Slumps happen to all creative people. One minute you can’t get your ideas out fast enough and you’re producing at a high level, then the next your mind is a wasteland and you’re binge watching shows you’ve seen a hundred times on Netflix. Writing slumps are normal. They can occur after a long period of writing or during a difficult period in your life. Here are a few tips to motivate you back to being creative again.
Create a mock book cover using Canva or another graphic design tool. Select free pictures from Pixabay, Unsplash or Pexels for a front cover image. Use Canva’s features to pick fonts and play with the design. Seeing your book cover with your name on it moves your novel from the abstract to reality. This may help you to press forward to reach the end. Here are a few covers I made to help me to the finish line with my books.
Create a character collage. Search Pinterest for images that look similar to your main characters and settings. Or, you can hire an artist on fiverr or tumblr to draw your characters. There are also online character creators such as Azalea’s dolls. You’ll get excited and continue your story, seeing the images of the people and places that reside in your head in one place. These are some images I used to keep me on track to finish Hound Dog Confidential and Through the Villain’s Eyes.
Read. Read. Read! Go wide with your reading choices. This may not seem like it would work, but reading—especially something outside of your usual genre—opens the mind to new ideas and tropes. They will motivate you to continue and might even spark ideas for your story.
Get rid of negativity. This includes a buildup of negative thoughts like imposter syndrome or “not good enough” disease, or “my writing sucks” sickness—nothing will put you in a deep slump faster. Stop comparing yourself and your work to others. You are more than good enough. Don’t let doubt and fear come between starting or finishing your work. Ask for help or just a shoulder to cry on. Talk to a friend, family member or writing group. Weed out naysayers from your life with a machete. Write down what is causing you to procrastinate and analyze the list. Sometimes just seeing your fears and negativity on paper helps to set them aside and refocus on writing.
Just start writing, anything, no matter what it is. You can journal, do a blog post, info dump ideas or free write. Put whatever down on the page. Get words out even if they are useless and not part of your current work in progress. The worst thing about slumps is that they make getting started seem like climbing Mt. Everest. Never fear! Every time you start it will get easier and easier. Soon, you’ll be saying, “Slump? What slump?”
Research the writing industry. If you want to go the traditional route, write a practice query letter and make a list of names and contact information of agents you’re interested in. If you’ve decided on the self-publishing route, then open accounts on Amazon, Draft2Digital, or any other e-book publisher (Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life, Smashwords). For already self-published authors, you can create a MOBI file of your work in progress using Calibre. You’re not going to send, upload, or publish your unfinished manuscript. All of this is motivation. It will help you see the forest before the trees by making the next steps tangible.
Stay healthy. You can’t be creative if you’re stressed, sleep deprived and living on Cheetos and boxed wine. Go outside, take a walk, meditate, and socialize with those people who call themselves your family and friends. Most importantly, eat well and get enough sleep. You don’t need a muse to tell you taking care of yourself will improve your writing.
Remember, writing slumps will only last as long as you let them.
What are some ways you’ve gotten out of a writing slump?
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