Support for Indie Authors discussion

126 views
Archived Author Help > Lost my Mojo. Am I even still a writer?

Comments Showing 1-49 of 49 (49 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by D.A. (new)

D.A. Paul (dapaul) | 8 comments I wrote a book.

Please, hold your applause.

It took up the better half of three years, but it was the most rewarding challenge I have ever faced. I even had the audacity to get that sucker published. I scrounged up anything my measly budget could afford, hired an editor, created a cover, and put it up on Amazon.

After it was done, I had the elated experience of selling the fruit of my labor. It was like getting the gold medal for all the sports I had failed at as a child. Unfortunately, shortly after hitting the publish button, my writing mojo flew out the window.

That’s right, I’ve lost my mojo.

Now, to be fair, my personal life has demanded a vast amount of attention. Marriage, a baby, moving across state, all those things have distracted me from my usual overactive imagination. But still, what happened? There was once a time I could sit myself down at Starbucks and delve into my book for hours. My intense concentration had Baristas wondering if I was trying to hack into NASA on my laptop, while my husband just thought I had gone completely nuts. It was wonderful. It was bliss… So what happened?

I’m calling my new affliction “writer's block” for lack of a better term,

I’ve decided to include a list suggested remedies for writer's block, and how each has (sadly) failed me.




1) Just do it.

Thanks Nike, but like everything else, this is easier said than done. This is probably the most common piece of advice I’ve seen circling the internet in regards to writer block, but I’ve since found it to be fruitless. It’s a fantastic rule to follow when attempting to finish a project, especially if it’s under a deadline, but sitting in front of a blank computer screen doesn’t exactly spark my creativity.

Conclusion: Fail.



2) Write daily… even if it’s trash.

I did end up taking a break after publishing Boost, but I thought when I started writing again it would all come back in flood of inspiration and flowery prose. Well, it didn’t. Turns out, writing is a lot like riding a bike. You know how it works, you can balance and move, but sometime during your long absence the chains turned red with rust, the tire popped, and a family of mice ate the foam cushion of the seat. So yes, perhaps if I had followed this rule I wouldn’t have writer's block.

Conclusion: Inconclusive.



3) Take a break.

When it comes to editing a first draft, this piece of advice is pure gold. By forgetting about your book for a while, you can read it later with fresh, slightly less biased eyes. However, it really only seems to work if your first draft has been written. Otherwise, once you return to your writing desk you discover that you’ve forgotten what words are, and how they fit together in a proper sentence, and how to make it good and stuff.

Conclusion: Good advice, but not right now.





4) Read.

This is another one of those “it might work for you, but it’s not working for me” fixes. Not only am I locked out of my own imagination, but I have a hard time jumping into other people’s books as well. I used to be a sponge for anything sappy and slightly creepy (weird combination, I know) but lately I just can’t seem to look past annoying plot holes, generic characters, wording, voice, everything… I feel like a total hypocrite. I’ve become a snobby good-for-nuthin’ critic considering I can’t even start my own story. Good grief.

Conclusion: I can’t.



So there you have it, my failed attempts at regaining my writing mojo. Here are a few other factors that might be impairing my creativity.




1)Stress

As I stated before, my personal life has taken precedence over everything, and though I like to believe that I handle my stress with a delicate level of poise, my nail beds say otherwise. To make matters worse, at the start of the year I gave myself not one, but two book deadlines to complete in the next twelve months! That means I’m currently two months behind schedule with absolutely no hope of catching up in the near future.

I think stress is extremely common with writers. Whether it’s an impending due date, rejection from others, or our own fear of failure in the shadow of our impending success at completion, it’s all very stressful. This stress suffocates our creativity until we are no longer writing the story for ourselves (something the first draft should always do). Instead, we write for our readers, our deadlines, for Oprah, but never for us or the story itself. A story has somehow manifested inside of you, and given the freedom to breath, it can take on a life of its own. That is the time to write it.

Conclusion: I need to relax.





2)No writing spot.

I think we underestimate the power our environment has on our psychology. I used to go to the Bookend Café every Thursday and spend hours working on my story while sipping on a delicious hemp milk latte. I could be thinking about jet-skiing bulldogs all day, but the moment I set foot in that café, my mind was in my story. The taste of coffee, the smell of buttery scones, soft natural lighting, the babble of voices, a hard wooden chair, everything sent my imagination blazing in one direction. I think it work the same way particular memories are associated with a specific smell. Christmas smells like pine, and summer smells (to me) like Red Bull and foam from the car wash.

