Getting Through the Mid-Book Slump
The mid-book slump. We all experience it. In the past week, I’ve seen three people on Facebook asking others for advice on this phenomenon. They’ve written to the middle or nearly to the middle of their book and they’re bored or they’ve run out of ideas or they’re looking for help with accountability. In short, they’re stuck.
If you speak with people who are experiencing writer’s block, I bet three out of four of them have started a book and gotten at least a third of the way through when they hit this road block. They started out well enough, but then something happened—either Life, confidence, or something beyond their comprehension. Whatever it is, they go to their writing filled with ideas and enthusiasm, only to have it all dry up the moment their fingers hit the keyboard.
What is this cruel twist on an author’s mind?
It’s something every writer has experienced, and every writer has found an answer to in their own way. Why? Because, while it’s something that happens to everyone, it must be tackled from the inside out.
I could give you a list of things to do to get past this slump or your writer’s block (and I have), but none of them are going to work until you find something that clicks with you and within your own mind.
For some people it’s talking with someone (hi, I’m a writing coach—hint, hint). For others, it’s writing—just not the book they are trying to write. Some people need an accountability partner (see previous parenthetical remark). Others need to work more on their plot—yes, even if they’re a pantser—or simply on their scheduling.
I’ve known people who will write their way through this by writing their book in exposition instead of dialogue and description (telling themselves the story). I’ve know people who get through it by screaming—literally, they go outside or into their basement and scream out all of their frustration, cry for a bit, get all their emotions out and then go and calmly sit down and get back to work. Personally, I work on my characters, revisiting their goals, motivation, and conflict and then from that information go back to my plot and make sure I’ve got everything in there that they need to attain their goals, complete with lots of conflict.
The thing is that everyone needs to find their own way of dealing with the mid-book slump and the only way to find out what your way is to try it all. First, think about all the ways to deal with this, see what feels right to you and try it. If that doesn’t work, see what else feels good and try that.
If you don’t feel as if you have the time to sit and focus on your work because you’re swamped with your day job and the kids are screaming downstairs? Rework your schedule so that you work after everyone else has gone to sleep or before they wake up.
If you just don’t know what’s going to happen next in your book, try doing some more plotting or character analysis or if you’re a pantser maybe you’d feel more confident if you simply sat down and had a conversation with your character and figured out where their mind is and what’s bothering them (it sounds crazy, but you can just do it in writing so that no one comes along and thinks you’re bonkers for talking to yourself, or maybe they’ll just think you’re on the phone 😊).
My main point here is that we’ve all been there and we’ve all gotten out of it.
Most importantly, the mid-book slump is where most new authors simply give up and decide that writing is not for them. Or writing this book isn’t the way to go and instead they should follow that shiny new idea they got—until they get half way through that one and exactly the same thing happens. I’ve known so many people who have a file folder on their laptop filled with half-finished books. Don’t let that be you. Work on getting past the mid-book slump because you can do it. And if you ever need someone to help you through it, you’ve got my number (or, well, contact information).