When in a writing funk… I apply the following :)

With all this talk of and looking at NaNoWriMo from different perspectives these past few months in blog posts of friends, and in the articles from several guest writers on FFDO, I have been thinking a lot about writing. Okay, truth be told, I think about writing every single day, a lot, so let’s go with: I thought even more about writing.

Let me know how it is for you, but when in a writing funk, I personally seem to shut down. That means little to no social media, e-mails, and basically no creative writing. I am not going to lie or sugar-coat it either, it can last for quite a while when it happens. I’m really lucky to have myself my blog on a strict enough blogging schedule, or I would probably fully shut down and not write a single word when in that state.

I have written only a handful of flash fiction and poems, and not a single travel article in 2013. I intend to change that back to at least my productivity of 2011-2012, while aiming for even more regarding flash fiction and poems as well! And it won’t get done just by thinking about it, I know.

committing out loud

Thus far, I have used different methods for getting back to writing after a dry spell, and you know what the most effective way thus far has been? I’ll detail below:

  • Writing. Just sitting down to my desk, taking the laptop to a cozy corner, getting out my notepad in the middle of the park and just starting to write. It takes discipline. Starting is the hardest. But, I simply sat down, and wrote.
  • It definitely helps to have a large enough chunk of time on one’s hands, but in case I don’t? I try to make the most of “idle moments” like standing in line while running errands, waiting for lunch to heat up, or a cake to bake and so on.
  • Committing “out loud”. Not that it wouldn’t be fun shouting it off rooftops or taking up skywriting, but something as simple as sharing my plan to write as a Facebook status, tweeting right before starting, posting an Instagram picture of where I’m sitting, of the messy desk with all my slips of papers and notepads in haphazard piles goes a long way. As impersonal as it tends to get at times, social media is still the greatest way of connecting people right away; I’m constantly surprised/amazed to see how many people out there are struggling with the same thing.
  • Looking at, or editing photographs. They are supposedly worth a thousand words, right? Try getting those words on paper – imagined or other wise! (Like I did, here.)
  • Writing curious lists. To give a fresh example, few days before December ending I opened the book at random, to page 111 and then chose the bottom title, from the chapter “Lists for Holidays”. For it is the holiday season, I decided to give this list a festive/humorous spin and thought of items accordingly. Here’s what I came up with.

What do You do to get yourself back on track, when in a writing funk?

8 Comments to “When in a writing funk… I apply the following :)”

  1. Deadlines. Nothing like having a date that you need to get something done, at least for me. Try keeping a list of calls for submissions with deadline dates near your writing area.

    • For me, I’ve found that deadlines can go both ways, either spark my imagination or stifle it. Usually once I accept something though. But a list of calls for submissions is a good idea to have near one’s writing area. Thank you for chiming in, Janel, I love finding out what works for other writers!

  2. Since I journal every day, it keeps the pen flowing even if I don’t write anything else. Gets all the junk out, so that when I do write, perhaps something decent will come through. Then sometimes I’m surprised when I’m journaling, something worthy pops out. It seems odd to a lot of people, but I always handwrite in my journal. There’s something about the physical act that seems to give me inspiration.

    • I don’t journal myself, but I can see how it would be great for keeping the pen flowing no matter what else one ends up writing in a day. And I know exactly what you mean by sometimes getting all the junk out first; that is sometimes the case for me, when I sit down to write.
      To me, it doesn’t seem odd at all that you handwrite in your journal, Lynn! You know I love handwritten mail as well :) You’re so, so right, there is something very inspiring about the physical act of handwriting.

  3. It’s always great to hear we aren’t alone Estrella :) so thank you for your honesty. As I mentioned in the comments on Jon’s blog (at FFDO and a great article it is) I was hit by a major life change about 18 months ago and it halted everything, including my writing. I was so angry because I had just gotten over a writing funk and was really starting to pick back up on a few shorts I’d set aside. However, because I had to somehow get through the rough patch, I turned to my journal. I couldn’t write a lick of fiction to save my life but I wrote continuously in the journals and ended up with five full notebooks in about four months time. (Those journals have been put away so that, some day but certainly not soon, I can pick them back up and examine that time of my life, possibly even use them for a memoir). Thankfully I got back into writing fiction a few months ago, albeit slowly, and the only reason it happened is because I sat down with pen and paper and told myself I was not allowed to get back up until I’d written something – anything except the nonfiction I’d poured out over the past year. So far that has worked okay but I know that, if I would create a schedule (and stick to it) I’d be a lot more productive. There’s really no reason at all I’ve not done this, just plain laziness….about time for that to be remedied so thank you very much for this post! :)

    • No, we aren’t alone. I’m always surprised to see other people being able to relate to what ever it is I’m going through at the moment with my writing or lack thereof.
      It makes me so glad to hear that journaling has helped you get through your rough patch, Deanna. If there’s anything I can do, just let me know (even if just lending an ear, don’t hesitate to call out.)
      And sometimes the approach you mentioned, sitting down without letting yourself off the hook, works really well. Having a schedule to go along with it is definitely key, though. How has this worked out for you (since I’m super late to reply… sorry!)?
      My own writing is picking back up more and more these past few weeks, as I’ve resolved to do it over weekends. I finally have weekends off again, and so, decided to keep it simple during the week – like answering e-mails and such – and work on major things on Sat./Sun. So far, it’s working out really well!

      • Thankfully I have been able to develop a schedule of sorts, though I’m almost reluctant to acknowledge it for fear that I’ll “break the spell”. It used to be that, when I was in a funk, I’d drag out the calendar and jot down “WRITE from 10 – 11” or some such on every day, but that never worked, I think because I got so accustomed to seeing it (written down) that I overlooked it. It was almost like I rebelled against it because it was a documented rule (and I’ve always been a bit rebellious in general). So, rather than create a schedule for writing these past few months I’ve sort of whispered to myself “you should write a blog post this week”, or work on a short or an essay, whatever it is I feel most passionate about at the moment. Amazingly, this has worked well, I’m producing something at least once a week. I write every day but what I’m talking about here is work I’m happy to share, not the doodles and scribbles I jot each day. :)
        Thanks so much for the offer of your ears, I may need to take you up on it some day. :)

        • That is a good approach, we all need to find what works best for us. And different things will work best at different stages of our life, so don’t ever worry about how exactly you’re producing new writing. Just write. Leap and the net will appear, as one of my friends says. It makes me really glad to hear you managed to figure out how to go about this at the moment and that it’s working well! *fingers crossed for you*

          And I’m here when ever you need an ear, we’ll figure out the time zone difference, no worries ;)

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