Monday, June 28, 2010

The Maddening Summer Writer's Slump! Who's got it?

So, I don't know if it's the dog days of summer, the opening of the Harry Potter theme park or the fact that LOST is over forever, but many writers these days are reporting an inexorable writer's slump. Though I'm over mine (Yay!), many writers are still stuck deep in the doldrums of this maddening affliction.

When I'm in a slump, I just ride it out. It's usually because my mind is searching for a story breakthrough and it just hasn't reached it yet. I love doing research and that usually has a way of shaking something loose, as it did a few weeks ago in regards to Book II of the Nightshade Chronicles, which meets its deadline in three short months! Gah!

So, what about you?  How do you kick that block or that 'I have no clue what to write about and never will!' feeling to the curb and get going on your story again or heck, start a new one? I think knowing that so many of us have been feeling terminally slumped lately, it would be of great help to hear how each and every one of us deals with it.

Happy writing (despite that infuriating slump)!

xoxo -- Hilary


  1. I can't decide if I'm in a slump or if I just haven't had time. I guess I'll find out today - my first halfway free day in a long, long time.

  2. It's nice to know everyone gets the slumps once in a while!

  3. I get short slumps. Like right now. I'm actually editing, and I hit a wall that makes me want to throw my computer against the wall. The story says what I want it to say, but it doesn't say it well. And I'm annoyed that it just won't fix itself.

    To get through that, since I can have a small temper sometimes, I'm taking a break, reading and writing blogs, and drinking more coffee.

  4. Yay for beating your slump! I'm still suffering from mine a little, but I'm almost out. I found some pictures that have inspired some scenes, and some music to help me understand the characters, so I just need to work out a few more plot kinks and I should be off and running. Let's hope. :)

  5. I totally am there. Some days I think I'm going to go crazy if I don't sit down and right, but then one of my kids comes in and it's all over.

  6. I've been editing/revising for so long that I've almost forgotten what its like to just write. I'd almost accept being blocked (a little) because that would mean I was writing again. *sigh*

  7. I'm counting down to summer so I can unleash the need to shut out the world and just write - bliss!
    Good luck finding suitable crampons and clambering over the summer slump.

  8. Your sequel is due around the time the first book is coming out? Is that standard?

    My slumps are usually related to feeling like I'll never find the right words. Going back to earlier pieces helps enormously, as does the knowledge that writing is a journey and there are bound to be some bumps along the road.

  9. I think it's important to keep files and writer's notesbooks handy...Any time you get an idea write it down either on paper or on your computer. Then when you are finished with one project or you are stuck and need something new you've got a whole file of ideas awaiting you...

  10. I do the same thing. I just write until the words come. Good luck! =)

  11. Melody, hope your ½ free day went well! Whenever I have the free time is when I'm not inspired to write! It's always when I've got a million things to do! The laundry can wait! ;)

    Lydia, Call me Sir Slumps A Lot! I'm so glad it's over!

    Giles, you'll get through it! I've had that too, when the words just don't sound "right"! I know exactly what you're talking about!

    Shannon, you're the second person this month who's said they are inspired by pictures! I've got to start looking at more pictures!

    Lois, I think writers should get free daycare...just saying!;)

    DL, at least you're dedicated to doing your editing right! That's huge! It's too easy to zip through edits and miss A LOT! You're doing it the right way!

    Hey Elaine, I can't believe Thursday is July 1st! Where did May and June go??

    Hi Kathryn! Yes, my sequel is due to my publisher THE DAY my book hits the shelves! No pressure, right? But I'll happily take it! :)

    Sharon, that's actually a fantastic idea! If only I didn't write my notes on totally random scraps of paper, which are stored here and there all over the darn house!!

    Hi Carolyn! I'm just not one to write when I don't feel it! I know a lot of writers live by that, but it's just not me! Glad I'm not alone!

    xoxo -- Hilary

  12. Yeah, so I just dropped a bunch of stuff off my plate and I'm just getting back to the writing. That's helped! Maybe I'll be inspired to revise my other piece later, if not, I'll just focus on the new novel and see what happens!

