Oh the dreaded MIDDLE.
Exciting concepts are great. The energy of inspired beginnings sweeps us away with big expectations. Visualizing the spectacular ending is oh so satisfying.
the mire and frustration of being bogged down in the Middle. Discovering your story does not have the legs to carry on to that wished-for ending can be disheartening. What is the point of continuing with the struggle, you say.
Being overwhelmed and feeling inadequate to the task can happen in creating visual art too. Doubt creeps in. You lose focus. Forget intent. Convince yourself you didn’t like it in the first place.
This has been my experience anyway. Many of us just never finish.
So how do you avoid this?
There are lots of people out there with advice:
‘Take a break. Do something enjoyable for awhile.’
‘Distract and inspire yourself by reading a good book, visiting an art gallery.’
‘Neutralize your environment. Turn off the phone.’
I think, too, that whatever project I am working on has to be ‘fun’ to fight through the middle slump. Enough fun that it poses a challenge, that pushes me out of my comfort zone, that forces me to dig deeper. That I am learning something just by attempting it.
I have also found that taking a multi-disciplined approach is helpful. One medium can help solve problems in another. The discipline and skill sets needed for screenwriting, for instance, can help solve structure challenges in a novel. Framing and lighting shots in a filmmaking can inform decisions when composing a painting.
Whatever creative project you are in the middle of, may you persevere. And I will wish the same for myself.