An Object at Rest — The Writing Slump

I am in a writing slump.

Picture taken from Grist.org – an article about climate changes and polar bears

It is my own fault. I got upset and stopped writing.  As Newton or some brilliant observer from the past noticed: An object at rest tends to stay at rest. Thus my short-term decision to cool off from writing has turned out to be a whole month of doing very little.

Gak!

I can’t just not write forever. So there must be a plan.  Here is the current plan: (notice I stole some good suggestions from other places on the hopes that other people might have experience and know how to help)

  • Set a goal – I’m stealing this one from TomLaForce.  The theory is when there is too much to do, focusing on one thing helps. In my case, I don’t have too much to do, I don’t have anything to do.
    • My goal will be: let go of the past that made me cranky and stopped my progress.
    • My second goal will be to find what I miss about writing so that it will lead into the second step of the plan.
  • Renew my interest – Again, I’m a thief. This is one of the most common ideas in all the advice I read. Cranky Fitness calls this reconnecting with goals on an emotional level.
    • Oxford Tefl talks about reenergizing teachers in his blog, but I think some of the concepts are applicable to me. He suggests taking a class, reading articles, going to conferences, getting involved with others who do the same thing.
    • I’ve been looking for a good conference or course to take. My goal at step two will be to sign up and attend a course/conference I find.
  • Make a change – This is one of the many suggestions by Goins Writer, but it appears on many lists.
    • This is one of the plan goals I may have trouble with. I don’t like change. The one change I think may be the one that allows me to move past goal one is the one that will make things slower/harder for me later in the writing process. I think I may be dropping one of my critique groups. I think this will make me sad, but I think it may stop some of the feeling like the fun is being sucked out of the writing community. Plus, it may be possible to rejoin the group after my attitude improves.
  • Be Active – Yuck. Can I just say that I dread this step, but it is a common suggestion. Writer’s Digest says its useful, but I talk a lot to people who are in regular therapy and one of the suggestions in the medical records is often to be active. Even my FitBit tells me to get more active. With everyone telling me it is good for inspiration, mind, and body, I figure I should add it to my list.
    • But I feel the need to add a new caveat to the get active plan. I’m making it a goal to get active and not take my Ipod or music along. Many people tell me that active time is also thought time, and I haven’t had much thinking time recently.
  • Free Write – Center for Writing Studies at University of Illinois – Champaign Urbana says free writing and brainstorming is great for getting moving again.
    • My goal – I’m going to pick some of my story ideas that are not fully developed and think/write about them for a while.
    • One of the things I have been struggling with is the endless cycle of editing and getting nowhere fast. So I think pushing myself to finish the last few chapters of an almost finished story and starting the drafting process on a new story might help alleviate some of the inertia around the project I was working on last month.
  • Be Accountable – I’m actually taking this suggestion from Weight Watchers. I’m sure lots of other people have said it, but it helps to have outside pressure, an expectation, to accomplish a goal. It doesn’t work for everyone but for me it does. I tell people who will be interested. Then when they ask how things are going, I want to try harder, so I can report good things back.

So there is my plan.

1) Set a goal

2) Renew my interest

3) Make a change

4) Get Active

5) Free Write/Move on in my writing

6) Be accountable

I’m not sure it will work. I’m only on step one so far, but I have hope. If anyone has their own suggestion, I’m open for ideas.

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