I’m Stuck In The Middle With Nowt

With apologies to Stealers Wheel: Brain freeze to the left of me, grumpy humps to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with…nowt. Flipping nothing.

Go on, confess. You sang the actual song in your head. You visualised this scene from Reservoir Dogs didn’t you?

Spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen this film, although where on earth have you been for the last 24 years? Don’t watch if you have surgery issues though. Or an ear ache.

I’d like to be in this scene right now. Mainly for the funky dance moves, but the way I’m presently feeling, cutting off my ear could possibly be more comfortable.

The dreaded ‘middle’

Cheers writer’s block. Self-doubt. Lazy git-itis. Self-lobotomy. Whatever you call it, I don’t want to be here with you; stuck.

I have reached ‘the middle’. I now understand the pain. I’ve read the blogs and websites where writers have detailed the abrupt halt that often comes when you reach the middle of your novel. Not me, I thought. I have far too many ideas, I thought. I feel so inspired, I thought.

I am an idiot, I now think.

The reality of the sticky middle is here, and I am somewhat PVA glued in it. Not quite Superglued. Yet.

I guess you can liken it to a job. You go to the interview and you’re excited. You have so many ideas. You’re on your nauseatingly best behaviour, and you convince them you can do this. Just like when the ideas first come for your novel.

You are successful. You begin your job/novel. Life is sweet. The people/characters are friendly, helpful and you’re overjoyed at your shiny new group of best friends.

Then it happens. You come to the middle of your job/novel. The rose-tinted specs tinge to black. These people (sorry characters, but they are real in my world) are actually not as great as they led you to believe. In fact, they are cockwombles. They just don’t want to do things your way.

Here I am. Stuck in the middle with a load of colleagues/characters who just won’t play ball. Their behaviour is unpredictable. I daren’t accept their offer of coffee for motivation. They may pee in it. They are sneaky like that.

Taking charge

Then I remember. I am in charge here. These people will do what I say, or they will be fired. I have the power to inflict a terminal illness upon them, plagues, or even death. They should be quaking in their boots.

George R.R.Martin – Character Slayer aka my current hero.

So for now I’m going to write some twaddle because, here comes another revelation, there is a beautiful thing called editing. I may just repeatedly write my name or a tome for the Tesco* food shop, but at least it will be writing. I will curse myself when I edit the first draft, but any writing is better than nothing right now.

So let’s see who makes it out alive. With or without an ear. Now, there is a plot idea…

*They state, ‘Every little helps’; does this extend to providing plot ideas? Can you add that to the home delivery? I think it’s listed under ‘wine’.

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

6 comments on “I’m Stuck In The Middle With Nowt

  1. I’m afraid I didn’t get the reference, but I do understand the pains of having to deal with characters who don’t want to obey! Definitely keep writing, even if you end up spending three pages describing the meal they’re eating. Editing allows you to cut anything you want. The hard part is reaching The End the first time.

  2. Thanks Heather. Have you seen Reservoir Dogs? There’s a scene in it where the song ‘Stuck in the Middle’ is played and a crazed gangster cuts a guy’s ear off. Not exactly pleasant viewing but the song seemed a great analogy for being stuck in a middle of writing a novel, if not chopping off ears!
    I am plodding on regardless. Like you say, even three pages of seeming rubbish is something. Editing is a beautiful thing. The end of the first draft is a utopia!

  3. I really can’t explain why this post cheered me up but it did. I’ve just read the pile of turds that is the junior doctors’ new offer and sung Stuck in the Middle while reading this. That may explain things. Or it may be the breezy way your blog flows. Or the fact that I’ve read the whole thing without Junior exploding half-way through and having to marshal the forces of Napnap Change. Hurray. Either way, coffee and cake are on offer if you would like to come over for a natter. I also provide free entertainment in the shape of enraged baby trying (but not managing) to roll over or happy baby whacking rattle then acting surprised when rattle hits back. 🙂

  4. Glad to be of service. We have had similar ranting in our home regarding the latest developments for the junior doctors. Pleased my blogs are getting you through not assassinating Jeremy Hunt or being covered in poo. They may actually be one and the same thing. As for coffee and cake? You said the magic words. I will arrange with you soon. I hope my short story didn’t suck too much. Don’t worry about awkward diplomacy. There’s plenty more writing fish in the writery sea.

  5. Short story didn’t suck. My son has appalling timing and has woken up every time I try to email feedback. Its still in my drafts and has had more rewrites than a school essay. 🙁

  6. Get him to write it. He would probably make more sense than I often do. Sorry if my earlier reply appeared needy. I’m just grateful you wanted to read it. Thank you!

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