When I moved across the state for the first time, I had to retrain my bran to associate my story with a whole new place. My swanky coffee shop turned into a cold library, and it just wasn’t the same. Consequently, I’ve found it that much harder to delve back into the world I created in Boost.

Conclusion: Find a new writing spot to complete the sequel for Boost… or perhaps start a new story in a new spot?





3)Burn out.

It’s probably some sort of cardinal sin associated with the writing community to say this- but, I don’t even like my book anymore. I cringed. I know, I can’t believe it either. Boost was my freakin’ baby! But, somewhere between my fifth and ten millionth reread during the duration of edits, I got really, really, sick of it. I know it’s a good story, but is it even a good book? I mean, looking back I now see that the main character is a bit immature and the writing is only so-so. The weird part is that knowing all this doesn’t even bother me. I can just shrug and, eh, meh…

Have I burnt myself out? As all writers know, a book can be- consuming… to say the least. Imaginary people come alive in your brain and everyday life converts into wash of unwanted tasks that only take away from your true self. Even hygiene becomes an issue because all you want to do is write.

Conclusion: At least my hair is clean. I may start a new story and see if a new set of characters will help give me an extra oomph.





The question remains- am I still a writer? Or have I just become an author with a half-finished series floating around in the great abyss of Amazon eBooks?

I would love to hear from anyone else who is currently having a hard time finding motivation to write. I need advice!


For those interested in checking out my first novel with absolutely no promise of a sequel anytime soon, it can be found on Amazon. Boost: A Haunted Addiction #1


message 2: by Quoleena (new)

Quoleena Sbrocca (qjsbrocca) Here's a link that I keep in my bookmarks: http://flavorwire.com/343207/13-famou...

Some very interesting perspectives and quotes on the subject.


message 3: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) You're not alone on this. After I wrote my first, I started writing a second, but it came out terrible and I threw the whole thing away. I spent the better part of the next 4 years just re-editing and reworking the first, and wondering if I'd ever find that creative spark to do a sequel.

It did come, eventually. Not trying to force it was a key, I think. It went in such a completely different direction than the first attempt that I'm still astounded. Ultimately, mapping out the entire series in a spreadsheet got the creative juices flowing. So this may not help you at all, if you're not writing a series.


message 4: by D.A. (new)

D.A. Paul (dapaul) | 8 comments Joe wrote: "You're not alone on this. After I wrote my first, I started writing a second, but it came out terrible and I threw the whole thing away. I spent the better part of the next 4 years just re-editing ..."

Thank you! I do have a map as to what is supposed to happen in my second book, but haven't been able to really jump in to the scenes... you know?

I'm glad I'm not alone.


message 5: by Kat (last edited Mar 01, 2016 12:33PM) (new)

Kat I hear you, and I clink my coffee mug to yours.

I'm currently not only unable to finish my first draft, I'm even unable to open it. Drawing a complete blank. Wondering if I should scrap the whole thing. I don't even know how the story is going to end, so how could I possibly know what my characters should do next?

I have no advice to offer, but maybe you'll feel a little better just knowing you're not alone!

But yes, we're still writers!


message 6: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) D.A. wrote: "Thank you! I do have a map as to what is supposed to happen in my second book, but haven't been able to really jump in to the scenes... you know?

I'm glad I'm not alone.
"


If it helps for me to put it in numbers, I wrote Book 1 in about six weeks back in 2009. I didn't start the second version of the sequel until 2014. Sometimes it takes a lot longer than we expect or would like.

But at least you have a blueprint. Poke away at it. Write a funny scene, some witty dialogue between the characters. Listen to what they have to say, and see if they'll lead you instead of the other way around.

Good luck!


message 7: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) D.A. wrote: "I wrote a book.

Please, hold your applause.

It took up the better half of three years, but it was the most rewarding challenge I have ever faced. I even had the audacity to get that sucker publis..."


