Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Writer's Wednesday: Soggy middles

We’ve covered beginnings. We’ve covered endings But we always seem to pass over that middle.  But it’s just as important, right?  So why do writers skip over talking about them?  Because they suck!  LOL.

By far, I’d say the middle is always the toughest for me to keep writing.  With the beginning, while the most difficult for me to get right, I’m usually excited to start writing again, so I breeze right through it.  The end, I’m excited I’m thisclose to finishing, so I can breeze through that, too (relatively speaking of course.)  But those middles?  Yeah. Hate ‘em.  LOL.

It’s always at this point where I think I suck (and probably do) and I’m boring and my characters are awful. The plot doesn’t work. Blah. Blah. Blah. The middles make me want to give up writing, color my hair, get plastic surgery done on my face and move out to some distant island never to be heard from again.

Even with plotting and self-set deadlines, the middles are the pits for me and it’s taken me this long to figure out why.  Mostly it’s because by this time, the newness of the MS has worn off.  It’s like when you got that new doll or videogame as a kid. 

For days you carted it around with you everywhere. You played with it constantly. From the minute you woke up to the minute you went to sleep that toy wasn’t far from you, physically and mentally.  But then, the newness wears off. You’re tired of thinking about it. There’s a different maybe newer toy that you want to play with more. And so you just want to put it off to the side, but your mom (or other) spent a lot of money on this new toy and she wants to see you play with it because otherwise she’s “never going to buy you another toy again” because she wants to get her money out of it.  So you force yourself to play with it, dreading just SEEING it. 

Sound familiar?  Well, that’s how the middles feel for me. The newness has worn off, BUT I’ve invested so much into it already I have to keep going for it to pay off.   I want something to show for all the hard work I’ve done up until that point.  So I open the document like a good girl every morning and force myself to write until eventually I realize I’ve either finished or I’m thisclose to finishing and I’m excited all over again.

So, what’s the secret to getting through those soggy middles?  Keep writing.  Don’t think about what you’re writing (too much anyway.  Even though it helps if you know where you’re going.)

I know.  Easier said than done, right?  Well, the best thing I’ve found for me is to do writing challenges with other writers.  I personally like the #1k1hr sprints on twitter, but I’ve heard the write or die or word war sprints work just as well. 

The reason these work so well is that humans are naturally competitive so it gives you that spark to write again and the point isn’t necessarily to write good, but to write a lot.  So quantity over quality.  By doing that, you don’t start second guessing yourself.  You just write and worry about what needs to be changed, cut, or added to later.

In other words, it allows you to keep playing, even when all you want to do is put that toy back on the shelf and never see it again.

So Q4U, what do YOU do to get past those soggy middles? 

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