Mired

Like the image? It’s a metaphor. For me. Right now.

I’m mired in the mud. My creative brain has taken a holiday leaving me with anxiety, procrastination and hypersensitivity.

Consequently, any work on Guns of Perdition has come, much like this truck, to a grinding, sucking halt. I’m 70% finished my WIP and have the next two books planned out but I just… can’t… get… there.

I’m hoping things will improve shortly, but thought it a good time to throw it open for discussion. What do you do when you’re mired in the mud and can’t create? How do you get past it? How do you pull yourself up out of the mud?

Tips, tricks and suggestions will be rewarded with smiley emojis.

51 thoughts on “Mired

  1. I often find that I struggle when I have too much in my head. Even as I’m trying to work on a summary, I’m also thinking about taglines for other reviews, discussion posts, etc. The task at hand becomes one of many tasks, and my mind is thinking about how I need to resolve all of them.

    Usually my first step is some form of clearing my head; meditate, go for a walk, or a run, or swim, but try to do something that is simple, non-mental, and actively try to either draw a blank or let my mind wander without care or concern.

    Then, return to the task at hand, with a strong emphasis on “this is all that matters”, and even within the project, really try to keep my mental eyes down on the ground in front of me, rather than the horizon. “It’s all about this scene, and until that’s taken care of, that’s my whole world.”

    Of course as the story as a whole gets longer there can still be more that you have to think about while writing the scene, but in one way or another I feel like the answer is to scale down the scope, or scale down the complexity/ambition of what I’m trying to do (let the rough draft be a little bit rougher for now), so that the mental strain is reduced.”

    I think the downside of the internet is we’re given so many resources, ideas, and “things” to consider reading, watching, or doing, that the mental “to do list” can feel infinite, and yet as an INFJ we really want to do it all, because it all has merit, but for now we have to close our eyes, take a few minutes to just breath, and then choose one thing, and let the rest fade away, for now.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes I think you’re right. I have too much in my head at the moment. Not so much too much about the actual story itself, but external stuff. Hopefully when all that simmers down I’ll be able to get back “into it” again. I like the idea of meditating first, or going for a walk. Maybe I should give that a go. Thanks Adam.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Any time. I’ve also found that often, when reading someone else write about it, like your INFJ posts, something is easier to recognize in myself.

        It may be that a walk or 5 minute meditation before writing would be enough to clear your head, ideally combined with some self-gentleness and patience. I think among other things I’ve also been struggling with the story I subconsciously told myself, the rate at which I was going to progress, etc. It’s tricky, we want to work hard, to make progress, but we also have to “not push ourselves too hard”.

        I hope things get better soon :-). Maybe today’s a good day to read/watch an old favorite, or otherwise do something soothing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The first thing is to identify what’s holding you.
    Is it a matter of setting or character? You can revise those.
    Is it just a matter of not going where the story is going? This is a little harder, but you can write or walk through that. I usually walk – I take a long walk, during which I review how the story is going, I imagine I’m summarizing it for a friend, up to the point where I am stuck, and then try to imagine how it would go on. Also, telling the story to a friend over tea and biscuits might work.
    If it’s “just” tiredness, then you should rest and take your brain off the story – write something else.
    Is it plain old sloth? Then bribe yourselves with chocolates or small gifts… “another 1000 words, and you get a Mars bar…”
    Most of all, don’t linger on thoughts like “Gosh, I’m stuck, I’ll never get nowhere.”
    You’re stuck? Fine. Take a breath, and then start working on a solution. Don’t waste time commiserating, no matter how much fun it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dave. It’s external. Nothing to do with the book (thank god). Got too much going on in RL and am poised on the precipice of great good or great bad (depending how things turn out). It’s on my mind too much to write. But, I should have an answer one way or another within a couple of days… then, regardless, it’s back to writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand: I’ve been fighting with real life problems these last 16 months, all the while trying to pay my bills by writing.
        There are moments in which uncertainty can shatter you. The last thing you want to do is write.
        It’s all right. It goes away.
        Best wishes for the news you’re waiting 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I always get back to my outline. Make sure I know specifically what needs to happen in each chapter and/or scene, then lock myself in to just put words to paper or the laptop. Even if bad. Leave some changes until editing. But maybe changing up where you are writing, the time of day, or the point of view. Think about it from another perspective to see if it excites you back to writing. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always believe (however slightly mental this is going to sound…) that my brain, in its infinite wisdom, knows what its doing when it grinds to a halt. It is much cleverer than I, and if its taking a siesta then it needs one. Clearly your wonderful brain needs its power to our deal with some other issues, to sort things out for you, to place a few things in order- yes regarding your book as well- and when it’s done having a good ol’ rest , think, sorting out and rearranging, it will give you a little knock and say , “OK, ready!” You’ll see how fabulously things flow once it’s done with its housekeeping.
    😙

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I use an outline of sorts, and it happens every single time. I call it the middle slog. All the pices have to get moved around to set up the ending, and it’s the hardest part. For me, it’s best to just slog through it. If my word count drops to 200 words per day, so be it. A big part of getting the words down is that it limits the options. After a chapter or two, there is only one logical way to move forward. Then the words flow once more.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Well, for me it comes down to discipline. It’s something that took me a long time to learn, but I force myself to write even when I’m not feeling creative. It always helps to go back and reread the last few scenes I’ve done to put me in the mood of the story. Then I just bulldog through. I don’t write every day but I do have a day set aside specifically for writing (Sunday afternoons). Whether I’m feeling the story or not, I put something down on paper. It’s a standing appointment between me, my keyboard and my muse. 🙂

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  7. I write with an outline, Jess. So even when I feel verbally constipated, I know what has to happen next, and I sit there and force it out, even if it’s crap (sorry for the bathroom metaphor, but it’s working for me. Lol). I’d suggest writing a loose one. You can always wipe, um, clean it up later. If you already write with an outline, break the next section down into smaller chunks – it’s easier to get out that way. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m sorry to hear you’re stuck in the mud, and I think many other comments here have good advice! I think this call for a break from writing and a few days of gaming; at least, that’s what I do when it happens to me. 😆
    Hope it improves soon, Jess. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s winter in Australia now, isn’t it? Time for a tropical holiday further north! 🌴☀️

        But I don’t suggest coming over to Southeast Asia for the time being; it’s that time of the year where the haze comes along. 😅

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I hope you’re not stuck in the writing mud for too long. I’ve found that reaching out to fellow writers, just like you have, helps pull me out of misery. It’s encouraging to know we’ve all been there and that the phase will eventually pass.
    Enjoy your time out. You obviously need it!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I was stuck with my WIP for a long time, but finally found my way up and out of the mud. For me, it happened in May when I challenged myself to post Every Day in the month of May. Sometimes I would sit down at the keyboard and just Stare at that blank screen in front of me. But eventually something would come. I didn’t write anything Earth Shattering in May, but it got me unstuck and got the ball rolling again. I was hooked again and couldn’t wait to get to the keyboard.
    I don’t have an answer for you Jess. This is what worked for me. Whatever you decide to do, I am sending you good, positive and creative thoughts! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great challenge; write something every day. My problem is, that I have expectations that when I sit down to write it will be massive quantity and excellent quality. Anything short of this I don’t want to settle for. Which makes the ol’ procrastination kick in… see where I’m going with this? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know. Believe me the stuff I wrote in May was Not Shakespeare. In fact a lot of it was just… crap. But I was determined to post Something. Just think of it as exercise. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect. It’s ok. We love you the way you are!! Whatever you decide to do, good luck Jess. I’ve been there too. I understand.

        Liked by 1 person

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