I’m In A Bit Of A Slump

Posted: March 31, 2013 in Novel, Reflections, short story, Writing
Tags: , , , , , ,

You’d think I’d do something a bit more festive for my 400th post. But no, all I got is some bad news.

Truth is folks, I’m in a little bit of a slump. I have two short stories that are not coming along like I want them to, and I feel absolutely no desire to work on either of them while I’m drained. Every time I sit myself down in front of a computer with the intention of writing, I find myself instead watching crime shows online or reading or playing Angry Birds on Facebook. Not only that, but I’ve been neglecting one short story I’ve been meaning to send to some magazine or another, but when you’re a full-time student with homework and a part-time job, you sometimes don’t feel like doing the research.

What I’d rather be doing is working on novels. I’d rather write or edit them or even research them. But the only novel I’m going to write anytime soon is Reborn City’s sequel, which I won’t start on until I’ve put out RC on the Internet, and my beta reader for RC is only halfway through the novel at this point. And although I have plans for a sequel to Snake, I want to wait a little while before I even think of starting the sequel to that, and besides, my beta reader for Snake’s been busy herself, so she hasn’t had a chance to start on it yet.

So what do I do in the meantime? Work on short stories, but those are harder for me than novels. Novels I can stretch out, go deep into the character’s history and identities and personalities, do all sorts of interesting twists and turns and create a whole mythology for. Short stories are compact, usually less than 10,000 words, and we writers have to fit a whole story into that amount of space. You can see where a guy like me, who grew up on a steady diet of novels, usually novels that were part of series, might encounter problems. The joke is that the short story is the novel’s neglected younger sibling, but really, it’s the sibling that requires more skill to handle.

So I’m in a slump. I have no idea what to do at the moment, with no novels t0 write, only the occasional chapter to edit, and two short stories whom I can’t seem to fully finish. Even when I come up with new ideas for novels, which I do a lot, I can’t work on them anytime soon, so that’s not helpful.

Any suggestions would be most welcome. They could be anything from tricks or strategies to help me finish the short stories to suggestions of something else I could try doing while I wait for inspiration and chapters to edit and whatnot.

And if you feel the same as me or have felt the same as me, please let me know. It’d make me feel better.

  1. Abba says:

    It happens to all us writers. Take a break and come back to it later. You’ll feel refreshed and have a new perspective.

    • Okay.
      Hey wait a minute…”all us writers” implies you’ve been writing something or you’ve been writing something. What is it? Spill the beans! What literary/poetic/essayist/musical/dramatic endeavor have you been up to?

  2. I totally agree with your sentiments on writing short stories. I just can’t do it. I think in too much detail and can’t imagine trying to cram my ideas into a teensy weensy word count.

    When I get stuck, I go read a book or gorge on an entire season of some TV series on Netflix, then debate the quality of the storytelling with my husband, discuss the characters and their development etc. I usually find this a good kickstarter.

    • You watch TV shows too when you’re stuck? I’m watching season 2 of Castle on my computer right now, even though I’ve already seen it. Nathan Fillion rocks! What kind of stuff do you normally watch?

      • My most recent marathons have been Justified and The Shield. Lots of juicy situational ethics scenarios in both shows. I’m waiting for my DVR to fill up the current season of Castle before I get back to it 🙂

      • I’m going to warn you now, a lot of crazy stuff happens in season 5 of Castle. And I don’t just mean with Beckett’s mother.

  3. It’s common, and a real pain in the ass. No known cure, except some nursing and the passage of time. Kind of like the common cold.

    • You speak from personal experience, I assume?

      • Oh big time. And they are much like a lingering cold. You can either work through them, or take a break to recoup your energies. Both fine choices, whatever floats your boat! Also, brainstorming and doing something completely inane has been known to rekindle the flames of inspiration. I can’t tell you how many of my ideas happened while I was working with kids, bored out of my skull intellectually, but under intense physical demands.

      • Well, I’ll let my creative juices stew and see what happens. Thanks for the advice.

      • Oh, and that reminds me, Isaac Asimov always said that whenever he was stuck on something, he’d do something mindless. A few hours of an action movie or something totally unrelated to science, and he’d find the solution to the problem he was looking at! So a goofy movie or some video games, inane comedy or a Jackass film, that should work.

      • So I’ve been right to watch crime shows on my computer when I should be writing. Thanks!

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