Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Writerly Wednesday: Stagnating like a chlorine-less swimming pool

Stagnation usually happens around Chapter 5, and occurs when you are not exactly blocked, because you know where you are going with your plot, but you just can't face writing the rest of the book, because its so looooong, and so difficult, and takes so much effort, and... (fill in own excuse here)

Classic symptoms include...

  • Eating (the more chocolatey the better)
  • Wandering around the garden with a cup of tea
  • Moaning, often whilst clutching your head, and doing 'sad eyes' at your husband
  • The internet
    • Facebook obsession ("but I'm just setting up my author page")
    • Forums ("but I'm just getting myself out there")
    • Commenting on things you normally ignore, eg, newspaper articles ("but WHY are they having these slutwalks in WINTER??")
    • Buying things on ebay
    • Spending a lot of time on frivolous pages where you can design things to decorate your blog with...

    • Ranting on Twitter
    • Prettifying your blog 
    • Ranting on Twitter about prettifying your blog
    • Putting every random thought that comes into your head on Twitter/your Blog
  • Spending time with children
  • Unbearable sookiness which morphs quickly into irritability
  • Self-hate and loathing
  • Quitting being a writer FOREVER
  • Being bored, bored, bored with everything under the sun
  • Unnaturally clean house
  • Ringing Mother
  • Filling freezer with 'ready meals'

There are cures for Stagnation (however, you have to motivate yourself to do them, which is the practically impossible and extremely annoying bit)
  • Have a day or two off (careful, it can become weeks, and then you have to re-read what you wrote which leads to a rewrite and then more stagnation)
  • Lock self in room with computer and no internet connection (or tough love, does work after you realise you can't scratch your way through the door)
  • Bribe self to work (rarely works as bribe gets eaten before work done)
  • Change of scene (this does work)
    • Set up new writing nest in inconvenient place (eg kitchen table)
    • Get out of house and write in a cafe (cake helps here)
    • Jot down scene while travelling on train, in car, on cruise around Mediterranean...
  • Write differently (this works too)
    • Write whilst listening to music
    • Handwrite a scene in a notepad
  • Read a really terrible terrible novel (this ignites the indignant 'I can do better than this' response)
  • Set an embarrassingly small goal (say 150 words), achieve it.  Set another small goal, achieve that, repeat. (this works)
But the thing to remember above all, is that most writers stagnate at some point, its not a failing on your part. The trick is not to let it derail you completely.  You can finish this work-in-progress, you can.  I know you can.  Now get off the internet and go and do it.


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Heather Boyd said...

Are you inside my head this month. LOL. Sadly have exibited almost all of those symptoms. But thanks to you, I think I can be cured. LOL Great post

Caitlyn Nicholas said...

Thanks Heather :)

P_Cassie said...

This is me exactly,especially around chapter 9 for dome reason. As u said I know where I want to go so it's not writers block. I may try some of your tips. I particular like the cruise idea. Don't think it will fly with DH though. Thanks for a great blog.

Arash said...

hi, nice and interesting blog :) I really enjoy reading ur blog :)