May 23, 2012

How I Write A Novel: Ugh! The Sticky Middle Again

Okay, so most of you know that I've been doing posts on and off lately about my writing process and how I go about drafting. Last post I talked all about revisions and how many rounds I do, but the truth is waaaaay before I ever get to that point I hit a major wall. The sticky middle. The spot where I feel like I don't have a handle on where the story is going and how I'm going to save myself from drowning in writer's block. It shouldn't happen. I mean, I outline and research and do character sketches...but it does. Every. Single. Time. And if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know this. I've lamented this in more than one post. This is where I struggle to get a paragraph out. I sit and stare out the window and get nothing done. I start googling anything and everything just to avoid the awful feeling of having nothing whatsoever to write about. It SUCKS. About now is where I doubt my ability, my sanity...everything. You'd think it'd be easier now that I actually have an agent and an editor, right? WRONG. If anything it's worse. I want to please them even more than I did when I was trying to woo them because I want them to feel like their faith in me is justified. The awful truth is that after the initial high of having reached some of my dreams, I am right where I always was: in a battle with myself and whatever story I"m working on trying to prove all over again that I can do this job. Sometimes it's like the story is a person--an incredibly stubborn and high maintenance kind of person who only rewards me with conversation when I bend so far over backwards that I'm a human pretzel.  To make matters worse, I am suffering with the worst allergies I've had EVER. And so I'm blocked and look like Mr. Magoo. PRETTY. But I also know that this is where I earn my writing stripes. If I muscle through this bad bit the story will flow again. In a sense I am the heroine of my own story and this is that spot right before the turning point where everything is bleak and dark and hopeless. If I can find a way to overcome it, I will save the day (or the story in this case) and conquer my worst fears. So how do I do this?

1. I write down the plot points I've already drafted on post its and put them on the wall and see where I can readjust things to allow for a new idea.

2. I take a break and get outside. I go to a movie or take a walk. I drive with no destination in mind, just to think.

3. I try to remember that I always hit this place and afrter a few days or a week, I always get through it.

4. I read craft books or get lost in a good novel.

5. I DON'T GIVE UP NO MATTER WHAT. This profession is full of stuff that'll eat away at your confidence. The only people who survive it have determination times ten.

6. If all else fails, I put on ra ra music like Eye of the Tiger--the Rocky theme song or I'm A Survivor by Destiny's Child, get on my rockin' eighties head band and do some dance jogging around the house. (okay, maybe I don't really do this,but  I SHOULD, you know?)

So check out this video. So skip in a few seconds and imagine Mr. T is the story and I'm Rocky--the droopy eyes are about right with my allergies. I'm looking at him like: You're scary. And he's all like: Yeah, I AM scary. You can't beat me FOOL! And I'm all like: Oh yeah? WATCH ME, PUNK! I can do one arm push ups, I GOT THIS! Then I proceed to kick his butt and the crazy Russian blonde guy that tries to double team me. I'm not sure how Hulk Hogan fits into this metaphor, but OMG is he wearing a diaper and Wonder Woman's boots? I gotta watch these movies again sometime!


  1. I call it the Murky Middle. And I HAAATE it!

    Also, do you have leg warmers to go with that head band?? I always wanted some and never had any. I feel so deprived.

    1. There may be a hot pink pair somewhere in the attic of my parents' house---not that they're MINE or anything...and maybe a big Madonna lacey hair bow...just sayin'

  2. Ah, yes. The middle. I'll have to try playing EYE OF THE TIGER now.

    1. It only works if you sing along. LOUDLY:)

  3. Hi Amy! Nice to meet you. I found your blog via Michelle Krys and I love it so far.

    I went a little backwards to read your revisions post because I am currently in the middle of doing that. I am struggling but in my mind's eye I see a version of my ms that is sparkly and finished and so much better so I keep telling myself I can get there. :) I also just subscribed to your blog, just a heads up.

    And blaagh with the 'middle' I feel a similar way with my revisions. Lots of walk taking and Eye of the Tiger playing. Oh and I keep my Pinterest up at all times :)

  4. Nice to meet you too:) Thanks for stopping in and following! I'm always glad to hear that someone else struggles with the same stuff (well maybe not glad as much as relieved because, dude, it is ROUGH isn't it?).Hope you get your draft exactly where you want it!

  5. Writing a novel can be fun, but it would definitely take much of your time and brain cells before it is completed. There is a lot of inspiration around us. What you need to do is to observe. You can get stories by simply looking at a person sitting in a park. Just allow your imagination to run free and turn an ordinary moment into a worthy story plot.

    Julio Sporer