You know what the messy middle feels like.

It’s the beginning of your idea, your story, your adventure. At first, it’s fresh, new, exciting. But as you get further into your journey, it feels muddy, strenuous and confusing. You don’t have the same vigor and you start feeling detached from your sense of purpose.The climax of your story – that anticipated outcome you look forward feels more distant than you thought.

I learned a simple approach to looking at messy middles when I was learning how to write a novel in my early twenties. My book was off to a good start. Or so I thought. I knew my characters inside and out. I had a bunch of scenes played out in my mind. When I imagined the ending scenes, I’d get giddy.

But then I got stuck. It just felt like I was moving my characters from one scene to the others, and I didn’t know what was driving the story anymore.

What I learned is that you can’t fully fix a messy middle from the sag in the middle. Imagine you’re holding a string at both ends and the middle is slack. You can’t tighten the middle by holding it up. You give it energy, purpose and focus through the tension of pulling one or both ends.

How does this apply to your life? That’s what I talk about in this video.

Which part do you need to tighten today?

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