1. Physical exercise. Whenever I have writer's block, or my mojo isn't flowing well, I go walk at the local rec center with my favorite music playlist in my earbuds. The story ideas start flowing like honey, and my characters vie for attention in my head, to the point I'm bombarded with ideas. Have you tried that?

2. Daydream. That's another kickstarter. Daydream your stories; daydream your characters. Get inside their heads and their hearts.


message 8: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Eyre (rachaeleyre) | 194 comments No, you're absolutely not alone in this! The longer you spend on a book, the further you have to fall. Perhaps it's your psyche taking a well deserved rest but it's frustrating and even frightening when it happens.

All I can say is: hang in there. Write when you feel inspired, not before. There are other outlets even if a book's off the table - blogs, say, or short pieces. Even if these never see the light of day it's still helping you to find joy in your craft again. There's nothing more anti creative than thinking "I must do this."


message 9: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Looks like you're getting lots of good advice here. And what's the worst that happens? You take a long break between books? The point is, to have fun doing it.
I mean, if reading is escaping reality, then writing it is creating it, and your life sounds hectic. Creating takes a lot of work, and hectic times can suck that energy away. Just don't stress it, you'll get back to it eventually.


message 10: by Ken (last edited Mar 01, 2016 01:19PM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I had two books in mind when I started writing again, and my second book was finished and published about a year after my first. It was easy. Then I started thinking about a third book. No ideas, imagination dried up, and I had nothing. I started to write a sequel to my first book, but after a few opening scenes, it went nowhere. I started thinking about a sequel to my second book. I had some ideas, but nothing concrete, nothing I could sink my teeth into. Then I started reading some H. G. Wells stories I'd never heard of before. One of them I loved, and it gave me a plot and a format I could use for one story line in the sequel to my second book. I started writing it, and it went well. I'm currently following the second story line in the same book, and letting it go where it needs to, and where it will. It keeps me writing, and I have a prologue and nearly two chapters written already. I now have something to sink my teeth into and gnaw at.

The moral to this story? If you can't write, read. Find a story that inspires you. Maybe you can write a variation to that, or maybe it'll inspire something completely original. Above all, don't feel pressured. Let it come naturally, and ferment in your mind until it works itself into a spark of an idea.

If you love to read, and you love to write, do both, and something will happen.


message 11: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Standafer | 57 comments D.A. wrote: "I wrote a book.

Please, hold your applause.

It took up the better half of three years, but it was the most rewarding challenge I have ever faced. I even had the audacity to get that sucker publis..."


Ugh. I feel your pain. My first novel was a breeze. I enjoyed the process, the ideas and words flowed, and it all seemed so utopian. Looking back, part of this was due to the fact that no one other than my husband knew I was writing a book. Read: zero pressure.

Book two went fairly smoothly, it took a bit longer but the ideas were still there. I still enjoyed the process.

Enter book three. I can't seem to get through it, can't even seem to figure out where it should go, and at times the thought of sitting down to work on it has me feeling ill. I would say I'm about two thirds of the way through, but definitely not thrilled with what I have. Now, granted, my life has been in a bit of a turmoil with accidents to both my son and husband that required surgeries and for my son especially, a great deal of therapy. Obviously, that's where the majority of my energy has been directed. Still, I'm fighting a plain old lack of interest.

Since two books have already been published and it's the third in the series that is in progress, there's far more pressure now than there was in the beginning. I guess it's a good thing, but sometimes I get tired of saying, "Oh, it's coming along, should be done soon." Lies, plain and simple.

And finally, just because things haven't been crappy enough, my computer crashed two days ago and I've been quoted around $1000 to retrieve the data. Yes, that data includes everything I've written so far on book three as well as all the notes I've been typing whenever some sort of inspiration strikes. Don't bother telling me the importance of backup. I already know I'm an idiot. And I'm trying really hard not to take the demise of my computer as some sort of sign.

So, I wish I had magic words for you but, sadly, I don't. Just know you're not alone. For me, I'm trying to focus on how much I enjoyed writing books one and (mostly) two and hoping that feeling comes back. Good luck to you.


message 12: by Martin (new)

Martin Wilsey | 447 comments I believe the cause of writers block is waiting for the muse. Screw that. Forget the muse. Here is what I do:

1) Decide to do it.

2) I start with a legal pad and begin with one sentence made with this formula: When [INCITING INCIDENT OCCURS], a [SPECIFIC PROTAGONIST] must [OBJECTIVE], or else [STAKES].

3) Then I do it in three sentences that depict three acts.

4) Then ten sentences, nine acts and a denouement.

5) That expands to a two page chapter outline.

6) That expands to a 15 page scene outline.

7) A character name/profile sheet is also created with the outline.

8) Enter that outline in Scrivener.

9) Put the flesh on the bones hammering out a first draft without going back to edit or revise EVER (it's a trap)

10) Poof. You have a novel...

This process takes me about 12 weeks total If I write my standard 10 hours a week.

It's proof against writers block for me.


message 13: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) I don't think there is an edict saying you have to write more than one book to be a writer. I don't think you even have to write one book. Or publish it. But you have done that. You are a writer.

Do you want to write more? Why do you want to write more?

Why don't you want to write more?

You had the time, energy, and motivation to write a 1302 word post detailing why you can't write. So I don't think you're blocked from writing. Maybe what you think you need to write isn't what you want to write. Or maybe you don't want to write and just think that you should.

What do you think?


message 14: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
P.D. wrote: "I don't think there is an edict saying you have to write more than one book to be a writer. I don't think you even have to write one book. Or publish it. But you have done that. You are a writer.
..."


P.D. comes in and drops the mic.


message 15: by C.B., Beach Body Moderator (last edited Mar 01, 2016 02:31PM) (new)

C.B. Archer | 1090 comments Mod
This is something I want to point out, it may seem condescending, but honestly it isn't. I completely mean this:

For someone that is having writer's block, that was one heck of a long post about it.

It was 1302 words long. It was the length of a few blog posts, or about 1/4 of a full short story.

I think you are looking at it through the wrong camera lens.

Edit: P.D. is of the same mindset as me it seems!


message 16: by Chikamso (new)

Chikamso Efobi (cheexy) | 92 comments P.D. wrote: "I don't think there is an edict saying you have to write more than one book to be a writer. I don't think you even have to write one book. Or publish it. But you have done that. You are a writer.
..."


My thoughts exactly.


message 17: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
C.B. wrote: "This is something I want to point out, it may seem condescending, but honestly it isn't. I completely mean this:

For someone that is having writer's block, that was one heck of a long post about i..."


And C.B. comes in and shows it's all a matter of perspective.


message 18: by Reese (new)

Reese Hogan (reesehogan) | 47 comments I'm going to add to what others have said about writing a long post addressing this: the post was written well, grammatically and informatively, but even more importantly, you care enough about this issue to have taken the time to reach out. So despite not finding the passion to work on a sequel right now, you definitely have the passion to write still inside you. Based on the things you wrote, I wonder if burn-out isn't your main problem; you seem worn-out and tired with the sequel you're trying to work on. So my advice would be to write something completely and radically as different as you can get that really reaches out to you and see what happens. My very first novel (only published novel) was a result of doing exactly this from the project I was coming from. I did it because I wanted to try something new and I fell in love with what came out of it. So surprise yourself. The passion's still there, the talent to write is still there, but what you need is a new outlook. I also wouldn't stress about having the sequel to your one published work be your next thing out. Lots of authors publish standalones or publish books in a different series between their main one, and I think there's a reason for that. Everyone needs a break from the same characters and world. Those are my thoughts.


message 19: by G.T. (new)

G.T. Trickle (goodreadscomgttrickle) | 31 comments The moral to this story? If you can't write, read. Find a story that inspires you.

It works! Recently, my inspiration/motivation started to crank because in a recent political town hall meeting a man with terminal cancer asked Hillary what her thoughts were on Death with Dignity. I put aside a novel on this subject because my writers group beat me down with "Who wants to read about death?" For a long time I've had the sense that Death with Dignity would be a hot topic. And now, here it was being brought to nationwide attention.

I'm about to hit the publish button for my second novel but I'm hoping my energy level doesn't take a nose dive forcing this unfinished novel to the back burner again.

