31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes: Muddle

We’re eight days into this free write challenge. Hurricane Matthew is dumping buckets of rain outside and we’re hunkered down, passing the time until we can resume our normal activities. How appropriate that today’s word is muddle.

It’s tempting to muddle through the gift of a weekend free from commitments. To procrastinate. To waste the day with meaningless tasks. I started this manuscript mid-summer, stoked about my new idea, determined to crank out the first fifty pages. My critique partners were super supportive and my confidence about my ability to write my sixth novel was pretty high.


Then about fifteen pages ago, my enthusiasm waned. Came to a screeching halt, actually. I blamed my inability to write on getting a puppy, my busy schedule, waiting to hear a ‘yay’ or a ‘nay’ from publishing houses on previously submitted projects.

I told myself if I could just make it to 20,000 words, things would start to fall into place and the going would get easier.

Well, I slogged my way from 20,000 to 21,000 and I still want to quit.

The middle of a novel isn’t called the sagging middle or the muddy middle for no reason.

I don’t just want to muddle through. I want to write a great novel. Sure, it will need revision. Maybe even a complete overhaul. I want to experience joy in the journey.


This afternoon, armed with my favorite pen, notebook paper and more coffee (obvi), I’m determined to get back into this story.

How about you? Do you grab a tough project by the horns and get it done, or do you muddle through? Is it okay to muddle? Please share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.


  1. Somer:

    People who write fiction amaze me. You amaze me. I totally can see there would be a sagging middle. The amount of creativity and the largeness of mind to make up a complete story spanning hundreds of pages me amazes me. Props to you. I’m glad you aren’t giving up.


    • Heidi:

      Awwww, thank you, Somer. That’s very encouraging. I have great partners who read my first drafts and offer suggestions. There’s also wonderful editors for correcting grammar and overall structural issues. A work of fiction is a team effort for sure.


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