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Four tips to defeat your writing funk

Sometimes my brain circuitry feels like it’s got a short in it. It went on vacation and left me home. Or it’s buzzing and I just can’t settle down. Or, I’m just stumped about what direction I should go with a story or poem.

Has this ever happened to you? If so, consider trying a few of these strategies.

1. Change tools. If you’re tapping out your sentences on your computer, pick up a pen or pencil and write by hand in a notebook. For that matter, some people enjoy typing on an actual typewriter.

2. Step away from the computer and read the newspaper. Okay, maybe you don’t subscribe to the newspaper. Once when I was teaching a creative writing class to middle-school kids, they thought it was tremendously funny when I brought newspapers to class so they could do Newspaper Blackout. They all launched into imitations of their grandparents reading the newspaper. Made me feel old. So if you don’t have a newspaper in your house, I dare you to go buy one. Sure you can read it online, but that would defeat the purpose of stepping away from the computer. Some story angle or idea just might spring forth. If you really want to get crazy, buy a copy of the “National Enquirer.”

3. Do something really uncomfortable with one of your characters. Sometimes writing resistance is resistance to raising the stakes in your story. Pick a character and plan something surprising for her. Take her in an unexpected and risky direction. Let the action take a turn for the worse. Go outside your comfort zone by making your characters go outside their comfort zones.

4. Quit trying to write and go read a book. I find so much inspiration in reading even if the book I’m reading is a completely different genre than the type of writing I’m doing. For that matter, poetry is a great way to fuel writing. A phrase or idea inspires me, or my subconscious is finally able to work out what I need to do because I quit over thinking what I was working on.

No matter what strategies you use to get back on track, the key is to find a way to put yourself back in your story world. Get out of your critical mind and into your abstract writing mind. Do you ever find yourself in a writing funk? What do you do to get out of it?

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. My most common way of fighting the writing funk is to go and do something more physical, whether it’s a walk, a trip to the gym or just some housework. It makes my brain work in different ways an gets a bit more blood pumping while my writing concerns buzz away in my subconscious, working themselves out.

    January 16, 2014

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