Sometimes, we all get into a funk. I don’t mean those groovy sounds of the 70s. Instead, I’m referring to that feeling of being stuck.
You sit at the laptop ready to write. But nothing happens. So you look at Amazon, research something that’s been bugging you for a while, or go on social media. Anything, but write.
Writing can feel like a chore, especially when you do it for a living.
If you have lost your writing mojo, you may begin to question everything. Doubt creeps in.
Am I really cut out for this? Am I just pretending to be a writer? I don’t have what it takes to make a successful business out of writing.
Ahem… that is absolute bull#hit.
Before we can figure out what we can do to get out of a writing funk, we need to understand why it happens.
Here’s a few reasons:
Having Multiple Projects and Managing Workload
You have some good, regular clients. That’s great! We all like to be able to earn money. But what happens when you have a client who is a pain in the ass, or if two or three clients put demands on you at the same time?
Learning how to prioritise is key.
Which project is the most work? What is your nearest deadline? Work on those first.
In the evening, write a quick to-do list for the next day. Having a visual reminder of your goals can help you stay on track.
Waiting to be Paid for Freelance Work
Who owes you money?
You wrote your socks off, your client was really happy, you submit your invoice. Then, silence. Sound familiar?
If you have more work to do for a client who is slow to pay, it is hardly a recipe for motivation. Don’t let things fester. Ask for what you are owed before you continue writing for them. You’d be amazed at how receiving a payment can spur your motivation to write more.
Use tools to help manage your work. A simple calendar will help you plan your week and gain an overview of your tasks. Feeling in control will make you feel better and more organised.
Being Bored of your Work (another product description, anyone?)
So you’ve landed a client that wants repetitive work. If you have never tried writing about the same kettle that comes in ten different colours, making the copy sound unique and fresh each time, then you really should.
After a few rounds of ‘why you should buy this kettle in [insert colour here]’ you’ll be looking around you home longingly for chores to do.
You Work from Home
Working from home is great, but it can also bring problems.
Demands put upon you by other members of your household
No getting away from your personal life
So how do we manage all of these factors and earn a good living?
Don’t fight the process.
Wiring is a creative process. Whether you are crafting a scientific paper, a light-hearted blog post or penning a novella, you have to go through some pain to get there. Think of it like a long distance runner. Some parts of the run will feel awful, but by putting one foot in front of the other and not giving up, great distances can be achieved.
When you feel crappy and don’t want to write, just accept it as part of the process.
Are you looking after yourself, writer?
Or, are you burning the candle at both ends?
This is a trap that I fall into a lot, and this is what account for most of my writing funk. I stay up late, either getting a head start of the next day’s work or researching. Then it’s one in the morning and I have to get up at seven to get the kids ready for school.
By mid-week, I’m exhausted. I can’t function as a writer. I have to nap. Then I feel bad because my day hasn’t been productive.
If I just went to bed at a decent time, I wouldn’t feel like that!
Getting enough sleep help the brain be creative.
Your Personal Life is Stopping your Productivity
As a writer, I understand that when things happen in your personal life, it can sap your energy, creativity and motivation. When your mid if full of other thing, it can be hard to concentrate on writing.
You’ve had a row with your partner
A friend upset you
You yelled at your kids this morning
Your dog is sick
Your worried about someone
Financial strains are getting you down
And so on…
We’ve all been there. When there is upheaval going on, it takes you over.
If you work from home, it can be twice as difficult to separate your work from your personal life.
4 Tips for quickly getting out of a writing funk
Thankfully, there are ways you can change your mind set and launch yourself into writing freedom.
1. Use a Timer
When you don’t feel like writing, having a limited amount of time to work helps. You are telling your brain that you only have to ‘do this boring task’ for a short amount of time.
Here’s how I do it. Bear in mind I have a short attention span and work in fifteen minute blocks – you might prefer longer.
Get away from your laptop for a few minutes – make a cuppa.
Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
Push yourself your work on a writing task for that amount of time.
Stop when the timer does.
The good thing with this is that most people can keep up a continued effort for just fifteen minutes, and you might be surprised about what you can achieve in that time.
Then you have a choice. If you have found your flow and want to continue, great!
If you are completely bored by what you are doing, set your timer again. Choose another task on your to do list. Work for fifteen minutes.
Rinse and repeat.
Break up those blocks by doing something physical in between. This can be a great way to get some housework done, also preventing it becoming a chore. Only fifteen minutes of cleaning is tolerable for most of us!
2. Stop the Negativity
When you get into a slump with your writing, it is so easy to begin a destructive inner dialogue.
“I don’t know why I bother anyway, everything I write is crap”
This kind of self-talk does no good. It is not helpful and it just makes your funk last longer. Stop doing it.
It is ok to acknowledge you are having a rough writing day, but don’t let it spiral and drag your mood down even further.
Get up and do something else. Give yourself some space from your work and come back with a fresh attitude.
3. Go for a Walk
Give yourself some head space and fresh air.
Did you know that the rhythmic action of walking has a calming effect of the brain, and produces happy hormones?
Walking gives you time away from the desk and allows you to work through your overwhelm and mental stumbling blocks. You’ll return to your work with a new perspective and energy.
4. Talk and Get Support
Sometimes we just need to vent what’s on our minds so we can refocus on our writing. When you are in a writing funk, pick up the phone and call a friend. Whether you talk about the specific problem, or just chit-chat, you can adjust your thoughts and restart.
Sometimes, being a writer can be an isolating career. Perhaps your friends don’t really understand the challenges your face. That is when getting support from other writers is amazing.
Join a writing community on social media, or a forum, and not only might you get specific help with things you struggle with, but you also have people who understand the joys and frustrations of being a writer. You are not alone!
Think of your writing funk, like a runner who has hit ‘the wall’. It’s amazing how many comparisons can be made between writing and running!
During those time where you feel like you can’t write, you have to find your way through it. Even if it takes all your effort to get a sentence or two out, make yourself do it.
Once you start taking that wall down, even just a brick at a time, you’ll feel more positive about your work.