FYI -- Juror 1389: Dorsie Raines Renninger was inspired by the verdict in the Casey Anthony case which was followed worldwide.
P.S. Meditation is an excellent way to tap into your creative muse.


message 20: by M.L. (last edited Mar 01, 2016 03:50PM) (new)

M.L. | 1102 comments We've all seen credits after someone's name, for example, actress, author, screen writer, director, poet. Someone may do all those things, but not all at the same time. So yes, you are a writer. If you don't feel like writing now, then take a break, don't beat yourself up about it. Writing should not be punishment. Give yourself permission to do something you enjoy.


message 21: by Martin (new)

Martin Wilsey | 447 comments Why is the label important at all? Just have fun with it!


message 22: by Charles (new)

Charles | 148 comments Many years ago, in Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits, Robert Townsend made the statement, "If you're not having fun, you better be making so much money you don't care." Well, writing is not a way to make so much money you don't care, so if you're not having fun writing right now, just read, read, read, until you feel the spirit move you to write again. Don't make yourself do something you "should"-- have fun.


message 23: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Martin wrote: "Why is the label important at all? Just have fun with it!"

Heck I agree with that. I have published two books and I still don't consider myself a writer. I never did.

Things in my life slowed down my writing, or should I say brought it to a screeching halt, but I still consider writing again as soon as it will come back to me, so to answer your question?

You wrote a book. The title of writer is not important. Mojo is gone? It's still with you. It's not something you can shake easily. I'm confident. It'll come back.


message 24: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments Martin wrote: "Why is the label important at all? Just have fun with it!"

I like to tell people I'm an Author, and then follow it up with: "which is just an impressive way of saying "I'm Broke".


message 25: by S.J. (last edited Mar 01, 2016 07:57PM) (new)

S.J. Higgins | 173 comments I think we've all been there at some point. I had a good three month meltdown (ok it might have been longer) where everytime I looked at my laptop I felt panic. I was literally scared of my laptop. My husband eventually told me that I need to forget about everything else and write for me. He reminded me that I used to enjoy writing. Then a very close friend of mine told me to write something completely different and come back to the story that was giving me all the trouble. I followed his advise too and you know what, out of the blue my character started to speak to me again.
I know what you're going through. When writing is your passion it sucks to feel like you've lost your mojo.
My suggestion is write something just for you, that no one will see. I think someone on this group wrote a love letter to their character once, which I thought was a beautiful idea.

As for finding those flowery words, you had me quite entertained reading this post and I mean it, you made me chuckle a few times with your clever comparisons (I'm sorry if chuckling wasn't the response you were going for, but I did and after a terrible nights sleep that's no easy feat.)
Believe me, it will come back. It may be slow going, but it'll come back. Just remember why you write. Why you love it, the feeling you get when you write something and it touches you.

As for not liking your story, I can be quoted as saying "If I have to read this effing manuscript one more time I'm going to make a fire and burn the thing."
I have also told abovementioned friend that I don't particularly like my once beloved character anymore. To be fair he really gave me a hard time and refused to "speak" to me for months.
So I think you'll get your MOJO back, you just need to cut yourself some slack.
Hang in there!
PS abovementioned character and I like each other again. (A little)


message 26: by C.B., Beach Body Moderator (new)

C.B. Archer | 1090 comments Mod
Alternatively, perhaps Dr. Evil stole your mojo. Have you considered international espionage?


message 27: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 263 comments Welcome to the club, and be proud to call yourself a writer. Nobody said it was easy :)

I had an easy time with novel #1 (not counting novel #0 which never got finished) and then started on a sequel. Got stuck. Tried again. Got stuck. Started another story altogether. That one stopped and started three times before I finally worked out how to tackle it to completion. I'm now finally getting back to that recalcitrant sequel after a five year hiatus. So, yeah, you're describing nothing unusual.

As for advice, plenty of good stuff here, and I love that you've tried things and analyzed what does and doesn't work for you. That is key.

My 2 cents to add to the pile: I find I can't write unless I have a clear picture of the scene. If I'm stuck, it's usually because I'm floundering in a fog so I try various things to get that clarity. Plotting, outlining, interview characters to get into their heads, draw plans or maps of the setting, brainstorm plot twists.

In book #2 the technique that got me unstuck was to write mini stories, a few hundred words each, from different characters' perspectives. This helped me bring in awareness of events moving off the main stage and filled in the blanks that were stifling me up to that point.

I just try different tacks to get a grip on the story until something gives and the floodgates open.

