Sometimes I Wish It Was Not My Calling

Especially early mornings!  Sometimes I just want to sleep in.  Ya know?

crossing three stepping stones in a river

Even when you’re motivated and filled with purpose, when you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, when you truly believe in it, well, sometimes you just get tired.

Enough whining!

 This happens a lot when you’ve committed to a path, to a goal, to a quest, and you get to the middle part.  It’s kinda like when writing a novel and you’re slugging through the mud and the mire, the end still a far shining vision, and you get a bit lost in where you’re going.  Even though you can see the prize at the end, all of a sudden the footing beneath you looks hazy. 

In a novel, we call this the sagging middle.  It’s dreadful!  LOL.  Most folks would rather be basking in that glow of commitment to the journey, or riddling with the Troll at the gate, or fighting some sort of demon, or, falling into that love scene . . .

Or, well, just about anywhere but getting lost in the middle.  That may be the most frustrating part.  It is for me anyway.

 Maybe some chocolate would help . . .

But no, that’s diverting.  Which my Protagonist in the new novel does a lot, although she tends to do it with wine:)   She even calls herself on it.  And we call ourselves on it too.

So what do you do when you’re sinking in the mucky sand?  What gets you going again?

 For me it’s no big bolt from the sky (although it can be, and that’s a blessing indeed!).  We wish for outside inspiration at these places, something to kick our butts and get us back rolling again.  But that’s just wishful thinking mostly . . .

What works for me is to put the next foot forward.   Like Nike says, just do it.  Sometimes motivation isn’t a big thing but a little one.  It’s in the act of doing.

 Funny thing about that too—the next step leads to the next one.  And the next.  As long as I’m still stepping along, that in itself keeps me from whining about not feelin’ it.  Because it’s difficult to whine and walk at the same time.  Oh, I can do that too!  But it’s tougher to complain while moving the tale along.

Successful writers know one thing, and know it well: We can’t wait for inspiration to carry us through the rough waters.  If we waited for inspiration in order to write, we’d all write in fits and spurts.  And novels just don’t come that way.  Yep, there are those wondrous times when the characters race across the page and your fingers flurry to keep up.  And even those times when you’re following along at a more moderate pace and the words just flow.

And then there are those times when, well, that just doesn’t happen.  But we do it anyway.  What’s produced during those times we may or may not end up keeping.  But what I know for true is that they get us across the bridge to where more inspiration will comes.

That’s exactly as life goes too.

 And if you aren’t sitting there manning your station, that won’t happen.

As Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it must find you working.” 

What gets you moving out of the sagging middle?




This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Randy Mitchell

    Great article! Getting through the sagging middle of a book is tough, depending on how well a writer actually see’s the story and its characters. My first book, I flew through it because I could see it from beginning to end. My second (as you know) was much tougher because I didn’t have that vision in my head once I reached the middle. But what happened is I spent time sitting around the places that I was writing about. Eventually things fell together, but it took time.

    You’re right by saying that the sagging middle is torturous and uncomfortable. You’re doing well, then boom, things sometimes halt, leaving you wondering “how can this happen?” I think the trick is to just stick with it and use whatever means necessary to purge through. For me (because I’m a man, LOL) I’m extremely visual and have a much easier time writing about what I see. Others may rely on daydreaming and crafting in silence. It’s always up to the individual as to how they create.

    Randy Mitchell

    1. Susan Malone

      SUCH wise words, Randy Mitchell! And to “just stick with it and use whatever means necessary to purge through” is the ticket–you’ve done that so well!
      Funny how writing is like real life 🙂
      Thank you for your insights!

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