As writers, specifically sci fi writers, we face many challenges. They range anywhere from ‘what to write’ to ‘how to write’. I find that sometimes I have so many ideas that I can’t choose one and I end up writing nothing at all. Other times I have one specific idea, but I can’t turn it into a story.
When these things happen, I often shut down and i don’t write for a long time. The problem is, I don’t come back rearing to go. In fact it takes me several weeks to get back into a writing mode.
This is not a good thing.
If you don’t know – and you really should by now, unless this is your first read of this blog – I am a HUGE baseball fan. I liken these writing problems to a slump for a hitter in baseball. It’s not that they’ve lost their talent or all of a sudden forgotten how to take a ball or swing at a strike. They’re just not able to connect well. They aren’t able to perform to their level of talent. So what do they have to do?
Beat the Slump
How do you beat a slump?
You hit through it.
Hitting a writing slump means you have to write to get out of it. You have to write crappy things. Awful things. Terribly horrible things. Things with adverbs modifying verbs that mean essentially the same thing as the aforementioned adverb. For example, I wrote a story about a human space commander running away with an alien princess. It’s funny, but hardly a winner. Email me and I’ll send it to you if you wanna read it. If nothing else you’ll get a good laugh.
But if I hadn’t written that piece of garbage, I never would have written some of the stories my readers really enjoy. I had to hit a few line drives right at fielders before I hit one in a gap and got a few RBI.
Roll With the Hot Streak
When you have a good thing going, keep it going.
If you wrote a good story, write another good story. Maybe it isn’t as good as the first one, but it’s still good. Keep it rolling until you write a bad one. Or go into another slump. Either way, it’s always good to keep writing. And writing. And writing. Because if we stop writing in a slump, we get to the mega slump I mentioned earlier.
Beating the Mega Slump
Don’t take this as gospel, but here’s how I tend to get out of the mega slump:
I watch and read a whole stinkin’ bunch of science fiction. I get on Netflix and flip through the scifi/fantasy genre and just pick one. I go to a comic book store and grab a bunch of singles or a graphic novel. I hit up the bookstore or the Kindle store and grab a novel or a short story anthology. I go through my program guide and watch hours of Star Trek TNG on BBCA. I grab my Star Trek TOS DVD’s and go to town watching that junk. I grab any one of the movies on my shelf and watch it.
I saturate myself.
Do you know what happens when you saturate something?
It begins to leak.
It creates runoff.
And eventually, something comes out that’s as good as anything else.
And then I’m back.