Hello writing funk, how nice to see you

There are several names for this: writer’s block, writing burnout, writing apathy, la la la.  It may even try to disguise itself as something else: depression, laziness, run-down on the verge of a cold somethin’, blegh…

It doesn’t matter what label you slap on it; the truth is that for whatever reason, the writing is not happening.  Here is where I find myself, despite my best efforts to wrench myself out of this funk over the past week.  Having completed my latest novel a week ago, I am now ready to begin the sequel.  Except I’m not.  The muse is either on strike, sleeping after all that work, or has been kidnapped by smurfs.  I have not received a ransom.

I tried forcing it.  Sunday I sat down and spent the entire day intermittently typing and staring at the wall.  The result was a first chapter, but a short and superficial one at that.  But hey, getting over the first hump is the hardest, right?  So what’s my problem?

Maybe I need to take a break from writing.  I know, I cringe at the thought.  Waste all this valuable time?  Are you crazy?  I’m crazy if I think I can compose anything in my zombie-like state.  I need to recharge, as Trish Elliott’s post Dealing with Writer Burnout suggests.  I’ve relied on writing for so long as my way to stay charged and refreshed, that I forgot the cycle goes both ways.  Writing may be how I “fill my cup,” as Elena Aitken talks about, but how do I fill my writing?

Good question.  I thought maybe I’d take some time for drawing (and try really hard not to feel guilty about it).  Maybe I should dig out a TV series with great writing and just sit back and enjoy, like The West Wing or Castle (and again, try really hard not to feel like I’m wasting precious time).  Maybe I’ll see if some friends want to go ballroom dancing.

Whatever I do, I hope I feel recharged soon.  While I strongly dislike this phase, one can’t ride the high forever, and even the muse needs a respite.

9 comments on “Hello writing funk, how nice to see you

  1. Albert Berg says:

    I think there’s a danger in the pressure we put on writers today, to PRODUCE. Taking a break is not a sin. Some of the best books I’ve ever written were written over a period of ten or so years. I guarantee you all that time wasn’t spent writing. Some of that time was spent thinking. Some of that time was spent resting. Some of that time was spent letting the story percolate.
    So yeah. Don’t feel bad. Let yourself recharge.

    • Yes, there definitely needs to be a balance and rhythm to our activities. One of the reasons this funk is so difficult for me right now is it’s summer and I have all the time in the world. It’s the perfect opportunity to write, and I got nothing. Oh…lightbulb: I have a closet full of jigsaw puzzles I haven’t touched in over a year. This is good…

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Take some time off! Tackle your TBR pile, start an RPG with me, watch Battlestar Gallactica (GREAT writing! I even wrote a post about it it was so good).

    Hmmm, how’d that RP thing get stuck in the middle of that list? Oh well… 😉

  3. wosushi says:

    Creative blocks of any kind are rough. Especially when it feels like we are abandoning our work.

    But I think everything in life needs a “rest cycle”. Some farmers let the “land” rest (didn’t cultivate with the same crop or at all for a season) The result? Better harvests later on. Sure, you can keep planting and sowing instead, but the quality of the crop isn’t as good.

    Yep. I am a city girl attempting to use a farming example. That can’t be good.

    Point being, sometimes we have to deal with a little less creative product briefly so that our creative soil regains it’s awesomeness. Then we can create tastiness. 🙂

    I think I need more coffee.

    • Haha, well it’s a good analogy anyway. The Israelites in the Old Testament took an entire Sabbatical year every seven years, and every fifty years took two years off for Jubilee. Hopefully my “rest cycle” won’t last that long, though.

  4. linda says:

    Oh no! I don’t have much experience with this myself (yet), so, in lieu of advice, just wanted to say good luck on beating the funk!

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