it all the while.

Writing slumps happen to all of us. Whether we start finding excuses not to write, or keep trying but simply can’t find the words we want to come out. Or we can write, but every time we look back on our work we think ‘urgh, what on earth was I thinking?’

It’s hard to keep motivated to write, particularly when most of us have other jobs and busy lives to attend to as well. It’s tough to keep coming up with fresh ideas and writing our very best all the time, and it’s basically impossible not to hate our writing from time to time and wonder what kind of mad fools we have become!

The good news is that while it may be impossible never to have a writing slump again, it is possible to make it that much easier to get over them, to re-focus and start writing again feeling motivated and inspired, refreshed and renewed.

So how do you do it?

Don’t burn yourself out

If you find yourself writing all day and all night, that you lock yourself away from family and friends and get so into your book it's all you can think or talk about, you are likely to burn yourself out, run out of steam and suddenly hit a massive brick wall. Slow and steady wins the race, so keep writing little and often and you’ll find you always have the energy and focus to do a bit more.

Stop when you can do more

Don’t write until you run out of things to say, stop when you still feel as though you are on a roll. That way when you next come back to your writing you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off, rather than spending the first hour desperately trying to think of where to take your book next.

Take breaks and holiday days

Writing is work. Sometimes we love it, and sometimes we hate it, but it’s work all the same. Whether you do it full time, whether you get paid for it or not, it’s still a job, and you need to take proper breaks to be at your most effective. Take regular breaks away from your computer screen, and give yourself ‘days off’ where you don’t need to think about your writing or do any either.

Don’t leave it too long between writing sessions

Make sure you write regularly. Setting up a realistic writing schedule is a good idea. If you only attend to your book once a month, it’s going to be hard to stay excited and passionate about it. So keep writing often, and this will keep your momentum going.

Free write first

Start each writing session with ten minutes of free writing, where you write whatever comes into your head. This way you can ‘brain dump’ all the weird and wonderful things you’ve been carrying with you and start your ‘proper’ writing feeling focused and with a clear head.

Don’t look back until you are done

Some writers refuse to read back what they have written until they are finished the entire story. This takes some discipline but can be helpful if you know you are likely to be particularly critical of yourself.

Stay healthy

Sleep, eat well, exercise and socialise with people in the outside world. If you end up sleep deprived, stressed, and surviving on instant noodles for months on end it’s no wonder that you are going to start resenting your writing and feeling like you don’t want to do it anymore. Remember to look after yourself, stay positive and stop when you need to. Otherwise, you’ll end up doing far more damage to your writing (and yourself) than you need to.

By following the above tips, you can cut those writing slumps short, and make sure that you never stay down for too long. It’s OK not to feel great about your writing all the time, but don’t let those negative thoughts take over, pull yourself back up and just get on with it!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Ty Cohen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *