Hello, everyone! Are you ready for Week 3? You’re all doing an excellent job and have officially conquered the halfway point of JuNoWriMo!
I don’t know about you, but Week 3 usually presents me with either a rush of writing adrenaline or a slump. If you’re in the adrenaline group, congratulations and may your words pile up well. If you’re in a slump, I can commiserate and want to offer a few ideas…
My advice is centered around one basic idea. When in a slump, change it up. Creative boredom can’t stand a chance against change, so here are some ways that you can alter how you’re approaching your project and get those ideas (and words) flowing again.
Location: Maybe you’re becoming tired of writing in the same place every day, staring at the same scenery when you look up from your keyboard. For many of us who are participating, it’s summer. Get outside and write in the warmth of the sun. Go to an Internet cafe if one is available. If other options are limited, switch rooms. Put on some music. Burn a candle or spray a fragrance in the air. Engaging your other senses can do wonders for your thought processes.
Method: Some writers prefer to write outlines by hand, and a few brave souls like to write their entire manuscript in longhand. If you’re like me and not ready to commit to 50,000 words of handwriting, you can still have the hands-on advantage by writing out some notecards, outlines or character sketches. Or, if you’re accustomed to writing these things on paper, change your approach by putting them in your word processor of choice. Just break out of the mold.
Timeline: This is a slump generator for me. You’ve been going along well for two weeks on your preferred timeline but then the ideas slow to a trickle. Why not jump in time, either forward or backward, and write out of sequence? Where will your MC be in five years? What were they like as a child? What would their lives look like if their fondest wishes came true! Or their worst nightmare? These time jump scenes might come into an earlier or later part of your plot, but it’s also okay if you don’t use them at all. Consider it time well spent in getting to know your character even better, which will allow you more avenues of creativity as you continue.
Character: Explore new ground by having a background character tell what’s happening through their eyes. They might have an entirely different story to tell than your MC! What if your protagonist becomes the antagonist or vice-versa? Are any of your characters connected in different ways that you haven’t considered before, such as relation, old friends, anyone who shares a history together? Just like in the case of the timeline, these variations may show up in your novel or may create an opportunity for character growth, but you’ll see your project through fresh eyes.
Break Time: Last but not least, it pays to take breaks from your project. It may seem counterintuitive in the last two weeks of JuNoWriMo, especially if you’re still in need of writing a lot of words, to take more frequent short breaks, but it can be the word-saving recharge you need. After writing or reading for a long period of time, my brain can turn to mush and my productivity takes a nosedive. There’s nothing as mentally rejuvenating than getting away from it for some movement or an unrelated task. Just stretching can help so much! It’s time well spent when you return to your project with a new burst of energy.
I wish you all the best as you continue the JuNoWriMo challenge, no matter what week you’re on. Remember, if this project has creatively challenged you in any way, you’re already a winner because you’re finishing the month with so much growth and experience. Happy writing to all of you!
Elizabeth Conrad writes short stories and novel-length works in mainstream, fantasy, and science fiction genres and also enjoys singing and design.