How to Get Yourself Out of a Writing Funk
I hate the term writer's block. I do not believe that you can be stuck and not think of anything to write. Especially considering how many tools there are available to help get you out of it: writing prompts, Facebook support groups, etc. I prefer writer's funk, and it's a deep dark place to find yourself in, one that many cannot dig themselves out of.
The statistics about bloggers are staggering. Most bloggers don't last more than a year and given my deep dive into the world of professional blogging, I can see why!
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When I decided to turn this little hobby blog into more of a real thing, I had no idea how much work was involved in writing, promoting, and maintain the blog. Posting one blog can take me up to four or five hours, including designing graphics for Pinterest, promoting it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, through my subscriber's mailing list, and everything in between.
So it's no wonder that in the three short months of going full speed as a mom blogger, I would hit a wall. Coupled with the most substantial client load I've had yet, and a vacation to Florida to visit family, I needed to stop blogging for a hot minute and place my blog on a forced hiatus.
If you’re reading this and have found yourself in a writer’s funk as well, here’s a few ways I’ve been able to dig myself out it and get back to doing what I love.
Lean Into a Writing Funk Break
I had intentions of writing and posting a blog on the plane on our way to Florida. Our kids are old enough now that they can thoroughly be entertained by the splurge that is a marathon of hours of TV on a plane. And it was a five-hour flight, so I thought for sure I could post at least one blog! However, the Wifi wasn't working which meant I couldn't access my Google Docs and all the tools I use to create a blog.
It felt almost like the universe was saying, GIRL, BREAK!
So I did.
I watched two movies on the plane.
I didn't open my laptop the entire six days we were in Florida. Not writing and posting the whole time I was in Florida made me feel anxious but also felt like such a relief.
My hubby and I had a date almost every single day, sitting on the porch of our rental house drinking coffee or whiskey while the boys watched a show, or napped, or played with the limited toys we had.
It was the most relaxed I’ve felt in months.
When I used to work as a reality TV producer, my jobs/shows would run anywhere from a few months to a few years if I was lucky. But inevitably, the push and pull and intensity of the show would get to me at some point, and I would find myself physically wrapped in blankets sitting on the couch, marathoning something (it almost didn't matter what) on Netflix and checking out of life.
Laundry would pile up. Dishes wouldn’t get done.
My husband nicknamed it my “cocoon” time, both because of how it looked and also because of how I would inevitably emerge refreshed, rested, and ready to tackle the next challenge, like a god damned beautiful butterfly.
I realized while we were in Florida that I’ve been going full speed into this career adjustment from TV to work-at-home-writer. And in the past seven months, I haven't taken a single break.
I even get up at 5 AM on some weekend days to write both for clients and for myself. I'm grateful for all of it. And I love writing so much that it never feels like work. But, it is work. It's all work. Even when I love doing it.
Cocoon your life, bitches. Get yourself to butterfly status again.
Write Something, Anything
Send large text messages to your best buddies. Write long personal notes in a birthday card. Take the pressure off of yourself to write an actual blog post, but write nonetheless.
While we were on our vacation, I found myself writing mini-blogs on my Instagram account. It was a relief not to have to write a full blog, go through the process of SEO, of sourcing photos, of grammar checking it, of all the steps it takes for me to post a blog.
Instead, I just wrote and posted, like old times. I also found myself telling mini-stories through the story function on Instagram that also felt creative and fun, something that I'd lost in the blog somewhere.
Keeping my toe in the water helped me feel less disconnected from the creative process. I know I've become a better writer in the past several months. I can see my writing improve with each new freelance assignment. I'm fast, I'm efficient, and I enjoy doing it, and I think that shows. But I'm not naive to believe that it doesn't take regular, regimented practice.
I liken this creative connection to exercise: It's okay to give your muscles a break, but keep them moving so that they don't entirely forget what it's like to be active and healthy.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “ Big Magic” has also been an enormous source of inspiration for me in all of my creative endeavors lately. I've re-read it three times in the past several months and each time I find new insight that helps me continue to write.
If you're in a funk, I highly recommend giving it a read. You can download a copy to your Kindle or Audible, or get the good old-fashioned hard copy all by clicking on this link here: https://amzn.to/2uw8UeB
Adjust Your Expectations for Writing
It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of starting and promoting a blog. The initial highs of positive feedback can give you a burst of adrenaline and excitement. But this fades. And it’s all replaced by the sometimes grueling reality of the work that needs to be done to maintain and build upon all of that momentum.
In my time off, I’ve reflected a lot on what my expectations were, and how I can adjust them to be more realistic and hopefully avoid burnout in the future.
I'm playing with the idea of only sending emails to my subscribers when I have something significantly new or different to say, for example, that is different than from just a recap of my blogs. I've also played with the idea of not even sending emails at all! (gasp!!!)
Just Keep Writing
Just like Dory says in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming.”
Show up. Do the work. Write something, anything. It almost doesn’t matter what it is. Don’t wait for inspiration to find you, find inspiration by showing up at your fucking desk and typing some words on the page.
This entire blog post was my own personal, “Show up and do the work,” moment. So thank you for reading it and indulging my creative process.
It sucks to find yourself in a writing funk. But it can also be a transformational moment, to take you from one point in your process to a new, better way of doing things, of being, and of creating.
In a writing funk? Tell me about it below. Let’s support each other and help get back on track, shall we?
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