Good luck!


message 28: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4285 comments Mod
Lots of good stuff here. I especially agree with P.D. and C.B.

I didn't read every comment, so maybe this has been addressed before, but what I'm getting from your post, D.A., is....

*scratches head* (Are we all going by our initials now?)

...is you think you are not a writer because to you a writer must be this and that and the other thing. I'm looking at the image of you sitting in Starbucks *retch* for hours upon end with your lap top. Is this what you think a writer must be? Sipping coffee in a trendy coffee shop? Sure, I do the same (only I go to a real coffee shop). But, a writer can be a writer anywhere. Maybe I'm taking it wrong, but it seems there's something there.

Do you believe you have to have deadlines to be a writer? You don't. I do give myself deadlines, but they're soft. I allow myself to work on several projects at once. I try to have them done by certain months, but if they don't make it - que so what? so what? For Indie authors, deadlines really only mean anything to one person - the author. If it's causing you stress, don't do it. Write freely and don't worry about when it gets done.

Dear God, I hope writers do not have to like everything we've written. I don't. Oh, I did at one time, sure, but I don't care for some of the things I've written. I wrote tons of stuff before I started publishing. Most of it's lost. And the world is a better place for it. I think this is an indication that you've grown as a writer.

You're still a writer, if that's what you want to be. You wrote something. You're a writer. Maybe next month you'll be back to writing, maybe next year, maybe in ten years. There's no time table on this. No one is going to strip you of the title you earned just because you're not producing anything right now.

Also, you're using the word "fail" a lot. Five times. When we tell ourselves we're failing, we probably will fail. Stop it. You haven't failed at anything.

Give yourself some credit. Find some confidence. Strip yourself of any notions of what a writer must be. You are your own worst enemy. Maybe it's something in the Starbucks coffee.

D.D.


message 29: by Rex (new)

Rex Grainger One of the effective methods I use to kill writer's block is by copying a paragraph or two or more from a published book, preferably in your genre, and then delete and start writing your book. Also daydream as much you can about your characters and the plot. Perhaps you should stop writing for a few weeks and daydream. Be rest assured. We all go through this - one book took me four years to write. Most of those years were spent lying down and avoid writing. Why? I plainly didn't know what to write, but I overcame it by forcing myself to open the laptop and write. Perhaps you need to get inspired again and remind yourself why you're writing. Writing is a very complex thing to do, it isn't easy, but think of the pleasure of overcoming this problem you have.


message 30: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno You've written a long and eloquent post, D.A., amusing even, so there is still a hope.. -:)
Post writing can be a good trouble shooting for you, it seems -:)


message 31: by Mimi (new)

Mimi Marten | 54 comments I agree...., your post was not only eloquent and honest, but it was EFFERVESCENT..., it had fizz and bubbles. I loved it. You evoked a lot of emotions within me, you even made me laugh. You answered a lot of your own questions and got some great advice on this board.

I wanted to tell you that reading saved my life as a child, and writing kept me sane in my adulthood. BUT.... I had years when I couldn't read or write. Now, I can't imagine my life without either. :-)))

I say, don't fight it, go with it..................xoxoxo


message 32: by Owen (last edited Mar 02, 2016 06:20AM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments There is a lot of good input in this thread. As others point out, I think you have clearly shown you're a writer, but you're going thru a frustrating dry spell with a project. I believe this is common.

For myself, I once stopped thinking of myself as writer. I'd dabbled and fiddled with a number of ideas and started some books and they all fizzled. I drifted away from them, and from writing, for about 15 years. Then, a few years ago, I got the kick I needed. I've been writing ever since and I'm happier with my work than I have ever been. As far as my writing goes, those 15 years of "not being a writer" did me a lot of good. All those things I "failed" at back in the 80s and 90s weren't failures at all, just steps on a path.

So it was a twisty path with a long detour. That doesn't matter. Labels don't matter. "Failure" doesn't matter. Stress does matter -- and it can;t be avoided -- but try not to compound it by worrying about "failing" and whether you're a writer or not. Don't worry about and don't try to force it. Let it happen in its time. The results may surprise you.

PS: 3)Burn out.

It’s probably some sort of cardinal sin associated with the writing community to say this- but, I don’t even like my book anymore. I cringed. I know, I can’t believe it either. Boost was my freakin’ baby! But, somewhere between my fifth and ten millionth reread during the duration of edits, I got really, really, sick of it."


