Not only must I summon the courage to be a bad writer — I must dare to be truly unhappy. Desperate. And not save myself, short-circuit the despair.
By refusing to be as unhappy as I truly am, I deprive myself of subjects. I’ve nothing to write about. Every topic burns.
— Susan Sontag (via twotooth)
THE SUPER ACCURATE SNIPER SCOPE
This one’s common. I do it myself but only because most audiences don’t understand how bullets track. It’s the scene where we’re looking through the sniper’s scope and the crosshairs land on the intended quarry square on his or her head. There it is the president, the Queen mum, the guy who made it off of Survivor island and the posts are placed right on their kissers. This might work if the sniper was standing thirty yards away. But the problem is that bullets don’t fire in a flat, straight line. The longer a bullet is in flight the slower it begins to travel and the more it loses altitude. This is called “the drop”. A sniper must take into account the drop, the temperature, barometric pressure and wind direction and velocity when lining up a money shot. So, over a long distance you want to have your crosshairs above the target. If all is right under God’s heavens then the bullet will then “drop” where you want it. I cover this one by having my shooters mention this aspect of long range sniping. And never aim for the head. You want a “center shot” or chest shot.
Over the course of the writing adventure, most of you will experience what will feel like the worst rut you’ve ever been in. Words don’t flow—putting each one onto paper is a chore in and of itself. All your ideas lead to dead ends, and you feel like it’s time to put your novel to rest.
That’s the rut I was just in for over a month, and it was beyond painful. I’ve been working on this novel for well over a year now, and I honestly thought it was going to come crashing down around me and be forced into a series of Word documents that would collect dust on my desktop until I finally had the guts to delete it.
So to celebrate me coming back to this blog, I thought I’d supply my strategy for getting out of my slump.
Disclaimer: This may not work for you. Everyone is different, and this is just one strategy out of many.
- Close your Word Docs.Sometimes, just staring at a blank screen (or even one with writing) can make it worse. Give yourself a break. Go watch videos on Youtube or make a Neopets account. Give yourself something fun to do for a little while.
- Keep the story in your mind. One of the worst things that you can do while in a slump like this is push it completely from your mind. If you do that, you run a risk of putting your story down and never picking it up again.
- Read for fun. Chances are, you’re already doing a lot of this. But just in case you aren’t, pick up a book that you’ve always wanted to read but for whatever reason haven’t started and tuck in.
- Think about what else is going on in your life and assess it properly. The reason I fell into my writing slump was because of school. I was taking four classes at once in a university for the first time, and I was scared to death of failing three of them. It was stressing me out to the point where I was pulling out my eyelashes. If you’re under stress, don’t feel bad taking a break from writing to get the rest of your life in order.
- Don’t rush yourself. If you try to force yourself to write when you’re in one of these slumps. This is what happens when you try to force yourself: Nothing. You’ll spend hours staring at a blank document and end up getting frustrated with yourself and hating the work.
So this is how I overcame my slump, and now that I’m back to writing, I feel a ton better. I’ve gotten my drive for writing back and new ideas come much more easily than they did even before I entered my writing slump. Hopefully someone else out there will benefit from this.
Working on them, darlin’. But since I’ve been stressed about my mom the going is a little…. slow.
Stay tuned, they’ll all be updated soon, and thanks for your patience.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO WRITING BETTER THAN YOU NORMALLY DO:
Writing is a muscle. Smaller than a hamstring and slightly bigger than a bicep, and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. Think of your words as reps, your paragraphs as sets, your pages as daily workouts. Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals. Because that is what writing is all about.
— Jorge Luis Borges (via pinheart)