Monday, September 19, 2011

10 Ways to Get Out of Your Writing Funk

Week of September 18: Writer, Examine Thyself
Monday, September 19—10 Ways to Get Out of Your Writing Funk

1. Stop and start. Chances are if you are feeling stuck, you just might be. Stop that piece you can’t seem to finish, or the one you keep revising, and start something new. The break may be a breakthrough in terms of a new manuscript and in terms of giving your brain some breathing space.

2. Reread your five favorite picture books. Pull out your favorite picture books (or go check them out). Sit in a comfy chair with a glass or mug of your favorite beverage. Then read each book aloud. Stop to savor each word. Find anew the joy of these books.

3. Type up the text of your five favorite picture books. Yes, you’ve done this before, no doubt. But do it again. Typing up the text allows you to feel the flow of a manuscript, the pacing, the forward momentum, the plot building and building to the climax, and more. Let your fingers feel the text, let your eyes see the text, and read aloud as you’re typing so your ears can hear the text again.

4. Go be around kids. You’re writing for kids, right? So get up and go be with them. In the process, you may find some inspiration and you certainly will find some distraction. Volunteer at your local library, public school, church, temple, or synagogue. Be aware, that most organizations that work with children require a background check. Don’t worry, it’s just part of the process.

5. Go walk the book aisles. Go to your local library and/or your favorite book store and walk through the picture book aisles. Most often books are alphabetized by authors’ last names. Find the slot where your books will sit when published. Put your hand in the space where your books belong and say to yourself, “This is where my books will be. This is why I’m writing.”

6. Look through your file of manuscripts started. Many times when I feel stuck on a project, I go back and scroll down through my saved files of pieces I’ve started. Often I find something I’ve completely forgotten and I reread the piece and go at it again. Starting to work on something in the middle is much easier than starting with a blank screen.

7. Get out of the house and do something fun. A funk may just mean you need a break. Walk the dog. Go to the park. Do some retail therapy. Tour a museum. Play bingo. Go to the track. Whatever gives you enjoyment may refresh you and restore your writing energy.

8. Talk about it. Find someone who actually cares (for me it’s my dog, Baxter) and moan and groan, whine and complain, cuss and discuss until you have expressed your feelings enough to move on. Note: This approach rarely works when chatting with a non-writer.

9.Change your writing location. Take your computer out on the deck. Set up a new workspace on the kitchen table. Find one of the many coffee shops or restaurants with free Wi-Fi and grab a cup of coffee as you work. Often a new space brings with it new energy.

10. Use Funk-be-gone Spray. Head to the store and buy your favorite scent of room-freshening spray. Make a label that reads FUNK-BE-GONE SPRAY. Slap the sticker on the can of spray. Any time the ole Writing Funk rears its ugly head, spray a liberal dose of FUNK-BE-GONE around your work area. Yes, it’s silly. But trust me when I say that the silliness of this act will get you out of your funk!


Leslie said...

Hmm, I've not tried Funk-Be-Gone Spray. What scent is particularly energizing without reminding you that it's time to clean the bathrooms? :-)

Rob Sanders said...

Something with an exotic name like . . . Ocean Breezes or Island Paradise. But always avoid the one called A Night in New Orleans!

Leslie said...

OK! How about you send me a bottle of Pass-a-grille air? I miss it... :-)

Rob Sanders said...

I'm in need of a Pass-a-grille fix myself! If I get lesson plans, blog, and writing camp prepared ahead of time, maybe I can go this weekend!