It happens to every writer: Losing the mojo.
Staring at the file, and not being able to open it. Or opening it, and the words don’t come. Lying in bed awake with dialog in your head, but it’s all gone when you get back to your computer…
I’ve been there.
And it’s a horrible place.
Here are three ways to get out of it.
1) Write something else.
I mean it. Write a quick and dirty short story set in your world. Pick a side character, or someone completely unrelated to your story. Go back 50 years and look at someone there. Write a little adventure, and then come back to your major work.
This is a quick fix, and it will usually get you interested in your world again.
2) Re-read the whole story from the beginning.
And allow yourself to just enjoy it. Lose yourself in that story. Laugh and cry when you feel like it. Fall in love with your characters all over again. Regain that wonder and excitement you felt when you started out.
And then go and discover what happens next. Yes, you’ll have to write that tale to figure it out.
3) Listen to your gut instinct.
This is the hard one. If you still can’t get over the resistance, maybe something really is wrong with your story. And the resistance comes from not wanting to see that.
This is what happened to me recently. I was utterly, totally stuck in a story – with a deadline coming up. So I took a cold, dispassionate look at it, and I didn’t like what I saw:
A disjointed story, with characters moving along because they had to, and not because they were passionate. No clear plot, just pieces moving on a chess board. No real tension, either.
I hated it. No wonder I had resistance to writing more of it.
So I became a surgeon separating two stories that were fused into one. I teased out each part, and started two new files, so those stories could get new homes. In the end, the old story was more or less split in half. And now I could continue with each of them. Both regained their focus, their story arcs and their Main Characters. Now it’s about them, and not about “what happened”.
This is the big solution if nothing else helps.
You may have to become your own story doctor, ruthlessly choose the focus of your tale, and cut out everything that doesn’t belong. It’s painful, but it will certainly help you become a happy writer again. And it will most certainly make your stories better.
Did you ever do open-heart surgery on a story? Tell us about your experience, to help other writers who struggle with this.
Image Source: F. Moebius
PS: As a coach, I help authors overcome such blocks and problems. If you want help with a story, click HERE and send me an email. We’ll figure out how I can support you best.
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