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Your Worst Slump

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Netardapope, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. Netardapope

    Netardapope Sage

    Being writers, we share the misery of long periods of creative famine. There are days where we get up and feel absolutely nothing. Sometimes these are weeks. Sometimes months. Years?

    The point is, some of these "slumps" last far longer than we ever wish they did. So, in an attempt to peer into other people's suffering, I found it proper to ask what was your WORST slump.

    Of the top of my head, my worst slump was when I was transitioning to a new style of writing. I found myself incapable of writing anything longer than 10 pages for a month and a half.

    What was yours?

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  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    4 years. A series of things [internal and external] occurred that put me out of the mind set to write. When I got the chance to sit at a keyboard or get pen in hand; nothing came.
    Eventually I decided to stop trying and wait it out.
    It was only when I started dreaming again [about three years after the events started] did I feel I could try to write.
    Netardapope likes this.
  3. Netardapope

    Netardapope Sage

    I feel you. I've had those myself, but never to that scale.

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  4. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    I dropped physical writing for many years (still lots of in the head work) but I wouldn't call it a slump of creativity, per se. I decided at some point to go live life and come back to writing. It's a beautiful thing, writing not being a contact sport, you can do it until you die. When younger I was too naive to experience much in the way of slumps, I just wrote. College years I'd experience them some, mighta been all the beer, but no recollection of their length... again, may be the beer effecting the memory. I think most of my slumps were due to being frustrated with my writing and some point thinking college writing courses were friggin' stupid (looking back, I still believe that) Now that I'm content with my prose and style and story, the only slump (outside of physical illness or bodily pain) I've had was after finishing book one. Recovering from the high, the come down, and wrapping my head around book 2 took a bit. And of course editing book 1 screws with writing book 2.
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  5. I don't think my creativity ever runs dry. Those ideas are always there; they're just not making it to the paper. Sometimes they're frantic, trapped. Trying to fight their way out. Sometimes they're lethargic, or retreated back into the darker corners of my mind and dozing. But they're always there, and I always feel some kind of strain or pressure because i'm not getting them out. Not writing is bad for my mental health. (Unfortunately, poor mental health is also bad for my writing.)

    I have down periods where I can't seem to write much every so often. I'm in the middle of one. I'm full of pieces of ideas, but none are forming themselves. I've written some poetry. But all my waiting story ideas? Still waiting.

    My worst one? Probably when I was blocked on my huge ambitious project but couldn't yet decide to lay it aside and write something else. That period was a year and a half long. Not much got written then. I regret that time. I could have been growing. Of course, toward the end of it I started just writing random whatever and that gave me material for more stories, new ones, so i guess nothing is wasted.
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  6. Netardapope

    Netardapope Sage

    Very true. Every word you write is a leap forward. Granted, it could be argued that you learn more by finishing projects, but that doesn't take away the fact that you still learn something from abandoned WIPS even if it is not as much as a finished one.

    In my experience, I learned the most after writing a 65 chapter WIP and abandoning it in the last stretch. I couldn't bear it anymore. It was a miserable excuse of a novel with structural issues. But the pain of that slog made me examine myself.

    It gave me an excuse to see what it was that made me repulsed of my writing. This allowed me to notice the flaws that allowed to transition into my current style. Not that I'm perfect, but I'm cettainly better than I was five months ago.

    As cheesy as it sounds, every word, even the poorly composed ones, are a step forward. Maybe not a leap and certainly not a lap. But they are a step forward.

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  7. Devora

    Devora Sage

    for the last 3 years i've been in much of a slump. Barely writing long amounts of sentences, and still having having trouble finishing my novel i've been working for almost 6 years and coming close to just trunking it indefinitely.

    it's been a struggle to find the motivation to be a true writer again.
    Netardapope likes this.
  8. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    I don't really have slumps like that thankfully. I normall get one of a week or two after I've finished a book and got it out - the edit process really wipes me out and it's hard to want to focus on anything except mindless entertainment after.

    But I think the thing that saves me is how I write - pure pantster. Yeah I don't want to reopen the debate here, but my thought is that being a pantster is far more motivating than plotting. It's exciting. Whereas writing to a plot is constricting. Yes it comes with major problems - endless unfinished books for a start - but for me at least it is the joy of writing. Kill the rules, dump the plots, just let yourself be free.

    Cheers, Greg.
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  9. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    Since I decided to start taking writing more seriously, I've only had one period where I couldn't write. And that was because health problems made it so I couldn't look at a computer screen for more than a few minutes without going buggy-eyed.

    Any way after about 6 months, the health issue passed, and it took me another good six months to a year to get back on track again with writing. Sometimes all I could get out was a hundred or so words, but I kept hammering at it one word at a time. Sometimes it was like trying to crap out a brontosaurus, but it got easier and easier until I was back into the groove of things.
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  10. Addison

    Addison Auror

    I had a bad slump lasting several months. At some points it felt more like borderline insanity but, looking back, a slump. Everyone falls into a slump for different reasons and can pull themselves out in their own way. My cure is deadlines. During my slump I just woke up and wrote whenever an idea or drive came, which was rare and usually overshadowed by Youtube and Netflix. Now, with check point deadlines building toward a penultimate deadline, I've yet to hit a slump. Anxiety? Yes. Slump? No.

    So if you are in a slump, look at other parts of your life and figure out what helped/helps you keep the passion or get excited and find a way to apply it to your writing life.
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  11. Aurora

    Aurora Sage

    It seems like--ok, no--I do go into a slump right after finishing a project, swimming in an ocean of uncertainty until I decide which book to work on next. In all the years, I still haven't figured out how to stop this but it feels--off. There's a list of barely started projects in my computer and I dilly dally through them until I lock one down. That's the best way I've been able to stay engaged. Guess that's my advice? Play until something hits?

    I can soooo relate. Also a pantser here. Sometimes it's terrifying when starting a new project not knowing where it's going but it all ends well. Readers keep buying my work so even though I'm still afraid, guess there's a proven track record of everything being okay anyway. Yeah, editing wipes me out too. Editorial changes are a pain and by that time, I'm ready to move on to something else but can't until the one project is complete.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017

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