Remember last episode, when I mentioned getting up to page 70 of my new novel?
I was slowing down big time, and I got stuck. I wanted to quit at page 75.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Servants’ Hall by Margaret Powell
I’m working on a new novel about a psychic named Lia who is helping an evangelical family whose foster daughter has stopped talking. Last episode, I mentioned reaching page 70. That was three weeks ago–and I totally stalled out by page 75. But great news! I got out of my slump and am now on page 105.
A few things I did that helped me get out of my slump:
- I use an outline. This helps me so much. (Also, I said “arch of the story” in the podcast, but I definitely meant “arc of the story.”) If you don’t use an outline, try brainstorming the end of your story, or just the next part–a little bit of planning might help!
- Taking a break helped me the most.
- Taking a break made it possible to read–which also helped!
- I upped my word count goal for each writing session. Usually, I write ~2 pages when I sit down to write; I tried writing for longer, about 2-3 hours, and started writing closer to 5 pages.
- Do the math! I calculated that I had 25 pages left to write, and at my former rate, it would have taken me three months to finish.
- Make a checklist with very very small goals–I get to check off every two pages.
- Celebrate!! When I reached page 85, I went shopping at Dry Goods Seattle and became obsessed with embroidery.
- Related: tell someone when you reach your goals. I text my husband and email my writing exchange pal Larry.
Things that have worked in the past:
- Just make yourself write one page.
- Take a whole day to write (side note: if you don’t know what to do with a whole day to write, you might like DIY Writing Retreat: A guide to getting away–it includes an hour-by-hour schedule).
- Get a change of scenery.
- Ask your friends for help!