Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Writing Mojo No Mo


This month's Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog question was supplied by Laura Diamond, who asked:

"What do you do when you lose your writing mojo?"

Man, I know what this feels like. I posted on the NoMoJo Society before, but Laura is so smart. She probably remembered that all I did was complain in that post, instead of figuring out how to get out of that metaphysical writing funk.

So what do I really do?

I tell myself to stop thinking about the plot glitch, the scary revisions, the rejections, or the feeling of being in writing purgatory (you know--lots of writing happening, no publishing to go with it).

Do I relax? Kind of. (Truth: no, I still stress out).

Do I stop thinking about my WIP? Yes! (Okay, that's a blatant lie. I mean, I try. There are times when I must think of other things [family, work]. But other times? Nah.)

Do I get all Oprah-y and live in the moment and count my blessings for perspective? Of course. (And then I go back to thinking of my WIP immediately after. It might be hours later, days later, or one minute later, because let's face it. Cleaning out a poopy potty is not a live-in-the-moment thing I need to dwell on. My poop-to-writing perspective is just fine, thanks.)

In the end, the relentless thinking about how to make my writing better usually gets me some inner peace, some new found energy, and a kick in the rear to be a better writer. And voila, the mojo comes back.

What do you do to get your writing mojo back?

If you missed it, check out Laura's excellent post from last week and stay tuned for Sarah Fine's and Deb Salisbury's posts in the coming weeks!

And time's a running out. If you haven't had a chance, feel free to enter my book giveaway contest and join our blogfest next week. Links are on the right!

46 comments:

Christine Danek said...

I know this feeling. The brain can be a scary place. It really can persuade your mojo.
I try to get away from my WiP, a breather if you want to call it that. To clear the head a little. It works for the most part.
Have a great day!

mooderino said...

I just keep writing badly until it comes back. It always comes back. Eventually.

Sarah said...

Great post, Lydia. I like the honesty. And the poop-to-writing perspective.

Misha said...

I generally try to stop writing until my brain has a chance to work out whatever caused its funk. I usually know from the flash of an idea going off in my thoughts. ^_^

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

is it weird that I have never lost my mojo. Not yet anyways...

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I stop writing go on to do something else and return later and usually all is well.

Yvonne.

Anne Gallagher said...

I cut the grass, do yardwork, or if it's the middle of the winter, I clean something really dirty. I don't know why, I think the physical aspect of concentrating on something else, allows my brain to subconsciously concentrate on the problem.

strawberry Princess said...

it's weird but for me I guess dresses gets me back on tract..

I wear dresses I have my favorite the gown not just a dress a wedding dress aka gown of my mom and it always get me back on tract.. hehe

a falling water or just the sound of it keep me back in tract as well..

I do claim that i am not good at writing but when that moments come I think I can write something good.

Terri Tiffany said...

I'm there right now. Not fun. So I am trying to let it go and do other things but still thinking in the back of my mind,

Laura Pauling said...

At that point, I always take a step back and watch tv and read books until my brain kicks in and i'm ready to go again. We all needs breaks.

Angela Felsted said...

I really don't know how you do everything Lydia. Keep up with your followers, writing, being a mom. But at least you can keep busy while you're stuck in writing purgatory, right? Anything is better than sulking.

Old Kitty said...

I bake!! Baking always helps me get my erratic writerly mojo back! Take care
x

Solvang Sherrie said...

I do one of two things: I re-read a favorite, a really good book that inspires me to want to write that well, or I bake. Reading has a lot less calories...

Connie said...

I read. Though sometimes if I read a beautifully written book, my discouragement gets worse as I think, "I'll never be able to write like this."

lovedfromthestart said...

Great post! I've definitely lost my writing mojo before, and it's been scary. I don't remember how I got it back, but somehow I must have...

Bossy Betty said...

I hate to lose the mojo!!! Usually a walk or looking at past writing gets my groove back on!

D. U. Okonkwo said...

It can be all too easy to lose your mojo that you almost have to not allow it. Even finding inspiration for blog posts can be tricky! So I just sit at my desk utnil inspiration strikes. In all honesty, it doesn't take that long to get your mojo back. I think it's a mind game!

Rachna Chhabria said...

When my writing mojo disappears (it does at times) I catch up with lots of other things; my reading, catching up with writing for the newspapers and meeting friends. But, at the back of my mind, my thoughts are stuck to the story.And I go for long walks, which always helps. The mojo returns soon.

Slamdunk said...

For me, taking a step away and running. It helps me sort my thoughts and usually takes the anger and frustration away--replaced by tiredness nonetheless.

Carol Kilgore said...

Different things at different times depending on my mood. Write through it, cook, housework, walk, read, and probably more that I can't think of right now.

Corey Schwartz said...

Lydia,

I know I've said this before, but ... "you are so cute!"

The mo jo thing is a tough one. I think I just distract myself with a good book and have faith that it will come back on its own eventually.

notesfromnadir said...

I'd not heard of the NoMoJo Society until today & I like that name.

Sometimes I have that problem but then I just go & work on something else.

Thanks for putting up a link to my HOLLYWOOD FICTION EBOOK CONTEST! :)

Linda Gray said...

