Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG: Brain Freeze

It's Insecure Writers Support Group day! Yay! A day for writers to pour out their insecurities to other writers, the only people who know how their feeling and can really help.

Thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating the IWSG, and for just generally being awesome. A better person this writing community could not find.

Also, big thanks to Alex's cohosts this month, Krista McLaughlin, Kim Van Sickler, Heather Gardner, and Hart Johnson!

Here's the problem, I know I should be writing but I'm not. I'm grumpy when I don't write, and happy when I do. I know this. And yet. . . Some days I just can't seem to motivate myself to get started. There are kids running around me all day being loud and needing stuff, you know, like lunch. And come evening I'm exhausted and just want to hang out with my husband and watch Law and Order.

So. . . how do I regain my focus? My drive? Actually, sometimes driving helps. I can't listen to music while I write, but listening to music in the car often times gets my creative juices flowing. In the car my characters start having conversations in my head. Don't know why, but it's true.

The other thing that helps is just freaking doing it. Just forcing my "butt in chair." Rereading the last scene I wrote and then writing what happens next. Usually the transition is awful, I don't know what I want to say so it all comes out crap. But then something happens and the characters take over and things start to come more easily. (And going back and fixing the crappy parts is what revisions are for, right?)

How about you? Do you ever get in writing funks? What do you do to get out of it?

PS. I want to apologize for having turned Captcha back on. I know it's a pain, but I've been getting a ridiculous amount of spam. Mainly for things pertaining to a piece of anatomy I don't even have. So I'm going to turn it back on for awhile. Sorry for the inconvenience. :(


  1. I get in writing funks too from time to time, usually when something has kept me from my writing desk for a few days. Children are also a constant distraction. The only way I have found success is to get up before everyone is up and write for a bit. That helps me focus and get back in the habit of daily writing.
    I get great writing ideas in the car too. I use the audio notes feature on my phone to dictate snippets of dialogue and plot twists. They sometimes make no sense when I relisten to them, but sometimes they are gems.
    Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

  2. Totally feeling you on this one. I feel so out of sorts when I am not writing. Lately, life has been so crazy I barely get what I need to get done in a day, much less squeeze in some words. And then it makes me cranky.

    Driving is my #2 plot time. #1 is while mowing the lawn while listening to music. (I used to plot while lying in bed, but now I zonk. Ten seconds in...I'm out.)

  3. I'm also struggling to focus while writing, so I set myself a huge goal for Camp NaNo. So far, so good. But with the stress going on in my life, I'm more exhausted than I should be. :-/

  4. Sounds like you need to jam on a long car drive.
    Sorry about the spam. When I switched to no anonymous comments, it eliminated almost all of it.

  5. I get in writing funks all the time. I've tried everything to get out of them, but there is exactly one cure for me: aerobic exercise.

    It's like my curse. I hate the tread mill, and I'm not fond of swimming laps, but in that head space, there's room for the ideas.

    Annoyingly, this connection to aerobic exercise has not had a helpful impact on my waistline, just my word count.

  6. I get in writing funks a lot, too. I like to listen to music in my car, too, or sometimes go for a long walk while listening to music--usually that helps a lot, gets the ideas going.

  7. This happens to me all the time - no joke, every morning on my way to work I have full blown conversations taking place between my characters, which is awesome, but then by the time I get home at the end of the day, I can't remember anything they said! Lately, I'm finding that anything to do with my novel - whether it's just consciously making an effort to think up scenes in the car, or just rereading what I last wrote yesterday - really helps me to get back into focus and start writing again. I also really really want to finish this book, so I think the thought of finally having a finished novel to my name spurs me on too :).
    Happy writing!

  8. I've been in a funk almost constantly lately. I get excited while getting some writing done and I think I'm out of it, only to slip right back into the same annoying funk. Driving helps me too, as does going for walks with my dog in the early morning when it's quiet. Good luck getting out of your funk!

  9. I love it when the characters start talking to you. They have such interesting things to say and great ideas. Sometimes I just sit in front on the computer and stare at the blank screen. Nothing in my head. So I just start typing and see what happens. Often, I delete. Sometimes I keep. You never know. :)

  10. I've been in a writing funk lately too. I think part of it is summer. Both kids that I nanny are out of school and exhausting me with the pool, library, playdates, crafts, and so much more! I've decided that summer is a slower writing time for me since I'm so busy and I'm okay with it. You'll get past it. :)

    I have also found that getting out of my writing funk sometimes requires me to leave my house, lol. I head to my favorite coffee shop and force myself to get it done. :)

  11. Law and Order is one of my favorite shows too; somehow watching Jack McCoy get all fired up over a case makes me feel better. I think I read somewhere that Hemingway often stopped writing when he knew what was going to happen next. That way it was easier for him to continue writing. That's something that I've done too, and it helps.

  12. I love reading this, Rachel! I'm in a total funk and I love hearing how you work through it. :)

  13. GAH!! I must be getting spammed by the same people because dang, I have like a ton of stupid messages that make no sense!! It' so annoying.

    I am in a bit of a funk right now too. I was finally ready to start writing, but then I got slammed by stupid health issues, then I'm in a brain fog and there's no point in me even trying. Rarely can I get myself to be on the same page, head on straight, ideas flowing and the stinking TIME to sit down and do it!

    I am trying to take things easy, not beat myself up over it. I used to get a lot of thinking/dreaming/ideas flowing when I took long road trips. I don't do much driving myself anymore, (same old stupid health issues) however, I think it's a great place to be inspired.

    LOL about the Law & Order. The Hubs loves that show too!!

  14. when i'm unmotivated to work on edits (rereading the same ms over and over!) i take a break and write something else, or look for events to go to, or read, or make some bracelets =) it's okay to take a break. sometimes you need to find other ways to ungrump and then you'll get excited to write again and start a new happy cycle!
    it'll come!

    as for the scene segway... did you leave the last scene with a cliffhanger? can you jolt the reader with an unexpected outcome to it? i have thrown a sneeze into a scene for a tension breaker before. thunder, a phone ringing, a stranger walks by and looks at them funny... just some thoughts =)

    and thanks for commenting on my broken branch falls blog tour!

  15. I don't get in a funk anymore because I've got deadlines and I've had to figure out how to get past the mental silence. For me the biggest problem is time. I'm always up against an impending deadline or pressed by the demands of my family while trying to squeeze in my quota. I think you have to imagine your writing like a pump that has to be primed. Period. You do just have to sit down and get into it, but I think music, exercise and writing prompts really help to get the juices flowing.

  16. Oh, I know how this feels! I often get so overwhelmed by my day that the thought of doing anything creative just exhausts me. But 'butt in chair' really helps, and definitely music. Getting out of the house to a coffee shop or library is also a good trick to help me clear my head.

  17. I can totally relate to this! Forcing myself to do it and listening to music both help. Driving around in the car sounds like a good idea- but that is something I haven't tried. Thanks for sharing!