Earlier this year, I wrote about Eleven Reasons to Love Writer’s Block. In this post, I was mainly talking about the situation where we get blocked on a particular project and can’t seem to move forward. But a writer’s “funk” is different. When you’re in a funk, you can’t seem to work on anything writing-related. It all seems too difficult, too big, too overwhelming, and your creativity and inspiration have frozen over like ice on a winter lake.
Now, some of the advice from that earlier post holds true for a funk as well as a block; do something else productive or creative, walk away for a while, exercise, read. Sometimes those things work. But sometimes they lead you into an even deeper rut. The longer you spend away from the writing, the harder it is to return to it.
Breaking out of a writer’s funk usually means getting your brain back into writer mode. And to do that, you often have to prime it with writerly stuff.
1. Read a book about writing. This could be a new title or one of your favourites from your own resource shelf. Reading about writing can shift your thinking back into the familiar writing grooves.
2. Listen to a podcast about writing. Again, either something new or a favourite source of advice. The bonus of a podcast or audiobook is that you can pair it with one of the other block-busters like exercise or housecleaning.
3. Make a list. I’m a great believer in lists and schedules. Write down all the writing-related projects you can’t seem to make yourself tackle. Then choose one that you can finish reasonably quickly and easily and resolve to concentrate only on that one until it’s done. Sometimes a funk comes down to having taken on too much and feeling paralyzed. Being able to finish just one thing might make you better able to tackle the rest.
4. Start small. Write a blog post, Facebook note, or journal entry about how you’re feeling about your writing and what you’re doing to get back on track. Setting down words–any words–can break the ice.
5. Talk it out. Take your problem to your local or online writer friends and ask their advice. Have they ever been in a writer’s funk? How did they break out of it? And do they have advice on solving a particular problem that’s got you stumped?
It takes willpower and desire to break out of a writer’s funk, but I hope some of these ideas will help you get back to that keyboard. Have you experienced a writer’s funk yourself? How did you break out of it?
Photo credit: ivanmarn