How To Break Out Of a Writing Funk
Okay, so you’ve heard of writer’s block. But a writing funk? What’s that? And how is it any different from writer’s block?
Here’s my take on writer’s block vs. a writing funk and what to do if you suffer from the later. But let’s say you’re working on a project and, in general, things are going okay, then you wake up one morning to discover you’ve lost all enthusiasm for writing. Nothing sounds interesting. Nothing seems to cause you to want to write. You can’t bring yourself to get back to your writing project at hand. And you can’t bring yourself to write anything else either. Now you’re not just suffering from writer’s block, you’ve gone beyond that to falling into a full-fledged writing funk. And, if that’s the case, try the following to get back on track: First, if you’ve fallen into a writing funk, it means you just can’t seem to muster any enthusiasm to write about anything…zilch…zero…nada! A writing funk differs in that way from writer’s block because, generally, writer’s block means you’re having trouble with something specific you’re writing and the words just won’t flow. You’ve come to a standstill with that project. And no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to move ahead with it. Suddenly just about any other topic or project seems more interesting than the one you’re working on, and you start to get ideas for all kinds of new short stories, articles, books, etc. Writer’s block can occur when you’re working on an article, an essay, a writing assignment for a business client, and especially when you’re writing a book.
1. First, don’t try to write ANYTHING for a few days. Just give into the funk. But only for a few days. During this time, do anything BUT write. See some movies, read some books, eat out with your friends. Don’t even TALK about writing.
2. Next, after you’ve had a few days to forget about writing, take time for a little reflection. Ask yourself if there is some aspect of your writing career that you’re fearful about. Have you recently completed an assignment or written a book and now you must face the possibility that either the client won’t like the work or you won’t find a publisher for your manuscript? This fear can be paralyzing. And you can fear success just as much (or even more, in some cases) than you fear failure, and this will cause you to fall into a deep writing funk. Try to journal about this. It will get you writing again and also get you to face your fears.
4. Make a list of all the reasons you became a writer in the first place. What attracted you to this profession (or hobby)? Simply listing all these reasons in a notebook will remind you of all the wonderful aspects of living the writer’s life and may lift you out of your writing funk at this point.3. Review your writing schedule. If you worked at a regular day job out among many other people for a large part of your life, and now you’re a full-time freelance writer who works in a home office all alone all day, you may just be lonely and in need of some interaction with other people. Take a look at your workday schedule and incorporate one or two regular activities outside your home office that will get you out among the world on a regular basis. Take an exercise class several times a week or join a book group at a local bookstore, or volunteer at a local shelter or agency. Just be sure you choose something you will enjoy and look forward to, and don’t schedule too many activities like this each week or you won’t have enough time for your writing.
Finally, realize that most writers find themselves in a writing funk from time to time, and this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a writer. You’ll eventually work your way out of this writing funk and get back on track to the writing–and the writer’s life– that you love.