Petering Out? It’s All About Time.

Do you find your initial surge of creative brilliance petering out midway through a story, novel, or whatever you may be doing? 

Do you stop, cast doubt upon the worth of your work, vacillate between continuing or abandoning your project? Perhaps, you might tell yourself, you just need a break for a bit, you know, to allow the creative “juices” to flow again.

So you put the work aside and find a distraction to help you clear the stagnancy, in the hope that you will return to finish.

But you never finish. The manuscript sits  hidden, a potential unrealized, list to your lack of conviction, discipline, or even the available time you have for writing.

Worse, the following day you have a new idea, equally good, and before finishing your first work, you begin the second. And again, midway along, you once again falter.

Someone once told me that I wasn’t  afraid of failing: I was afraid of succeeding. Success is a measure that often leaves you with a new hurdle. On the flip side, success is a marker that makes your subsequent work a bit easier.

So what to do about the stagnancy? My suggestion is to have a set writing time and to revisit it daily. Sure, give it a rest, but write a day on the top you will return, a few days later. Then on that read it aloud. You should feel the same vigor you felt when you first began. If it is a good story it will stand out to you. That reread should also fire you up to continue.

Often, the good idea reaches the end of the novelty phase and must now change into the plotting phase. Here, you must decide who your characters are, their motivations, hopes and fears. They must be real. Now you scribble possible outcomes, avoiding the easy to spot solutions for the more meaty and satisfying endings. Then, decide how to put your characters through hell in order to reach the end. They must struggle in order for your readers to be satisfied.  And for you to feel satisfied.

Petering out is normal. How you react to that will determine where your work goes from there.

I hope this helps.



One Reply to “Petering Out? It’s All About Time.”

  1. I have this problem whenever I write a romance. It seems like a great story when I start and then I get stuck where to go next. I’m not sure I’m describing this properly, but I feel like I get lost after the initial ten pages are done. Any advice?

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