I'm working on going to work on something else--I think that might be the only way to free my obsessive mind from a project and let it work on some deeper level to solve the problem. But it's so hard to let go!!

Carolyn Abiad said...

I walk. In fact, thanks for the reminder! I can really use a walk right about now.

Chris Phillips said...

My philosophy is that mojo is not something within you, it's something you pour into yourself. It's also distilled from grain or molasses. And when I put it in me, everything magically becomes a better idea.

Olga said...

It was so interesting to read about the creative process of a writer at a problematic moment. Not so different from artists, actually.

Karlene Petitt said...

I haven't had time to lose my writing mojo yet! Ahhh.. probably because I'm always doing yoga, playing with grandkids, dealing with something at work that brings me inspiration and my fingers fly. But... I am coming back for tips when it happens. I always say... not "if" but "when."

Dafeenah said...

My mojo comes and goes of its own free will. If I even think of trying to bring it about, then it will just run farther away. Then when it comes, it is like opening the flood gates. One of the reasons I keep joining weekly writing challenges is to try to harness this and gain some control over it. So far no luck

Krispy said...

Sometimes I read. Other times, I just allow myself some whine time and veg out for a while (my myriad of TV shows helps to distract and shut down my brain). Then, when I'm feeling less crappy, I try to tackle the writing again.

Jennifer Hillier said...

When I lose my mojo, I do what always seems to work for me: I read old school Stephen King. I pick up Pet Sematary, or Carrie, or Eyes of the Dragon, or IT, and I read the stories that inspired me to be a writer in the first place.

This is very specific, I know :)

Anita said...

I keep writing!!! And add exclamation points to blog comments!!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Once I finish my current revisions, I hope it smacks me upside the head!

M Pax said...

I lost it on my new project, but found new wells of it for my novel revisions. So, I guess I can't complain. I have faith inspiration will hit to propel the new project along shortly. Yup. :D

-E- said...

charles bukowski was a big fan of the writing--defecation metaphor.

Taryn Tyler said...

What do I do to get my writing mojo back? Panic, stop writing for a day or two, then miss it so much that I come running back to it no longer caring about whatever it was that was stressing me out. Or possible I just read a really good book.

vbtremper said...

Hi Lydia! *waves* I feel like it has been ages. Anyway, great post - love your honesty.

My newest way to deal with NoMoJo is to do something else writing-related, specific to my wip - like write for a bit in a minor character's POV about his or her backstory or whatever comes to mind for that character. It gives me renewed energy to write or revise a scene with that character.

Tamara D Hanson said...

As a mother of three boys I totally related to the poop comment. :)

Trisha said...

I take time out, watch some DVDs, play my guitar a bit. Maybe do some drawing/painting.

Love the image at the top of this entry :)

Alleged Author said...

I FORCE my husband to take me out to eat at a fancy schmancy restaurant that NEITHER of us can afford. Good thing he usually says no and cooks for us instead. We might have to live on a fellow blogger's corner. Just saying...look out for an Alleged Author near you! MWAH HA HA HA!

No...really...

Rebecca Kiel said...

I just keep writing. I have precious snippets of time when I actually get to write - I don't want to waste them.

Karen Lange said...

I fight this sometimes (love your pic, btw). And I pretty much do what you do after I stop procrastinating and dancing around the project. It helps to read some articles about the area I'm stuck in or brainstorm with a writing friend. Chocolate has been known to help too.

Victoria Dixon said...

Yeah. Poop-to-writing. That's about where I think I am right now. LOL

I'm struggling with the mojo and have been for at least a year. I think in part because I'm worn out from the last book and I can't seem to give it a rest. Also, I haven't done a good job of refreshing myself.

I need to go outside, take (solitary) walks, breathe, maybe exercise (what a concept), scrapbook and CLEAN MY HOUSE. All these things would help my mojo, but I seem to feel chained to my computer even though it's not productive. Sigh. Where are the wire cutters?

Wow. Didn't feel that bit of whine coming. ;D

Jonene Ficklin said...

That made me think of a quote by Thomas Jefferson: "I'm a great believer in luck. I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." I think getting your mojo back is more about discipline and dedication to the craft than anything. But it never hurts to take time once in a while, to figure out if you've lost the love, and why. When you know, it's much easier finding the cure.

Liza said...

Lately I got stuck so I wrote a conversation between two characters. I hadn't gotten there in my writing yet, but I knew they had to have the dialogue at some point, so I wrote it and it got me moving again.

Erin Cole said...

I most always just have to take a break and do something else, like cooking, time in nature, etc. We tap into other parts of our brain then, and so when we come back to the writing table, we have new perspective and mojo. Usually, right? : )

Ghenet Myrthil said...

Great topic. I'm dealing with this right now. For some reason, my writing mojo has been faltering... I've been sitting down to write anyway and spending time thinking of what I can do to make the scene I'm struggling with better. Taking a break to do something else for a while also helps!

 
ALL CONTENT © 2012 THE WORD IS MY OYSTER / BLOG DESIGN © 2012 SMITTEN BLOG DESIGNS