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I've been working on a book for about four years now. Every time I reach the middle, I get stuck and I go back and edit and rewrite everything. I've probably rewritten the whole thing at least seven times now. At first it was just editing out parts I felt were extra or amateurish or inconsistent but each time I do so, I start to question the plot even though I've done years worth of research to assemble it.

As of right now, I haven't written for months because I've had multiple ideas on how to entirely change the plot of my book and I don't know how to execute them. I have all of these ideas but piecing them together into a complex plot for the first time feels difficult.

Being a full time pre-med student in university isn't exactly helping either. I don't know what to do to bring myself back to writing. Even if my fingers haven't touched the keypad for months, my brain is constantly working. The standard solution would be to read more, work on other things, go for walks or force the writing out but I've tried.

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I'm not going to say this because I'm great or anything. It's to make a point: I've never had writer's block in the 20 years that I've been ghostwriting and writing for myself; this is after having written about 60 books.

People ask me all the time how that could be possible, never having writer's block with so many books under my belt. About 12 years ago, I took a long, hard look at what I was doing differently than people who did experience this phenomenon, and this is what I found...

It came down to one simple fact:

If there are one or more questions that haven't been adequately answered about your book or story, writer's block can and usually does show up.

This is not a simple solution as much as the why to writer's block. knowing this can at least put anyone on track by looking to see what about a certain character or plot or even your readers... you haven't clarified.

I guarantee once you find and answer your question(s), you won't be able to type fast enough to keep up with your thoughts.

Regarding "editing out parts" and "start to question the plot even though I've done years worth of research to assemble it", you are mixing hats here! This is a common mistake many writers make. They try to be writer, editor, proofreader, cover designer...!

You should write and nothing else. We as writers are our worst critics! I dread even thinking of how many amazing stories have been deleted and scrunched and thrown into the wastebasket! So don't mix hats. Write your book.

Get it written and then call on a professional book editor or writer who can give a professional book critique to get the good, bad and ugly without any candy coating like you might get from your friends and family.

I back this up with the observation of so many individuals whom I've worked with over the years who no longer experience writer's block. There's so much more I should say, but alas, I have to get back to work.

Hope this is somewhat helpful, Nsim.

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It seems like, if reaching the middle of your story is sapping your motivation, that your stories may suffer from 'saggy middle' syndrome. I'm not judging you for that, my projects have often suffered for it (and like you, I work full time, which limits my writing time). The second 'act' of a book is easily the hardest to get right, and when you feel like your efforts are going towards a part of the story that feels like it's just going through the motions until the climax, it can kill your motivation entirely, leading to burnout.

Here are a few tips from my personal experience (may or may not work for you):

  • Do NOT follow the 'write every day' rule, but instead the 'think about what you're writing every day' rule. This allows you to foster and refine ideas, and give you opportunities to spice up the saggy middle. Also gives you some much needed rest and renewed passion for the story.
  • Second acts are setup, but that doesn't mean they can't be spontaneous. Allow yourself to be a bit of a gardener instead of a plotter during this section and heck, you may even end up altering the payoff in the third act from what you initially planned.
  • Use your thinking time to address what exactly is making your saggy middle boring or hard to approach. Is it lacking entirely and needs to go back to the drawing board, or can it be salvaged? The answer to this should in turn make sure you use your actual writing time well.
  • Read other books with good second acts to see what they did right.
  • Remind yourself that the payoff is just around the corner, that once you get through the necessary setup, your final few chapters are gonna kick ass, and nothing will stop that.

I don't know if this will help you, per se, but it's what I've got.

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Other usefull ways :

  1. Using writing prompts
  2. Keeping a journal
  3. Attend writers conference
  4. Collaboration with friends
  5. NaNoWriMo
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    These suggestions are too brief to be of much use. How would "writing prompts" help a writer faced with multiple competing plot lines? How would NaNoWriMo address the plot difficulties? I strongly recommend you edit your answer to flesh out (e.g. at least a paragraph per point) how each of these proposed solutions would address the situation the OP has described. On a site devoted to the craft of writing, a bit of effort in writing your answer is generally expected. For further guidance, see How to Answer and take our Tour. :-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Feb 29 '20 at 5:57
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What I do when I have a writers block is just stop. Give it a week or two. Stop thinking about is all together. Have a good week. See some family and friends. Have a holiday. Extract yourself from the writer's world. Forget about the book all together. After a week, try again. What ever do don't take a break for more than a week or two, other wise you will never start again. When you come back, take the experience of the break you just had, and put it into writing. Then write a bunch of good paragraphs about the topic your book is on. By then I can almost guarantee you are over your writer's block.

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