lost momentum

Pretend this is a horse...

A metaphorical horse. What do you mean ‘But that’s a cow’? It’s a HORSE.

The title of this post basically sums up my last week as far as writing goes. And just when it was all going so well!

It’s no coincidence though; when I put myself under pressure to write 20,000 words last month I rose to the challenge, got into the flow and did it. Then I decided I would only aim for 10,000 this month, thought ‘phew that’s much easier!’, took my foot off the writing accelerator and consequently seem to have ground to a halt. I’ve only written 3000 words since the start of the month.

And I haven’t even blogged that much; yes, I’ve taken part in some linkies (which I didn’t allow myself to last month as a creative-writing boosting tactic) but I don’t think I’ve actually written more posts.

Today I feel like I’ve hit a total writing slump. Everything I’ve been attempting to write is dire. My book is stuck on a freeze frame (my main character is poised on the side of her bed and I don’t have the words to move her) and a bit of flash fiction I’m attempting is so bad I want to cry. Yes, the self-doubt demon is back, and he seems to have sharpened his teeth while he was away.

I know that sitting ruminating/stressing about it isn’t really helping and I should probably just punch through it and get back on the horse. But the horse is currently in the next field looking twitchy as though the slightest movement would send him galloping in the other direction. If you see what I mean? (I’m not sure even my metaphors are working properly and I LOVE a metaphor!)

So the question is – do I take tonight off for beer and Breaking Bad and hope to kick start my creativity that way? Or do I hurl myself bodily over the fence into the field and grab the horse before he has the chance to react? Maybe I can ride him off into a beautiful sunset scattering perfect sentences in our wake…

Doesn’t feel like it though. Beer?

13 thoughts on “lost momentum

  1. Chrissie Metcalf (Kristina)

    You can take a break, or not. Try freewriting, or plotting the next scene of your novel. Then all you have to do is get your character there which you can do in a couple of sentences if you have to. Keep chipping away at it, even if it’s a few words a day. I’m always around if you need someone to read/rant at/ruminate with. X

    1. Maddy Post author

      I’ve never actually tried leaping forwards then filling in the previous scenes later so maybe I should give it a go. I trust your judgement with all those NANO’s under your belt! Thanks Chrissie, il’ll message you later xx

  2. Stephanie

    I would do both. Set a timer for thirty minutes or fifteen if that feels too much and write any old rubbish, take her to the circus, that is what Erin Morginstern did! When the bell rings stop and watch your programme.

  3. Sophie Lovett

    It can be so hard to keep that motivation going! Especially if you’re still watching Breaking Bad. I had to totally get that out of the way before starting on my second novel… What worked for me was planning, having rough chapter outlines (these of course changed as the story developed…), and using Scrivener to set daily word counts. I knew these would go up or down depending on how disciplined I was, and that was (usually) enough to get me to write at least something every day. By the end of three months I had 90,000 words. Still lots of work to do on the redraft but having the words to work with is definitely a good start :) Good luck! (And enjoy Breaking Bad. It’s seriously awesome.)

    1. Maddy Post author

      Wow – 90,000 words in three months! That’s amazing! I probably should plan more – I have to admit my outline is very vague but then a lot of ideas only come to me as I’m writing so I sort of can’t plan them in advance anyway.
      And as for Breaking Bad – we’re on season three and it’s addictive! Problem is, I’m quite a telly addict (currently watching Criminal Minds and 24 too) and a book lover so I have to juggle quite a few distractions in my free time. All part of life’s rich tapestry though!
      Thanks for commenting Sophie.

  4. MummyTries

    Oh hon don’t beat yourself up too much, although I know just how you feel! It’s so hard to maintain that momentum AND look after three kids, one of which is a baby… and you’re back at work now right? You have a lot on, so just relax a tiny bit, watch some breaking bad then get back on that horse! There are still 12 days left in June… you can do it!!! (ps. I love Stephanie’s idea)

    Hugs to you xxx

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks! I decided to write for 45 mins yesterday evening before watching Breaking Bad and that combination seemed to work well. I ALMOST took my character to the circus but she ended up on a country lane teaching her son to ride a bike (sounds a bit dull but may be key to the story). I’m not sure how, but I wrote over 1000 words. They may not be any good but I’m getting better at just getting words down without worrying too much about quality – after all this is just a first draft! I really appreciate your support as always xx

  5. Sadie Hanson

    I agree with all of the above. Do both. take a break, look after yourself, but keep a notebook on hand for ideas. Don’t force it though and pressurise yourself as that will make it so much harder. Take a walk in nature, sit outside, enjoy the sunsets, and then I promise you you’ll be back in gear again! X

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Sadie. It’s finding the balance that I sometimes struggle with. I set myself targets which definitely motivate me but they do also put me under pressure! I think maybe the key is to feel the pressure without feeling the stress… maybe?


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