You’ve begun a great novel or nonfiction book. Ah, the inspiration! Your fingers have been flying across the keyboard, words appearing at lightning speed.
These characters are fabulous! And ah, the twists and turns of a perfect plot running through a storyline created by the gods!
What could be more of a rush?
Nothing. At least to writers. Absolutely nothing takes the place of racing along after your people and words.
And then . . .
Usually about the middle of the book, sometimes sooner, although most of us get through the first 1/3 still on the go, but somewhere after that, things slow down. The scenes don’t quite run off your fingers through the keyboard and onto the page.
At least not as they had been doing.
Worst-case scenario: you find yourself in the slog of sagging middles.
Even best-case, however, usually leaves you in some sort of lag.
And when that happens, it’s easy to get bored with the whole thing.
I can’t tell you how many writers give up at this point—I know, because they tell me. And even if giving up isn’t an option (good for you!), dealing with that boredom beast can be tricky indeed.
Because you know that if you’re bored writing it, you’re reader has already gone off to something else . . .
The first thing to do is to diagnose the problem.
Are you really bored with these people? This story? Or do you just not know where they go from here.
Do you truly believe the plot isn’t holding water? Or have you written yourself into a box that you don’t know how to get out of.
Are you afraid you can’t finish this book successfully? Or is there a deeper fear of failure of success.
Yep, all writers face these questions. And the answers hold the key to which direction you’ll find your way out.
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The mid-section of the book can seem like a slog. But in reality, a lot needs to happen here. Yep, the pacing ebbs and flows through this more than in the beginning or the end, but action and movement still drive the plot forward.
If you’re bored with the people, take your main character and write a story from his childhood, or her teenage years. Something entirely different from this book, and probably not to be included. But take her on a hike of the Himalayas (literally or metaphorically), and have her face beasts there. That’ll get your creative juices pumping.
If the plot has you boxed, brainstorm the most fantastical ways your hero can get out of it. You know, the MacGyver method! Let whatever comes come, no matter how crazy. Before you know it, you’ll be laughing—and laughter takes creativity to the nth degree.
If you’re afraid of failure, well, join the club—all writers are.
And if you’re afraid of success—pretty much ditto.
Those are two sides of the same coin. Tell that beast you hear him, that he’s probably right, but right now you need to write that scene where your hero faces the zombies and they melt into a puddle (even if, no—especially if—you’re not writing zombie books. You want to see what your hero in any genre would do if faced with the dead folks walking).
If none of this works (or even if it does—as something will), take a break and read. Read something entirely different from what you normally do; different from what you write. Let your brain shift.
See how other writers get out of boxes. Be in awe (or not!).
Read humor. Dave Barry always works for me. If nothing else, your mood will lift. Over 50 years of research has proven the humor/creativity link, and this one is fun to boot.
You’ll return to your book refreshed, with renewed vigor, which will translate to the page.
If this boredom recurs down the road (which it likely will), rinse and repeat.
How do you deal with boredom in your writing?