Well, for a start, they both contain an article by yours truly. I’ve written about writing competitions – specifically the Evesham Festival of Words’ short story competition for WF and about ‘UpLit’ for Writing.
I’m only telling you this (not to be boasty-boasty) but just in case you’re wondering if I ever actually write anything.
Looking back at the last few posts, it looks as though I just roam around the country (I’ve just been in Yorkshire for 4 days) and am occasionally ill. And this blog is, of course, supposed to be about WRITING!
But anyway… the other thing that the two March issues have in common is a reader’s complaint/plea for help with writing mojo.
In Writers’ Forum, Victoria from Bristol wants advice on how to ‘ignite her creative spark’ and in Writing, Tori, from Cardiff, gets ‘block’ and ‘depression’ when she can’t write, both of which, I reckon, boil down to pretty much the same thing: Loss of Mojo.
I think most of us writers feel that way sometimes, don’t we? Lacking inspiration, feeling so fog-brained that trying to write feels like wading through treacle and there’s just a general feeling of ‘ugh’. Am I right? (or is it just me – and er, Victoria from Bristol and Tori from Cardiff?).
I’ve touched on this ‘loss of mojo’ and destressing for writers, before but I thought I’d see if I could come up with a few more tips for getting that mojo back – and feel free to add yours in the comments!
1. Take a break. Forbidding yourself from writing for a week or two (or however long you decide), will probably have you itching to get back to it. I’ve just been up North (roaming around the country) and that’s certainly worked for me.
2. Apparently, creativity is cyclical! Who knew? So, if, some days, you’re on a roll and the ideas are coming so fast and furious that you can hardly keep up with them and you could write all night, a) make the most of that time and b) don’t be surprised – or too disheartened – if a few days later, you feel stuck in the mire again Have faith, that another burst of creativity is just around the corner and perhaps, in the meantime, do something else?
3. Nail That Routine! I find that, without a routine, I often procrastinate, feel bad, beat myself up, procrastinate even more and just can’t get down to writing.
After Christmas, or a holiday, it seems to be worse. So, trying to stick to a routine – and having goals – for writing is often helpful. Set yourself a REALISTIC daily goal: 15 minutes of writing or an hour, or 200 words, a paragraph, a page. Whatever works for you. If it’s realistic, you should be able to do it. No excuses allowed!
It goes without saying really but we need to sleep and eat well, drink lots of water, get some exercise and meditate/practice mindfulness or ‘journal’/do Morning Pages (if you find that helpful), to be the best writers we can be.
5. Go Easy On Yourself. Author and tutor Meg Pokrass recommended the following on Twitter the other day:
“When one has writer’s block (or feels generally uncreative): Lower your standards immediately! Write anything at all. Think of it as simply getting those muscles warm again.”
Good advice! I wrote a couple of letters to magazines. It was nice just to write something short and simple and submit it.
6. Use Prompts. Set a timer and write for 10 minutes without stopping, on a given prompt. Meg Pokrass has some on her blog here. Don’t let yourself ‘choose’ though: just go with the first one (or, when you’ve done that, the next one down). You’ll be surprised what you come up with, I promise.
7. Get out of the house! It’s really hard to write at home because there are too many distractions. A couple of weeks ago, I went on a one-day retreat, to a Christian centre near me that was offering a special offer ‘pop up retreat day’ but you don’t have to do anything that fancy.
A writer I know takes herself off to her local library every day, armed with sandwiches and a flask of coffee, so she’s not tempted by cafes. She has a favourite table, tucked away in the corner and that’s where she writes. Could you do that?
What else? What do you do when your muse deserts you?!