The Writing Yips
YIPS – Definition: Trembling on the brink of an action causing failure of completion.
This sounds more like a problem for a sex therapist, but writers can suffer the dreaded Yips whilst writing their novel. I always do.
Yips is a term used in various sports to describe the inability to competently follow through with an action.
Hands and arms start shaking whilst trying for the dreaded ten foot putt on the golf green,
OR the fingers won't let go of the ball when bowling at cricket.
Very embarrassing for a professional
For a writer it manifests itself by an attack on self belief and a lack of confidence in:
all the characters,
and flow of words.
An all-pervading intense feeling that this is not worth the effort to carry on
It has to be the worst thing every written.
In my case the Yips occur about two-thirds the way through a book, round the sixty or seventy thousand word mark.
I've hit the problem in every book I've worked on and in fact Yips stopped me completing a couple earlier in my writing life.
There is only one solution to the writing Yips:
CONTINUE POUNDING THE KEYS IN YOUR DAILY ROUTINE UNTIL YOU TYPE THE LAST FULL STOP.
Of course it might turn out at edit time that this IS the worst thing you've ever written, but in my experience it generally isn't.
I guess the Yips is a form of writers' block except you can still write even though you're convinced it would be better to stop. DON'T GIVE IN TO IT. After maybe another five thousand words or so self-belief returns and a finish can be made. Put the work aside for several months whilst editing a previous novel and when you come back to it, the writing will seem perfectly acceptable.