Recapturing The Joy of Writing
About a month ago, I was in a writing slump. I still thought about my novel/work in progress, and I put enough words together to participate in my critique group, but I wasn’t feeling it. Every writing session was a slog. Every constructive critique seemed to be a reminder that I wasn’t writing as well as I’d like to. (Not that my critique group meant it that way—they were very encouraging and helpful.) I just couldn’t get my head in the game.
No magic cure appeared for this writing slump. But I did work my way out of it. I took time to refill the well with positive activities, like yoga, reading, and spending time with family. I worked on writing-related things that didn’t involve words on paper/screen, like creating a timeline to review my plot. I reminded myself of all the positive comments I’d received about my writing. And I gave myself permission to daydream about characters and future stories without attaching deadlines or word count goals to them. Over time, writing became easier.
I thought about this after a recent conversation with my dad. (He’s Don Neal, author of the Ben Hunnicutt thriller/adventure series based in Cold War Alaska. See his website at http://benhunnicutt.com.) We were talking about where we were in our latest projects, and discussing his main character’s relationship with his love interest, and I said, “Isn’t it fun that we talk about our characters like they’re real? Because they are, to us.”
I realized that I meant it. I was having fun. I’d regained the joy of writing.
For those of you who are struggling with your writing, keep in mind that it happens to all of us. Have faith that you’ll find the joy of writing again one day. My formula may not work for you. It might take something else for your particular writing style or personality or life circumstances. But I’m sure that there is one or a combination of things that will help lift you out of your slump, and you’ll find it.
Hang in there. As Red Green used to say, “Remember, I’m pulling for ya. We’re all in this together.” You’re not alone.