I’ve been having one of those weeks where every book I pick up doesn’t hold my attention for more than a few minutes at a time. There’s got to be a way through this, but it’s not happening right now. It’s not that the books are bad; most of them are ones I really want to read. Somehow it’s just not the right time for them.
What do you do when you hit a reading slump? Do you have any tricks that you know of to get you out of it?
I’m sort of in a slump in general, apparently, and that’s been showing with my writing. After all the writing I did from half-September through November, taking December off, coming back to it in January has been exceedingly difficult. I’m out of ideas, so I’m taking prompts, but even the prompts aren’t really helping (I have one Yu-Gi-Oh! prompt left that I’ve taken a stab at writing, but it just feels so flat). I’ve been reusing work to pretend I’ve hit my writing goals. It should be OK because I’m taking care of myself, but I miss how productive I was.
Anyone else have this kind of slump? What do you do to get you back into writing? Do you use old WIP that you haven’t finished, or do you try something new?
Being in this reading slump, I’ve started a number of book without actually finishing them. So I thought I’d mention two that I’m in the middle of and can’t seem to get back into.
I’m really a fan of this one, the way it cuts between the current story line and the kidnapping that took place in the past. It’s got a good mystery that I’d love to see more of. Where I’m stuck is that, while the switch is neat, I’d rather be reading the kidnapping plot over the school one, which means I’m dragging between chapters until we get to the mystery. There’s so much to learn about the past characters, who they are, why they’re there, what they’re hiding. That’s what I want to read about.
The Woman in the Window
I said this was the Hitchcock rip-off, and in some sense it still is (it’s literally Rear Window with agoraphobia instead of a broken leg), but it’s doing a better job than I’d hoped with bringing our main character to life. I hate the phrase “she has flaws” because that’s been so overused it’s become a pastiche of itself, but she is a well-rounded character who feels like a real person.
Speaking of Flaws
I really hate how a character “having flaws” has become a shorthand for “is a realistic character”. It’s one of those things you see all the time, ranging from “this character drinks a bit too much” to “this character is actually an asshole”. Flaws are not a character trait. There’s also something very artificial about it, as if we’re talking about robots that don’t work. Characters shouldn’t be looked at like that. You’re trying to make a human; its foibles aren’t flaws, they’re character traits.
There’s so much advice out there about not letting your character seem too perfect, but that’s not a standard, either. You can’t measure someone on a scale of flawed to perfect. That defeats the point of making a character. One person might seem too perfect to some reader while another reader thinks that’s exactly how a person acts. Flaws are not a catch-all term for a character faults.
There’s something ableist about the term “flaws” as well, as if we’re all one fault short of being not human. Imagine saying a disabled person was “flawed” because of their disability. I mean, that shit right there is fucked up.
Aside from the slumps, I’m actually doing pretty well healthwise. I’m still not eating nearly as much as I should be, but I am making an effort to eat more calorie dense foods. I’ve been consistent about eating breakfast, so that’s been good for me. I’m not getting nauseous in the mornings anymore.
Painwise I’m doing really well. I’m still in pain, but it’s at a much lower level than it used to be. It used to be my days would stay at an 8 or 9 on a 10-point pain scale. Now they’re down in the 5-6 range. The only problem is that the pain is just constant, which means I’m always at a certain low level of pain no matter what I’m doing. It’s very tiring.
That about wraps this up. Let me know if you have any tips for the above questions. I’d love to hear your solutions.