Hawkeye talks Schwarma Breaks [or, the dangers of writing slumps]

First off, it's my first YAvengers post! Woot! Normally, a grown man shouldn't be so excited about this, but how can I NOT be? 
Anyway, back to the writing. Now, Thor and Hulk have both touched on the subject of taking breaks from writing. But I wanted to dig a little deeper on this and talk about Writing Slumps. So let's break it down. 
What Exactly Is A Writing Slump?
A writing slump is a period of time - usually more than a week - where you don't want to write, or you can't bring yourself to write. Every time you try to make yourself write again, you just can't seem to pick up the story. Like those times I wanted so desperately wanted to stop exercising and quit conditioning all together.
I thought it would never pay off.

Now, in some cases this can be called writers block. But we're talking slump here. A step up from a lack of inspiration. In this case, to put it bluntly, it's laziness. For example, take this instance in my hero career:
You probably know what I'm talking about here. I'm called to duty, promptly turned minion by that puny god Loki, thankfully returned to myself, spend hours being said hero and then, bam, I crash in a schwarma shop for a break. But I have a confession to make. After all that crazy hero schebang, I didn't want to go back to training and saving the world. I just wanted to sit there eating shawarma for the rest of my life. Therein lies the problem. 
What's The Problem With Writing Slumps?
Let me get this straight. I have nothing against taking a short writing break to clear your head and get back in the right mood. But it's when you don't start writing again, that we hit trouble. Why? Because we simply aren't writing. Anything. We're relaxing and focusing on other things, slowly pushing writing to the back of our brain. And well, when we think about writing again, it's so much easier to push aside for another time.

And another..

And another...

I think it goes without saying from this point on. We don't want to get caught in a situation where we aren't writing because we don't feel like it. Cuz, if we never FEEL like it? We ain't never gonna write. And if we never write? Well down the drain go all your writerly hopes and aspirations. You can wave goodbye now. 

I'm talking from experience here, you do not want to be in a writing slump. For one thing, they are like a very bad habit. It grows super fast, and takes forever to break out of. Second, a part of you just feels gone. I, Hawkeye, admit this freely. I adore my characters however crazy they may be, and if I'm not writing at least somewhat regularly, I start to feel withdrawal. And it's not fun. At all. 

And going back to my definition, once you are in a writing slump, you won't WANT TO WRITE. I mean sure one side of your brain is all "I need to find out what happens to my characters next!" But the other side of your brain will be all. "It's so much Woooork. I'll do it later." So not wanting to, turns into can't bring yourself too, and that's when you turn into a quitter.
How Do I Avoid A Writing Slump?
or pull myself out of one?
The number one thing you're going to have to do if you are serious about staying out of these death traps, is Write. Force yourself to write. 

This is where you butt in, "But Thor told us to take a break!"

Thor is right. We do need breaks. But even if you're on a break for your most recent WIP, doesn't mean you have to stop writing. Write something new! Focus on a completely different genre. Have a secret project that is your guilty pleasure. Something you love. Something you can read without thinking how freaking hard writing is.

Breaking away from a slump is another matter though. In this case, I would surround yourself with your writing buds. People who you can relate to, who can encourage you. Positive peer pressure works wonders for the down-trodden soul.

You can also start small. Write a quick scene, or something related to your novel to get your brain back into the world you are focusing on. Brainstorm. If you keep a notebook full of notes, crack it open and read. Who knows what will inspire you. 

So it's up to you now. Draw the line between failure and success. Aim for the goal and shoot for the sky. No writing slumps can stop you! Go and write like the wind! Hawkeye believes in you.

1 comment:

  1. Wooot! Go Hawkeye! ;) Excellent advice here. Writers slump IS kind of different from writers block too. Personally, I struggle with taking breaks from writing (thanks Thor, for that great post), and writers block is a my room-buddy -- but writers slump is a killer.