NaNoWriMo Guidance: Getting Through the “Muddy Middle,” featuring Gennifer Albin

Nov 12, 2018

Gennifer Albin

The Muddy Middle is inevitable when you’re writing a book—that place all writers get to when the newness of their writing endeavor begins to wane, and the project isn’t feeling so exciting anymore. In this episode Grant commits to trying to make better use of the nooks and crannies of his life, writing even when he has just a ten-minute window, and Brooke confesses that one of her downfalls is needing the conditions to write to be just so. Guest Gennifer Albin, veteran NaNoWriMo writer, has super-helpful tips for getting through the Muddy Middle, and shares how she finds the time and how NaNoWriMo has been a productive and inspiring way to get her writing done.


Gennifer Albin, also writing as Geneva Lee, is a New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of women’s fiction and young adult novels. Her first novel, Crewel, was a BEA Buzz Pick and a YALSA Teen’s Top Ten choice and was written during National Novel Writing Month. Since then Albin/Lee has gone on to author over fifteen novels and sell nearly two million books worldwide. Together with her sister, she owns Away With Words Bookshop in Poulsbo, WA.

NaNo Writing Action: Nourish the Mystery

Try these three things if you’re feeling the Muddy Middle Blues:

  1. Do some time travel. Go back to the moment you got the idea for your story and try to remember your early excitement. It’s easy to forget what drew us to the idea in the first place, and if we go back and re-experience our wide-eyed curiosity, it can help refuel us.
  2. Write for mystery. “Don’t write what you know. Write what you want to know.” Let go of reality and trust yourself to create new worlds and live in them this month.
  3. Give yourself a break. This means two things. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind on your word count or you’re just not feeling it. This happens to everyone, and you’ll get through it. One way to get through it is to do something creatively nourishing. So go to a movie, read your favorite author, play your guitar. Just do something off the page to let your thoughts breathe a bit.

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