I write in fits and starts. I wish I didn’t. I wish I wrote every day, butt in the chair, hands on the keyboard, etc, etc, every day, but I don’t. Sometimes, I do write a lot and think of my story and my series a lot. And sometimes I don’t. I am in a don’t period right now. Back in the November, NaNo gave me a huge boost in word count, creativity, and energy for my story that carried me through a month or two. Then life interrupted . . . I don’t need to go into details on my interruptions, you can fill in the blanks with yours.
I googled the title of this post. The first thing to pop up was a Chuck Wendig: Terrible Minds post from 2012. I really like his content, but often not some of his word choices. #1 suggests reading outside your comfort zone. I thought, yeah, maybe I should do that because I rarely do. But then I read #2. I rather read a book I love utterly. I might do #3 and read something really bad so I can fix that in my head while I’m reading. What I really need to do is all the way at the bottom of this list at #25. Just do it.
Write to Done is a new writing blog for me, but I liked this short post on Learning to Write When You’ve Lost Your Mojo. The first one feels like cheating to me. I’ll just call my period of not writing a ‘rest period’. #3 suggests talking about your book. This is front and center in my brain because a friend asked about my book on a 5-mile hike the other day. It got me talking about it again and I got excited about it again. It generated some positive self-talk like ‘Yes, I am a writer and I like my story so why aren’t I doing anything with it’. So now, I need to #4 and #5, recommit and read what I have written.
Write Your Journey is another new writing blog I discovered with this google search. It’s not so much what she wrote at the beginning that struck me, it the 7 ways to get your writing mojo back at the end of the post, except the Chinese calligraphy. My son takes Chinese and I’ve seen what goes into producing those characters. Taking my writing to an unfamiliar location, timed writing sprints, journaling (I would journal about my characters not about me), and reconnecting with writers’ groups (as discussed in Elizabeth’s post yesterday), forums, online writing classes is something I’ve been thinking about.
What do you do to get your writing mojo back?
I take a class or go to a conference or just hang out with other writers. That’s why, even though I never get anything written at writing retreats, they really help me move the ball forward, because I come home enthused and ready to work again.
Going to an art museum or a symphony seems to help, too.
I get a lot out of writers conferences, too, RWA Nationals in particular. That’s why I’m so bummed that I’ve got to miss this one again.
I create my own private retreats. I go and stay with a friend/friends, explaining in advance that I’d love to be there to do some writing, as the location is so inspiring. These so-called retreats have taken place in Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany, with a balcony view across a valley to a chapel on top of a hill. Or a house in the countryside just outside Perth in Scotland, with all sorts of different writing stations in and outdoors. Or by a pool in South Africa when visiting family. Or Burgundy in the south of France overlooking golden, autumnal vineyards. Even at the back of the Beverly Hills (yes – I do have friends in some good locations, I must admit!). Sometimes all I do is make notes, fix a blind spot by staring at beautiful scenery and working out what’s causing the problem. Or even skipping the end of one novella and launching into the next, to keep things fresh. Sometimes I read what I’ve written out loud and get feedback. One Christmas I even created my own writing retreat at my dining room table here at home, with a place for my computer, a place for notebooks and a place to eat. It was great fun and I got lots done. Changing the location and/or the way I do things helps me get perspective. And I always find a way to return favours.
You do have friends in some great places. We had a 8LW retreat a while back and I found it enormously helpful. A private retreat sounds like a great idea. I’ll have to ponder what locations are available to me. Thanks for the tip.
It’s great fun and a good excuse for a change of scene!
Good question. What has worked in the past is taking a break, and just re-filling the creative well, and then usually it’s a book that sparks my motivation to write again. Either a really good one that leaves me whirling with joy, or a really bad one that makes me say, “You know, I could do better than this.”
I’ve been tapped out for several months, though. We’ll see how I do over Golden Week, the 10-day holiday (this year only!) coming up in Japan.
Read a good book that sparks motivation because it’s so good or read a bad to spark the “I can do that better” motivation jibes with Wendig and that also helps me too, but I have to be mindful about it. I just read a crappy one, but wasn’t reading it like a writer. If I had, I probably could have found a lot more creative juice in it. It might have been so bad that it didn’t work – heroine was 2S2L (i.e., in car with baby, someone attacks car, rather use the car keys to start the car and drive away, she crawls into the back seat, takes the kid out of the car seat and huddles on the floor), Hero was 2S2L (left his go bag with all his weapons in the car while he went in search of bad guy and guess what, bad guy gets go bag).
Hopefully, you’ll get your mojo back soon, too.