If that a cardinal sin, I'm one do the biggest sinners alive. I feel that way a lot. That's not burn out, it's a natural reaction. Give it time and distance and it goes away. There are things you see in it that you aren't satisfied with? I think that's called growth. Go to the "fun thing" for awhile. See where it leads.


message 33: by Pam (new)

Pam Baddeley | 153 comments The subconscious plays a big part in writing, at least if you are a 'pantser' type writer (as I am, don't know how it would affect someone who plans it all out beforehand). The subconscious gives you lots of good ideas/stuff because it likes to play. I think if you start to have a 'must do this' mindset, the subconscious goes on strike.

I once had a very long period of writers' block and the only way things came back was by doing 'free' writing, stuff not for publication, just writing short pieces about random topics. Eventually it was as if a log jam had shifted, and real story ideas started coming through again. I wouldn't advise not doing anything because I followed that advice myself and the 'muse' did not come back - after months of nothing, I did the free writing and that worked for me.


message 34: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments D.A. wrote: "I wrote a book.

Please, hold your applause.

It took up the better half of three years, but it was the most rewarding challenge I have ever faced. I even had the audacity to get that sucker publis..."


I went through a similar experience around 3 years ago (moving across the country, dealing with house selling and buying in two different states, becoming a caregiver, raising a teen, struggling to support my family). The stress was overwhelming and crippling. It left room for nothing else, certainly not writing.

When I finally began to write again, it was a real challenge. I used to feel guilty for not writing, and that made it even worse. What finally worked to get myself "unstuck" was to start writing in a completely different genre. I'm not saying it will work for anyone else, but it may be worth trying.


message 35: by S. (new)

S. Pitt | 16 comments My way through 'writer's block' is to have a quota system where I make myself write a certain amount each day. It may not be any good, sometimes it takes me in completely unexpected directions, often I delete it when I go back through the book/short story, but at least I've written something. Like Pam, I don't plan much and this allows freedom. I think the key thing is not to think about publication or whether what you've written is any good until you come to the editing stage. And okay, I admit it, I've written loads of stuff that's led to a dead end and not been finished, let alone published. The important thing is not to let it defeat you, put it down to experience and try to learn from it.


message 36: by Susan (new)

Susan Stafford | 230 comments D.A. wrote: "I wrote a book.

Please, hold your applause.

It took up the better half of three years, but it was the most rewarding challenge I have ever faced. I even had the audacity to get that sucker publis..."


I can relate as I'm in the same situation trying to write book 3 of my series. Perhaps you can use this post for a new book with a character having this same difficulty and go from there........


message 37: by D.A. (new)

D.A. Paul (dapaul) | 8 comments Thank you so much you guys! This is some great feedback, and I’m so glad I’m not alone!
After reading what everyone had to say, I’ve decided to try the following:
1) Keep a positive mindset and reduce stress in my daily life.
2) No more deadlines! I will try and schedule more writing time into my week, just to refresh my skill, but I’m done with word count.
3) Start something completely new. To be honest, I’ve had a few random ideas for a children’s book (not my usual genre) floating around in my head, but I refused to give them much thought since I’ve been dead set on getting my sequel done. Perhaps I’m a little OCD, but writing books out of order just makes me – ooooh – it makes me itch. I think I will give it a shot anyways. Maybe a new world will help reignite my spark and restore my mojo.

Thanks again everyone!


message 38: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments Hi DA,

I'm glad you have a new plan.

It sounds like you've really had a lot to cope with lately.
Sometimes life needs to come first.
If I was you I'd just take a break, and focus on the life stuff, and make sure that's all happy.

Give yourself a break; you feel like you're putting too much pressure on yourself.

Congratulations on getting book 1 out. It takes a great deal of effort. Bask in that light a while.

I echo others above; you ARE most certainly still a writer given your post here. So please don't panic.

When the time is right the story will flow again.
Your mojo is just taking a well deserved nap ;-)

Love & light,
xx


message 39: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4285 comments Mod
D.A. wrote: "Thank you so much you guys! This is some great feedback, and I’m so glad I’m not alone!"

You had some wonderful responses.

