Are You Stuck in the Squishy Middle?

How to Get Over the Halfway Mark Hump in NaNoWriMo
(or any big writing project)

Middles.

Sometimes they’re a cause for celebration. As in: “Yeehaw! We’re halfway through!” Or: “Whew! Thank goodness that’s half over already.”

Other times, they just suck. As in: “Oh man, I’ve come all this way and I still have so far to go.” *cue self-pity montage music*

I suppose it probably depends on whether you’re glass-half-full kinda folk or if you’re stuck in that middle.

We’re heading towards the halfway mark of NaNoWriMo. Some of you may just be picking up steam after a long, slow start. For others, the creative high of the first half of NaNo may be wearing off, leaving them stuck in that mushy, soggy, squishy middle.

Me, I’m aiming for denial. I refuse to admit to being stuck. So what if the words are harder to write? So what if I’m trying to make excuses not to put my butt in the chair? So what if I find myself wanting to procrastinate more and more?

If I pretend the middle slump doesn’t exist, it won’t catch me. Right?

Weeellll, maybe.

Here’s what I’m doing to get over the hump in NaNoWriMo:

  •  I’m just going to keep putting my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard. I’m gonna be like my mom when I didn’t want to eat my veggies: “You sit right there, miss, until you finish every last brussels sprout.” (Okay, okay. My mom didn’t really do this. Well, probably not more than once anyway. I still hate brussels sprouts though).
  • Meet every excuse not to write by sticking my fingers in my ears and yelling “Nah nah nah, I can’t hear you.” Hey. It worked when we were six, didn’t it?
  •  I’m only letting myself procrastinate by writing notes about my novel. If I have to, I’ll endlessly discuss my story with myself in writing. Eventually, my muse will give in and get back to the story or I’ll hit 50K with “author commentary.” Author commentary totally counts for NaNo, right?
  • Bribing myself with treats. I may or may not have a secret stash of Halloween candy. I do have a backlog of tv shows on the DVR that I really, really want to watch. And then there’s the reading. If I give myself a short break to have a little treat, maybe I can get back into the writing flow afterward.

So far, these things seem to be helping me. I feel the slow-down nipping at my heels but I am mostly not giving in.

Only time will tell.

In the mean time, enjoy this video of a cat who knows all about being stuck in the middle:

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And this compilation of funny cats:

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Do you find the middle of a writing project, like NaNoWriMo hard to get through? What do you do to get through it? 

Image Attribution (In Order of Appearance):
Lalalala.. I don’t wanna hear this! by hebedesign, on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

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Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Are You Stuck in the Squishy Middle?

  1. Thanks for the ping! :)

  2. good luck picking up steam and refusing to be stuck with your novel!

  3. Way to go, Sonia! You’re going to kick NaNo Butt! Me,

    I’m very excited to be at the halfway point in my novella. I plotted out the rest of the book a few days ago, and cannot wait each day until I sit in the chair to write. No squishy middle for this gal for this book. (I was definitely in the squishy middle with my last wip, which is when this book’s seed idea saved me from writer’s hell.) I’m like the little engine that could. And so are you!

  4. Awesome! Congrats to you too.

  5. Nice tips! I like to reward myself too, little treats as you said, There’s still that little child within us. :P

  6. I’d say I never procrastinate, but I’m procrastinating just by being here on WordPress instead of writing. :) I should try the bribing myself with treats method, instead of just getting them anyway, because I’m hungry.

  7. I usually don’t have problems with the middle, but with this NaNo novel, it’s bad. I know it’s because I didn’t plan enough ahead of time, and the scenes I’m in right now lack conflict and twist. In the meantime, I’m just pushing through — and playing lots of Spider Solitaire. Oh, and if you make notes *in* your novel, that’s totally allowed – and counts toward your words!

  8. @wlouison: You’re welcome. :D

    @Victoria: Thanks. I figure that I’m pretty good at being stubborn so it should work. LOL

    @evilnymphstuff: Definitely still a little kid inside us all.

    @David: Of course you’re not procrastinating by being here. You’re…you’re social networking. That’s important. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. ;) )

    @Jennette: I’ve definitely learned the value of plotting. I was a die hard pantser but found that left me badly stuck. I have an outline this time, so my being stuck may be working through the new elements and the not-so-well-thought-out elements. I hope so anyway. I did seem to push through yesterday.

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