  13. I'm totally feeling the slump. I have NO good ideas. What's up with that? Maybe it's the move. Not sure. But I do love your blog. It looks so good!

  14. My slumps usually happen when I'm stuck - specifically when I'm not listening to my characters. I usually need to back up a bit and try again :)

  15. I usually ride it out by revising or taking a break and reading. Right now my problem isn't a slump, but that my summer feels too busy. Please lazy days of summer so I have more time to write.

  16. Yeah, summer slump. I feel it too. For me, it's a combination of the open structure (kids are out of school and need to be busy) and book marketing(instead of writing).

    Summer is also a time when so many people tune out. A hard thing to handle as a writer. Feedback, feedback, feedback

  17. That picture is way too cute. I love rats.

  18. Yes, so it isn't just me! Thank goodness!

    I am working on my second novel which I'm told is the hardest. I have a plot, and the action and romance scenes in my mind. I know the basis of the story from beginning to end. My problem is finding the filler. I didn't have this problem with my first novel.

    Also, I can't help but think about my next novel. I am creating the characters and my current book is getting less 'head' time than my next one.

    Thanks for the blog.

  19. I've got plenty to write, just not enough time to write it. I'm working on a kiddo bribery plan to help me get through my time issues. I'll let you know how that works. Good luck to you! Looking forward to the release!

  20. Whenever I get in a slump I do more research, either that or I look at what's stopping me in the story. One time I was blocked because I allowed a secondary character to become more important than she should have. Once I realized this I deleted about three chapters and then directed my attention back on the protagonist and off the story went. Just a thought....

  21. Karly--Go girl! It's hard to dump things off the proverbial plate, but once you do, you feel so liberated!

    Christina--Thanks, lady! If I can get out of my slump, you can get out of yours!!! Fingers and toes crossed for you! :)

    Jemi--Listening to your characters--love that!

    Natalie--What is this word "lazy" you speak of? :)

    PV--I agree! The waiting is hard enough when it's NOT summer! Ugh!!

    Zelda--I know! I wonder how the rat feels about his costume!

    Rachel--It's so hard to focus on your current novel, when you've got a new idea floating around in your head and especially if you've been working on the current novel for a while! I know exactly how you feel! MUST...STAY...FOCUSED! ;)

    Anita--Ah, the kiddos! I feel your pain! If you come up with a good bribe let me know!

    Kathi--Great advice! Glad to know you're a research girl like me! ;)


    xoxo -- Hilary

  22. I shut my laptop and go for a walk around my neighborhood. There are more ideas outside, I think. :)

  23. I know what I'm going to write about--I just have to make myself put everything else aside and do it! Maybe I need more ice cream :)

  24. Anonymous7/01/2010

    I'm happy to say that I've had no slumps this summer. I've been sitting at my desk and writing every single day, either revising a wip or planning out future ones. I'm a teacher, and with summers off I need to use my time wisely. Once school starts again, I'll be crunched for time.

  25. So glad to hear I'm not the only one! And phooey -- I had just about reached the point of getting over the ending of LOST, and then reading your first paragraph up there reminded me all over again...

    But when I reach an impasse in my writing, I usually take a walk, or pull weeds, or take a shower! Sooner or later, an idea hits me. Otherwise, I just re-read what I wrote the last few days and by the time I finish, the ideas are bubbling over.

    Happy to hear you got over your slump. And thanks for the comment on my blog! (And the nod to indie bookstores on your blog.) Looking forward to your book in October.

  26. I try to figure out if it's distraction or block.

    If I'm distracted, then I have to work on repairing my focus. If I'm blocked, then I have to let go and give time for things to come back into focus.

  27. Hope you had a wonderful 4th weekend/holiday, Hilary!

    As a newbie writer, i get many slumps (some are really lack-of-confidence spurts). I try to switch to something already written and go back to see if I can rewrite with 50 or 100 or 200 less words (picture books). If I can focus on that, not only am I tightening up the language of my story, it makes me feel successful and that often leads me back to my current slumping story!

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