I smell fresh Monday…
Which means it’s back to the good ol’ grind and time for Meditative Monday!
And today’s topic was brought on by something that I was discussing with a writing friend a few days ago.
He was worried because he felt disconnected from the story he wrote a while back. So naturally I’d asked him if he was working on this project every day.
He said, no because he was working on other projects on and off.
Needless to say, I assured him that he had nothing to worry about. After all, there’s a reason why we’re advised to let a manuscript rest while before we edit.
But that lead me to think, what about those of us who feel disconnected in the middle of our stories? What about when the draft isn’t finished and we have no fucking clue how to get our mojos back?
So here’s hopefully some tips to help you along when that happens.
1.) Do Not Stop Writing
And I repeat, do not stop writing. This is because the longer you stop doing something, the harder it is to start doing something.
But also understand that not writing will only fuel the disconnection between you and your story. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to bang your noggin against the computer trying to push ahead. Try freewriting on the side about your story. Or try writing another scene that interests you.
Often times the biggest stopper is the fact that we can’t even start. Hell, sometimes it takes me hours to start working on Vicissitude because I’m guilty of listening to my character playlists, looking at pictures, daydreaming about scenes instead of writing the damn things.
Now the reason why I recommend freewriting is that I’ve had scenes pop out of nowhere sometimes. I’ll write choppy phrases and then somehow a character might say something and then somehow it will trigger a whole scene. It could help out if you’re one of those folks who get intimidated by a blank page.
2.) Learn To Pay Attention To Your Gut Instincts
Sometimes the reason we’re stuck is not because we don’t know enough, but because we’re trying to force something into the story that doesn’t belong.
I was actually going through this the other day when I was stuck on a scene where I wanted to introduce a new character into the novel that I had planned into my outline. I tried really hard to cram him in, but when it came down to write his entry, I just couldn’t do it.
I’d open the document, but then get easily distracted. I just couldn’t get myself interested in writing him at all and it didn’t feel right.
So eventually I gave up and decided that maybe if I was feeling that way about writing that character, I probably shouldn’t put him in there. When I took that character out of the scene not surprisingly, my productiveness went back to normal.
So always pay attention to how you feel about what you’re writing, especially if you have your events planned out like I do. I personally don’t believe in forcing yourself to write scenes that you hate. Because if you hated writing it, what makes you think that other people would like reading it?
3.) Reexamine Your Characters In The Scene You’re Writing
Writing is as much an act of discovery as it is of telling a good story. And there’s no better vehicle of discovery than our characters. They sneak poison into the cups of people we thought were their best friends. They jump into abandoned temples with the cashier they met at Walmart. They snap at each other’s throats like cats and dogs on moment and in the next, they kiss in the rain.
Characters tend to grow, change, and slowly reveal more of themselves during the course of a story, and the story has to adjust for that. If you’ve ever tried to write a scene with a character that ended up not feeling quite right, this is probably the culprit. And it’s important not to treat your page 223 MC the same way that you treated her on page 35.
I had this happen in a scene with one of my characters where I’d long had the expectation for her to be reckless, cold, and withdrawn because she’d been that way in other drafts and side projects and I was shocked (and happily curious) that she didn’t retain much of any of those. Instead, I found out that she was struggling with her own insecurities the same as any normal person would.
So if you are stuck in this area, make sure that your story is well adjusted for character growth! Just because you’re certain at the beginning doesn’t mean that you can be certain anywhere else!