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What to do When You've Fallen Out of Love With Your Story

Sooo I have quite a lot of experience with this topic. I've fallen out of love with my stories more than I've fallen in love with them (I've come to view it as just part of my writing process). But I've realized that there are other writers who go through the same thing. You're on a roll, the story is fantastic, you think wow... I am such a genius, how did I even come up with this?? You love your characters and resonate with them and it's all going fine and good and then it hits you so hard and sudden that you it leaves you reeling. Suddenly you sit down at the keyboard and you realize you're forcing yourself to write something you don't want to write. The story has turned sort of meh and blah and stale. It doesn't bring joy when you sit and write, it doesn't spark your imagination or feed your passion. The characters feel cardboard and the plot feels like its sinking fast into the muddy middle. (For me beginnings are my favorites and so I get them through them super fast and am so excited but by the time the middle rolls around the falling out of love part happens).

This is when most authors and writers tell you to just push through it. It's called the muddy middle for a reason. It'll get better. You're just stuck. It's writer's block. Maybe your burnt out. Maybe you just need to take a break but then get back to it! That story isn't going to write itself! If you want to be published and be a real author one day you have to stick to a story through to the end even if it's stressing you out and not making you happy at all.

I don't believe any of that is true. It all really dependents on the kind of person you are. If your patient and can bring yourself to tough it out and stick to it then go for it! Good for you! But if you go a few days without writing or it feels like so much energy to sit down and just write that thing, like you feel no love for it at all then it's a pretty good sign that you should step back and reevaluate what you've been doing. You don't even have to give up on the story or the characters. Come back to it later. Just take a deep breath and take a break. Work on something else. Here are a few things you can do to fall back in love with your story (and if none of these work then I would suggest what I said above. Take a break for a while and just put the project out of your mind and work on something else):

  • Try a different font. I'm not sure where I read this or who gave this advice but it really is solid proof. Changing the font may seem small and trivial but it really can help you. Changing the font can reset your brain and, for me anyways, trick yourself into feeling like you're writing something different and give you a fresh view and ideas on your story. This is especially effective if you find a font that fits your story just right. My favorite fonts for fantasy is Centaur or Narkisim, a few others like Andalus, Lucida Calligraphy and Harrington are good too. Right now for my Sci-Fi book Golden I'm using Bodoni MT to shake things up a little but a few other good ones are Latha, Candara, Gill San MT, Cetury or Calibri. Just take some time and search through fonts, have fun with it.

  • Open a blank document and start the story back up there. This is another, rather unconventional way, that has helped me. For some writers, a blank page is the worst. They can't stand it. It's daunting and a bit nerve-wracking. For me though, I love the blank page because a blank page means that I get to write a beginning and I love beginnings. So, sometimes when I'm stuck I open a blank Word document and pick up where I left off in the original document. Sometimes I'll even rewrite the last few scenes to get back into the story and usually it starts flowing again. Then either you can just keep writing on the fresh document and merge them when you're finished or once you feel the flow again just copy and paste everything back onto the original document.

  • Plot ahead. I'm no plotter but when I get stuck, sometimes it helps to grab my journal and just bullet point the plot from the beginning to where I'm at now. Or sometimes I'll just bullet point the last few chapters and then plot a few scenes ahead which usually clears my mind and gives me a clear goal and direction. If you're not a plotter and more of a pantster then don't feel any pressure to plot the entire rest of the book. Just write out whatever you already know about the story and the characters and then decide the next scene that needs to happen. Just one scene ahead could -- and can -- break your block.

  • Put aside the laptop and grab a pen and paper. I have a writer friend that handwrites his entire book and little by little plugs it into the computer (he also edits and revises as he plugs stuff into the computer). I was amazed by that because I do not have the patients to sit and handwrite my entire book and then plug it all into the computer. But if you do, then I would give it a shot. And if you're like me and find the idea of handwriting everything in a notebook daunting then put the laptop aside and pick up where you left off in the journal. Just write the next few scenes and if you're feeling unstuck then plug it into the computer and continue on. A few scenes is not as scary as an entire book or even an entire handwritten chapter.

  • Write a short story. Short stories are marvelous things. I didn't appreciate them until this year but they can truly teach you so much. Set aside your big novel sized book and give yourself a smaller, more attainable goal. Write a 1,000-5,000 word short story. Heck write a small novella if you want to. Sometimes novels put a lot of pressure on us. Their big and the characters and world demand so much from us. They can easily become stressful and can fog up your brain. But short stories are pretty chill. The characters don't need to be larger than life. the world doesn't need to be explained in detail. Just focus on the plot and write it.

  • Free write. If you're not a short story person then don't write one. No big deal. Just free write. When I was stuck and super frustrated with my writing, my mom gave me this good advice. She said don't write the book. Just don't do it. Don't stress yourself out over it. Just stop and write character sketches or whatever you want. So that's what I do sometimes and it works really well, gets my creative juices flowing and then I can turn back to my novel with new eyes and a replenished imagination. Write whatever you want. Write a short story, write the beginning of a novel, write a character study, write a "fanfiction" with the characters from your novel. For me, I usually just dive right in, make up new characters and a new world and just let myself explore it for a while by writing the beginning a story. Once it hits the middle and the plot starts getting too much I just stop and that clears my head. Plus I have the beginning of a story that as potential for a future project.

  • Take a step back and reevaluate your writing. If you're falling out of love with a story or something in the back of your mind is saying that something isn't right, then trust yourself. This is different from doubt. Doubtful thinking is saying that you're writing sucks, you're horrible, you'll never get anywhere. These other thoughts aren't so negative. They're telling you that something isn't write with the story, or the plot isn't connecting or maybe a character shouldn't be there or needs to be changed. Step back, look over what you've written and figure out if this is your doubt talking or if there really is something wrong with your writing. Maybe the characters are flat or maybe the theme isn't resonating with you. Maybe the feel of the story, whether light or dark, isn't what you want right now. Maybe you're looking for something else or maybe you feel like this project isn't going to challenge you and right now in your life you want a challenge. Whatever the reason just take a step back, let the editor side of you in and reevaluate what you've done so far.

  • Create a Pinterest Storyboard or a Spotify playlist for your book. Do something that isn't directly related to writing, that is creative. Making a Pinterest board and collecting inspiration and aesthetic images of my book or putting together a Spotify playlist with songs that go well with my characters or overall story makes me excited to write it. I listen to the Spotify playlist all the time and before I start writing to get me excited for it and in the mood to write. Sometimes when I feel stuck or like the story is going downhill I go on Pinterest and look through my Storyboard and add some pins to give me a more positive attitude and in the mood again.
I hope these have helped. All seven of these options have really helped me and really, it all depends on who you are as a person. There are numerous other ways to get past writer's block and fall back in love with a story but sometimes none of them work. If none of these things are working for you and you still feel bleh about the story then I suggest you taking an extended break and work on something that gives you excitement and passion and enjoy. Work on something that reminds you why you love to write. I hope these options help some and if you are feeling not great about your story and like maybe it isn't the one for you I hope this post helps you figure it out and fall back in love with writing.

Have a great week everyone!

What are some things that help you fall back in love with writing or that help you get through writer's block? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Comments

  1. Great post! Awesome ideas and thoughts :p keep loving it (non intended McDonalds pun)

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