NaNoWriMo Tip #15 – Push Through the Middle

NaNoWriMo is all about gains made through every chapter, every paragraph, sentence, and word. The beginning and end will likely be very easy to write. The middle is going to be a certified Grade-A pain. Maybe you’re at that point right now and are getting stuck in the muck and mire of your plot?

Rest assured, you’re not alone. Many writers struggle with the middle. Much like the middle of a chess game, the middle of a story is difficult because of the possibilities. It’s not as well defined and can become tricky when you’re trying to decide how much attention should be given to plot versus character. The middle is also the most important part of any story. It’s the meat and potatoes of the narrative. People love to experience the journey of your character more than knowing the beginning or end of the journey. So, the middle carries more weight and it’s easy to get stressed out wondering if its working or not.

What’s a struggling writer to do when they’re in the muddy middle?

Push through it like a bulldozer.

It’s going to be really tough but the best thing you can do is fight like mad to get through it as fast as possible, come hell or high water. Put all your weight and strength into getting it done. Sometimes that might mean regrouping with your outline and make sure you’re sticking to your structure. It might also mean not sweating the small stuff or getting hung up on how things are clicking. If it clicks enough to be workable later, then leave it for the edit.

Why is pushing through so important? Because once you make it to the finish line, hindsight is 20/20. You’ll now have perspective and can see the full picture. Once that full picture is in view, the middle will suddenly start to make even more sense and you’ll feel more comfortable editing and molding the middle to meet the end.

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