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Middle of the Book Blues

Buried in the Slushpile, writing inspiration

Middle of the Book Blues

We’re coming upon the end of the year, and in my case, I’m coming upon the end of my WIP. I’m now 2/3 through the novel I started for NaNoWriMo, and I have hit the hump. You know, that slow, excruciating point in your writing where you already have ideas for revisions, but you’re still trying to slog through the initial draft. There are all sorts of names for it, but I call it the Middle of the Novel Blues.

  • Read Craft books for inspiration.
    Sure, you could read any of mine (shameless plug), but there are other great books out there as well. I’m currently perusing The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer & Matthew L. Jockers. Since it’s not exactly a prescriptive book like many craft books. It doesn’t distract me with revision ideas in quite the same way other books might.
  • Read unrelated genres.
    Sometimes my brain needs a break from the YA fantasy I’m writing. That means I read something very different. Lately, I’ve been reading everything from nonfiction books on the social rules that from our society to adult romance thrillers. Besides being a break, they also offer a different writing perspective from my own.
  • Work on something else.
    Sadly, I can’t spend my whole day writing or worrying over my novel. I have that whole publishing house and all, and those tasks still need to get done. On days when the words just will not come, I stop wasting time banging my head against the keyboard and instead, I get myself ahead of where I need to be on my other tasks. For example, I had a day where I sat down to write only to discover that the scene I had planned out was literally going to do the exact same thing as the scene before. Instead of wasting time on a redundancy that I already knew would be cut, I wanted to skip to the next scene. The only problem was I hadn’t visualized the next scene yet. Writing on the fly does not work for me. Instead, I spent the writing time drafting half of the book reviews I need to write in 2018. That will free up a good deal of writing time in the future.

Whatever you do to make it through the Middle of the Book Blues, don’t abandon your novel. It really is just a slump. It’s not a disaster, your novel isn’t the worst thing you’ve ever written, and it’s not worth giving up on at this point. You can plug through.

*Note a version of this post went out to my newsletter earlier this month. If you want to get stuff first, sign up for the newsletter on the homepage.

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