Indie Author Weekly

103: The other "messy middle"... and 5 tips for how to deal with it

March 16, 2021 Sagan Morrow Episode 104
Indie Author Weekly
103: The other "messy middle"... and 5 tips for how to deal with it
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Indie Author Weekly
103: The other "messy middle"... and 5 tips for how to deal with it
Mar 16, 2021 Episode 104
Sagan Morrow

Have you ever wondered how to get past the OTHER kind of messy middle, with the actual process of writing your book? That’s exactly what’s happening on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN NOW to access all 5 tips for how to get past the messy middle and deal with it, once and for all... 

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:

Let's chat about this episode:

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever wondered how to get past the OTHER kind of messy middle, with the actual process of writing your book? That’s exactly what’s happening on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN NOW to access all 5 tips for how to get past the messy middle and deal with it, once and for all... 

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:

Let's chat about this episode:

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello and welcome back to Indie Author Weekly! This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. I’m your host, Sagan Morrow: a productivity strategist and author of polyamorous romcoms.

Now, have you ever wondered how to get through the messy middle when it comes to the process of writing your book? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!

For our new and returning listeners, you can now get all Indie Author Weekly podcast episodes plus book and writing updates delivered directly to your inbox each week at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes—link is in the show notes.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share about “the other messy middle.”

There are two types of messy middle: the more common “messy middle” is when you’re writing the first draft of the book, and you get stuck in the middle of the actual story. You might not know exactly where you’re going with the plot, or your characters might be acting out, and so on. Learn more about that type of messy middle in Episode 31 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast.

So that’s the more common type of messy middle. And then there’s the other kind of messy middle: that’s when you’re in the middle of the PROCESS of writing the book, for example, around the third draft.

Why is this hard? Well, now you’re at a point where you have to deal with all those scenes you told your previous self you’d worry about later. Now you need to polish it! You might experience both imposter syndrome AND shiny object syndrome. Personally, this is pretty much always the point at which I start wanting to write a different book. 

So with that in mind, here are 5 tips for how to get past this version of the messy middle, when you’re in the process of writing maybe the third draft of your book, and you don’t want to polish it, or you’re starting to get distracted by other book ideas, or you’re getting scared that your book won’t be as good as you want it to be, and so on.

How to get over it: 

Tip #1: Jot down notes about your other book idea to get it out of your system. 

This applies to any situation, actually: any time you’re getting distracted by shiny objects, I encourage you to set yourself a timer, deal with as much of that shiny object as you can, and then it won’t be cluttering up your brain and taking away the focused attention you require for your current work in progress. 

Tip #2: Read your current work in progress cover to cover. 

I find that this is super helpful to get back in touch with the overall story and to reconnect with my characters—especially if you’ve taken a break from writing the book. Read the whole story cover to cover, without judgment. After you’re done that, you’ll probably have some awesome fresh new ideas for how to continue to plough through the messy middle. 

Tip #3: Take advantage of your energy levels.

As a productivity strategist and multi-passionate creative, I have definitely learned that energy levels are extremely important! This means that we aren’t approaching the writing process from a place of burnout or exhaustion. Instead, you might work on your book during your most creative hours of the day, or you might take advantage of your energy boosters, such as listening to energizing music, when you sit down to write.

I share a lot about energy management and productivity advice on my Instagram Stories—you can follow me there, @Saganlives, and submit any requests for specific tips as needed! You know that I’m happy to help you with your own writing journey.

Tip #4: Create and stick to manageable, realistic timeframes.

There are a few key words in this tip that I want to bring your attention to! First, “stick to the timeframe.” Yes. When you create a timeframe for yourself, work on making progress on an ongoing basis, rather than continually procrastinating.

The other element I want to bring your attention to are the words “manageable” and “realistic.” What is manageable and realistic for you at this point in time? Create a timeframe from there. It’s going to be different for everyone. Try not to feel pressured to make this a hurried process—it’s okay to go slow! 

I bet you want some support with creating a timeframe for your book project—so if that sounds like you, then grab my free time-saving tips cheatsheet at SaganMorrow.com/savetime

Tip #5: Devote the necessary attention it requires. 

This comes back to tip #1: You need to give your story the attention it deserves. Carve out the space for it. That might mean putting something else on the backburner in order to make room for it, or asking someone to help you in another area of your life or business so you have the extra time and energy to focus on your story.

Our books aren’t going to write themselves. At some point, if you truly want to write the book, you’re going to need to give it the time and energy it needs. Block off that writing time. Protect it. And have fun with it! Writing a book can be such an amazing and enjoyable experience. Tap into the joy of the process, and the messy middle starts to clear itself up as a result.

By the way—if you need a little extra inspiration and motivation for this step of the process, then I encourage you to check out the writing meditation from Episode 93 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast.

To recap, those 5 tips include: 

  1. Jot down notes about your other book idea to get it out of your system
  2. Read the book cover to cover 
  3. Take advantage of your energy levels 
  4. Create and stick to manageable, realistic timeframes
  5. Devote the necessary attention it requires 

And that, my friend, is a wrap for today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly! Access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources, at SaganMorrow.com/podcast.

Thank you so much for tuning in. Please take 2 minutes to rate and review Indie Author Weekly on Apple Podcasts—I really appreciate your support. 

Until next week, this is Sagan Morrow, signing off the Indie Author Weekly podcast.