Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Breaking Back Into Your WIP

I'm officially ending my writing slump!

used with permission

When your oldest graduates from high school, or other important life events occur, it's good to pay close attention to your spirit and soul. But when reprioritizing your life halts your flow of writing, or other things, how do you jump start it again??

1. Send an urgent prayer request for chocolate, coffee, and prayers of inspiration to your critique partner! (nonwriters: you got it, call your praying people!)

2.  Reread your WIP. You've got to get your mojo-flow back! 
It's important to get the overall plot flow back into your head and heart. Resist the urge to get caught up in major edits. Stick with the quick read through, and fall in love with your WIP again--a critical thing that makes you want to come back to it. (nonwriters: what is your life story about, what chapter are you in? Maybe it's time for a book review of your life? Is it time to fall in love again, with Jesus? your spouse? or love yourself better than you have before?)

3.  Reread your plot notes and character sheets. Reacquaint yourself with your characters to remain consistent. Some where between being a plotter or a pantser, you want to find your grove again. Part of my restart problem was that I had stopped my WIP at a point when I didn't know where I wanted to go next and my characters weren't sharing their secret motivations with me. This is both good and bad. It's tough to restart in a dead zone. However, it made me really dig deeper into their POV to re-identify their goals and motivations. (nonwriters: who are the important characters in your life, how have they motivated your faith? If you are in a deadzone, how can you dig deeper?)

4.  If the plot bunnies are still illusive, or you think you heard the voices of your characters--but still aren't quite certain--start listening to music. Keep waiting for your characters to talk to you. Then jot just a few notes of their thoughts so you won't lose them if you can't squeeze in time to write. (nonwriters: if life is still just a bunch of bunk and fluff--fall on your knees and worship your Creator.)

5.  The crucial moment--put your butt in the chair! Plan to be there for a while and get a pillow for your bum. I like to reread the last two chapters right before bedtime. Then think of it again right when you get up. Get a fragment of a scene in your mind, then just sit down and pants it. Here is where you turn off your internal editor. I like to even type with my eyes closed. Didn't your piano teacher or typing teacher ever make you do that? Don't think about your fingers, or the spelling, or the edits, or the formatting. (nonwriters: don't be afraid to step out in faith. Maybe don't over-think things so much, especially if you've done all the above.)

6.  Next, set a goal. My last goal was getting to the break point in my plot before Genesis Contest and completing that. Since I didn't place in the contest, I've decided not to spend the money for ACFW conference this year. Instead, I'm setting another date for a writing weekend with my crit partner. We both hope to finish our WIPs before then and be ready for some deep crits, cuts, revisions and edits.  Then I'd like to study more on writing excellent proposals, perhaps even rework my previous WIP so those are all in place for ACFW 2013. (nonwriters: what dates and goals are on your horizons? What do you want your life to look like in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?)

What do you do when you get stuck in your writing? Or if you're not a writer, how do you get yourself out of a "slump" when you've lost your mojo-flow??