Have you found yourself in a writing funk? You don’t have writer’s block, but writing feels hard, unpleasant, and a “should” on your to-do list.
What’s up with that? After all, you love writing and dream of publishing your work, right? Yet, you just can’t get motivated or inspired to write, and when you do sit down at the computer, you don’t get in the flow.
You’re in a writing funk and want to get out of it.
No More Shoulds
I’ve previously shared how I spent several years in a funk. I’d lost my writing mojo and couldn’t seem to get it back.
These days, I write with much more ease and joy. I get in the flow and write quickly and effectively. I’m more motivated and beginning to feel inspired to write about new topics and experiences.
How’d I get out of the funk and get my mojo back? First, I stopped telling myself that I “should” write. It didn’t feel fun as long as I considered writing something I should or had to do.
Find Internal Motivation
However, the only one telling me I should write or had to write was me—or so I thought. I had no outside pressure—other than what I imagined.
As a writer, I knew I wasn’t doing what writers do—write. And I beat myself up weekly for all the words that never made it onto the computer screen or paper. “Nina! You didn’t write again. Look at your habit tracker…not one check mark under ‘Write Daily’ for the last three weeks.”
Plus, my mental chatter continually told me to publish. “You need to get another manuscript and proposal done! If you want another book deal, you should write for publications.”
As a published author, I know damn well that continually writing and publishing is imperative to your success. That’s why publishers don’t offer contracts to writers with only one book idea. The more books you write, the more books you sell.
And you can build a platform with published magazine articles or guest posts. Plus, these “clips” prove to publishers that you can write and are willing to do what you can to place yourself in front of your ideal audience.
None of this knowledge helped meet out of my funk. Instead, it contributed to it getting worse. So, I had to stop worrying about what I believed was expected of me or what anyone else thought about what I was doing or not doing.
I made what I wanted to do or write about my only concern. And, more recently, I have begun practicing the advice Sarah Knight offers in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck,: I stopped giving a fck about anything other than writing because I want to write. And I stopped giving a fck about what others—even those in the publishing industry—thought I should be doing or expected of me.
Make Writing Fun Again
Additionally, I focused on writing for fun…not because I wanted (or needed) to get published. I realized that all that pressure I was putting on myself to write and publish had taken the fun out of something I previously enjoyed.
And I was writing for others rather than myself, which made writing stressful. In addition, I was concerned about how my work would be perceived by readers and acquisitions editors, which changed how I wrote and whether I enjoyed the activity.
Of course, I realize that, like other writing and publishing pros, I have stressed writing for your reader (and knowing who that reader is). But to get out of my writing funk, I had to write what I wanted for no other reason than because I wanted to write about that topic.
I’ve been writing since I was in elementary school—little stories about girls and horses. I began journaling in high school and continued this practice for much of my life. I received my first by-lines in high school by publishing articles in local newspapers. Then, I went on to write for my college’s publications and then for various magazines, newspapers, ad agencies, businesses, and newsletters post-graduation. I began blogging before it became a “thing” and had as many as five blogs at once. After editing books for others, I wrote my own.
Why did I do all that writing? Because I loved it and experienced writing as a fun and rewarding activity. I did it because I wanted to…I was inspired and motivated to follow my inspiration. Plus, I enjoyed every minute I spent writing.
To get out of my writing funk, I had to write for the pure joy of it. I had to allow it to be fun again.
Follow Your Inspiration…NOW!
I have found that another way to make writing fun again involves following my inspiration. But I have to create the space to do that.
I realize some writers work a “real job,” still have young children at home, or serve as caregivers for elderly parents. Therefore, they have less freedom to sit down and write when they have a light-bulb moment. However, I even get ideas when I can’t get out my laptop and start writing, like during a coaching call.
But anyone can pull out a notebook and jot down a few sentences to remember their ideas. And anyone can make some time during the day—yes, anyone—to review that idea, get inspired again, and start writing.
Whenever you can, I suggest you employ Mel Robbin’s five-second rule and begin writing within five seconds of receiving a hit of inspiration. When I do that, I get in the flow and produce words as fast as my fingers can type. Afterward, I feel super jazzed!
“Wow! That was fun…and fulfilling,” I think.
And the more I follow my inspiration as quickly as possible, the more fun I have writing.
Even this post originated in a burst of inspiration…not in a slog through old ideas or the feeling that I should write a post and must publish on schedule. (Yes, I still try to stick to my blog schedule. ) These days I sit down and write a post based on what’s important to me. That makes blogging, which is writing, fun rather than a should, must, or obligation (even if I do have a deadline to meet).
Write About Meaningful Topics
Ultimately, I know that what has meaning to me as a writer likely has meaning to other writers. So, I may be composing a piece for you, my reader, about how to get out of a writing funk and make it fun again, but I’m also writing it for myself. After all, I’m still trying to make my writing fun again.
I teach what I need to learn, as many teachers have done before. I’m être en train de making writing fun. I hope my insights and tips prove helpful if you are in a writing funk. I know they’ve helped…and continue to benefit…me.
How have you gotten out of a writing funk and made writing fun again? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a writing buddy.
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Photo courtesy of fizkes.