Conquering the Blahs

January 14, 2013

When I first started writing, whenever I'd get stuck in my manuscript I'd call it a writer's block.  But I'm not so sure that's what it should be called.  It feels more like writer's blahs.  You know what I mean, the words your typing feel weak and subpar.  Like "Blah blah blah, she went to school.  Blah blah bitch was mean to her. Blah this and blah that to the blahbiddy blah blahs."

I used to force myself to keep writing.  I'd tell myself that just because this scene stinks doesn't mean it always will.  That's what revisions are for, right?

Well "just keep writing"and "there's always revisions" is not cutting it.   I need a new sword to fight this battle.  Usually when I start a book, I plow threw it. But this book I started and the holidays forced me to stop mid-stream.  I feel like I lost my momentum and I'm not sure how to get it back.

So I'm reaching out to my writer friends and asking you, what do you do when you have the writer's blahs? 

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  1. I write picture books, so it's easier to "just write to the end" but I do know what you mean. I can't force myself to write junk -- it needs to flow at least a little bit or I'm totally deflated. When that happens, I take a break and work on something else, usually a poem or something like a pitch or query letter -- just a completely different type of writing.

    It also might help to give yourself permission to skip ahead. If you have a scene or idea in mind that doesn't come until later in the book -- maybe try writing it even if it means writing out of order. Just an idea...

  2. Carrie! That's it. I need to give myself permission to skip ahead. It's my orderly personality that won't let me but if I give permission then I can let go of the worry that what I'm writing is total crap. That's a big help! Thank you so much for coming by.

  3. Have you ever tried going and retro plotting? I've even done that with a whole MS. I replot with pretty colored file cards to look for plot holes and possibilities. It gives me a shot in the arm.

  4. I usually try two things. The first is that I try to go back to the core concept of why I wanted to write this story in the first place. That spark, that idea, the line. Usually music comes into play--lately I've gotten into film scores, go figure. I feel like if I can remember and get back to why I loved this idea above all the others, I'll be in good shape to continue.

    The second has come from a prof who, and granted this is for TV/Film, suggested that we all try to have our own slates. This means that we don't just work on one project but two or three. I know that sounds daunting, but it can be nice. Usually I try to have a main project, but having something on the side is always nice. --That sounded bad, didn't it?

  5. Ahoy,
    Most of the time my writer's blahs can be de-blahed by simply reading aloud the last few paragraphs in the MS -- that usually sets me right back where I need to be. When things get really thorny, a good walk in the night air or a brief paddle in the kayak do the trick.

  6. Thanks guys for all your comments. I just have to say I tried a little bit of everything and I broke through my Blahs! I ended up writing 2300 words! Thanks so much for great ideas.


Love hearing from my friends.♥

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