by Ryan Lanz
We’ve all felt it at one time or another. The story loses its shine and you’re left with a half-completed story. Why does this happen, and how do you continue?
For a lot of writers, this is the mid-point of the story, but truly, it can happen at any point. I want to focus on something entirely different from “writer’s block”; this topic regards when you know what to write next, but you just don’t feel like doing so.
“Of course, motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” – Zig Ziglar
The cursor blinks at you, nudging you to continue typing, but the combination of your eyes drooping and the itch to do something else feels overwhelming. You’ve already procrastinated enough today. Your bedroom can only be cleaned so many times, and you’ve already checked Facebook, Twitter, and your email twice in the past half-hour.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”
You’re a writer. You know how to get the job done; it’s the motivation that’s lagging. Let’s look at some different factors.
Your story no longer excites you
For me, this usually happens just on the other side of the midpoint, roughly 55% into the book. About then, I usually start envying short story writers. It’s when the thrill of the beginning and even the spike of the midpoint event wears off, and I have to begin laying the ground work for the finale, but it’s not yet to the exciting build-up for the ending climax.
Wherever it normally happens for you (and it could change from story to story), it can be a trial. Why does it happen? Here are a few possibilities:
- You’ve already thought of the next story, and you’re more interested in starting the new one than finishing the current one
- You hit a plot snag and aren’t looking forward to unraveling it
- You realize that your story idea might not be as interesting as you thought it was
- Self-doubt creeps in
- Life got in the way of writing, and you’re not as emotionally connected
- Something as simple as: it’s just not new and shiny anymore
The first one gets me every time.