A lot of writers suffer from something commonly known as ‘Writer’s Block’. I have in fact used the term myself. But that was back when I couldn’t identify why it was happening.
Then I discovered that it wasn’t writer’s block at all. I suffered from something a little different… something I like to call ‘Middle Book Blues’. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t coin that phrase… but that’s what it’s called to me.
Middle Book Blues is when I get to the middle stages of the book that I am writing, and I start to hit snags. This is when each word that I write seems crap, and I don’t think that it advances the plot, the characters, and I feel as though I am running to nowhere. But I know that I have to continue writing, or else I’ll never write my way out of it. But throughout that whole time, I feel like rubbish.
Times are dark and dreary in the Middle Book Blues. I’m usually rather grumpy around the house, and in my real life. The Evil Day Job suddenly doesn’t seem so evil at all. My Husband is more than aware of my tortured artist mood-swings, and he kindly distracts me with all sorts of distracting paraphernalia like movies, buying me new books to read, house DIY things… and then slowly but surely, I work my way out of it. Sometimes it’s a massive blast of inspiration, where I just need to get home, close the door, and write. Other times the ideas start slowly, as I re-piece together my plotlines and characters. But however it happens… it always works out for the best.
There have been times in the early life of my writing career that I actually used to stop writing, file the book away, and start a new one. Then I would find that the new one was all shiny, new, and interesting… until I would develop Middle Book Blues again, and start another new novel. Needless to say, there are a number of novels sitting on my computer systems that are half finished.
I know. You’re saying, “What a waste!”
But if the truth be told, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without having written these half-finished manuscripts.
Many of these manuscripts have been building blocks and obstacles that I have had to climb through and over in order to write the way that I do today. They are the foundation stones of my ideas, and writerly processes. I have often thought that perhaps I should bring them out into the light, dust them off, and have a decent look at them… but we all know that you shouldn’t shake or rattle the foundations. But one day, I will step outside of my carefully built comfort zone, shake my own foundations, and see what falls out. Because who knows what worlds I might stumble upon. They may be glorious… or they may be dark, dreary, and awful. But regardless of what happens, the memories of those foundations will always be there to support me.