NaNoWriMo – Day 4: What to do when you’re stuck

Typically, when I reach Chapter 3 or 4 of any new project, the dreaded mid-book blues hits: that feeling that your story is crap, that it’s the worst thing ever written in the whole history of mankind, and where the heck do you want to go from here anyway?

Apparently, this is a perfectly normal process a lot of writers go through and doesn’t necessarily mean that your story is really so bad that reading it would have killed the dinosaurs (if they had been able to read, that is). The trick is to overcome this feeling and to continue writing (because, let’s face it, curling up into a ball and sucking your thumb helps neither with your story nor with your word count — not to mention that it makes you look rather ridiculous, too).

So what do you do when the mid-book blues hits? Here are a few ideas:

  • If you haven’t yet done an outline of your novel, do it now. This might help you to recognise themes and motifs in your novel (I’ll do a separate post on my method of outlining soon.)
  • Write a scene from later in the book (aka the patchwork approach to writing a novel)
  • If you have a writing buddy, phone her or e-mail her and talk about your project. A fresh pair of eyes might give you a new perspective on your novel.
  • Do a mock-up cover for your book – this typically gets me really, really excited about a new project.
  • Do some (light! at least during NaNoWriMo) background research on your setting — this might give you ideas for new scenes or ideas how to expand existing scenes
  • Go for a walk to “air” your brain. 🙂
  • What a film to let other people’s creativity inspire you. (I find Studio Ghibli films extremely inspiring. Watching those beautiful animated films always makes me want to sit down and write and create something myself.)
Happy writing!