1) I know it's hard to stay positive and stress will always be there. Maybe not being so tough on yourself as a writer will help your writing become a stress reducer. It is for me.

2) Yes, even if you can get out ten minutes of writing a day, it's better than nothing. I used to think I had to do at least two hours a day to be productive and it started to burn me out. Now I just write whenever I get the chance, even if it's just a few minutes.

3) I hope that works for you. I find it works well for me to have several things going at once. I try to keep a variety in my writing, too. It probably won't work for everyone, but maybe it will work for you.


message 40: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno I don't know how it works for others, but I need to have a 'story' (a basic idea of a plot that I kinda like and want to develop) to start writing. Writing for writing or just for the sake of a sequel would have an artificial feeling for me.
So I say, if you have an idea for a children's book, go for it. I'm sure there is a viable treatment for itching -:)


message 41: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 333 comments I'm with Nik. I have to have something I want to tell before I can write. There is no point in writing for the sake of it. For my fiction, I imagine a scene and then start writing it. If there is no scene, I go away and think of one. Also, I don't call myself anything. Others can decide whether I am any good at writing; I just write, and hope others like what I end up with.


message 42: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Mar 03, 2016 12:16PM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4285 comments Mod
I guess everyone has their own method. I write for the sake of it. I can't think of any other reason to do it. I enjoy it. That's the "point of it".


message 43: by Mike (last edited Mar 04, 2016 01:01AM) (new)

Mike Williamson | 19 comments D.A. wrote: "I wrote a book.

Please, hold your applause.

It took up the better half of three years, but it was the most rewarding challenge I have ever faced. I even had the audacity to get that sucker publis..."


I'd go with 2), though not necessarily daily, or trash.
It would be a shame to waste an entertaining, readable style like yours.
Pick something(s) you're interested in and well-informed about (person, baby?, event, future, place, book, sport, writing...) and write some short stories, say, not necessarily for publication. Just get down some facts until the imagination kicks in.
If that doesn't work. I've got some knitting patterns...
Good luck!


message 44: by Tony (new)

Tony Duxbury | 27 comments Write when you are in the mood. Don't try to force it.


message 45: by C. (new)

C. Brown | 62 comments This thread is so long, you may have read something like this. But try writing a screenplay. It's a different set of rules structurally. Newness spawns creativity


message 46: by Sevda (new)

Sevda Khatamian | 8 comments Quoleena wrote: "Here's a link that I keep in my bookmarks: http://flavorwire.com/343207/13-famou...

Some very interesting perspectives and quotes on the subject."


This is one of those links that I would keep for the rest of my life and read it every once in a while.. thanks, it's great.


M. Ray Holloway Jr.   (mrayhollowayjr) | 180 comments E.J. wrote: "Quoleena wrote: "Here's a link that I keep in my bookmarks: http://flavorwire.com/343207/13-famou...

Some very interesting perspectives and quotes on the..."


Well, yes and no. I think the sentiment is not that if you force yourself to keep writing, you are going to create stunning prose worthy of a pulitzer. The idea is that if you get "back in the saddle" so to speak, it will get the creative juices flowing once again so that you can move closer to coming out of your slump.


message 48: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) Orson Scott Card is an exceptionally prolific author. When he says that 'just write through it' is bad advice, I don't think he means stop writing.

He says 'you haven’t solved the problem that caused your unconscious mind to rebel against the story'. That tells me that he doesn't think you should sit around waiting for inspiration, but that there is some work you need to put into solving your block.

If I had a particular problem getting past a scene in one of my stories, and don't know what should happen next, then I need to figure it out. Just abandoning the work won't get me there.


message 49: by Jenycka (new)

Jenycka Wolfe (jenyckawolfe) | 301 comments You are a writer if you want to be a writer.

As far as getting your mojo back, I'd suggest something really small.

Without making this about me, I stopped for the past five months because of a loss in my personal life. It's hard to get back into it. I make myself do a bit each day. I started with 100 words. Then I make it 200 words. And slowly, I can move forward. Writing is as much a habit as it is a passion. The stuff I write on my worst days isn't good, but it keeps me in the habit and the mental discipline of "I must do this."

Hopefully that helps.

Many of us lose our mojo, but eventaully we find that it's still there within is, and we will find it again.


back to top