Thursday, February 17, 2011

Getting Out of the Pool of Writing Funk

Have you ever been stuck in a pool of writing funk? You know the feeling...where the universe seems to be conspiring against you and you just get a little down in the dumps when it comes to writing?

I am currently trying to hose off the gunk of the funk as we speak. Now, first of all, I need to point out that it is not my writing that gets me funky. I love writing and most of the time, I really WANT to do it. Only sometimes the funk mires me down so much I just can't.

And sure, when I’m querying and the rejections pour in, it dampens my mood a bit. And mostly because I tend to get those “good” rejections; the ones that say “you are a great writer and this is a great story, it’s just not quite right for us right now.” It’s harder to be that close and not quite make it. My favorite was when one of my dream agents told me “it’s not you, it’s me.” Had me rolling on the ground. Just too funny/depressing. If I ever need to query again, I hope I have a project she loves, because she is just too awesome.

Anyhow, my writing funks tend to happen as a side effect to what is going on in my Real Life. Writer’s block never lasts for long. I just work on something else, or go do a load of dishes. I always get GREAT ideas when I’m doing dishes (which sucks because I HATE doing the dishes) :D But if I’ve been cooped in the house with the kids for months on end with no break, or if I’m stressed over anything else going on in my life, or just not feeling well… Real Life funk spills over into writing territory and becomes (dunh dunh duuuunh) WRITING FUNK.

How do I get out of it? I take a writing break. I read…a LOT. I also load up on romantic and British comedies. Two of my favorite British comedies are the shows Vicar of Dibley and Absolutely Fabulous. I love watching movies like Fools Gold and The Holiday and Pure Luck. When I get in a funk, I want to laugh.

And of course, my wonderful friends are great at pulling me out when I’m about to go under. I start sending out hoards of desperate emails and IM’s. And when things are really bad, I tend to shut down a bit, stay away from everything and everyone, and that is when the hoards of emails and IM’s start coming my way. I don’t know how I ever got through the day without my writing family. They are a true God-send.

I always reach a point where I just tell myself to snap out of it. The break has gone on long enough...time to suck it up and push through :) Time to write :)

How do you get out of the pool of writing funk?


  1. I was in a writing funk until I joined Operation Awesome. Now I'm between writing project and the next step of research is soooo easy to procrastinate...

  2. I can totally relate to the life-causing writer's funk...I'm mired in it now. Especially with WIPs, I prefer big chunks of time to work, but now I have to accept that life isn't going to give me any big chunks of time. At least not for the foreseeable future.

    Also can relate to feeling like I'm always in the "maybe" pile. Be prepared, I've moved from the agent "maybe" pile to the editor "maybe" pile...still no fun.

  3. I know how you feel - about all of this. Querying has put me in a funk as well, and honestly, I'm not sure how to get out of it either. Just keep trying I guess. And keep writing. Let me know if you find a way out! Good luck :-)

  4. I so feel for you! It's been a hard winter and with kids in the house and no real time of your own when you'd like, well, guess one goes with the flow. I think you're doing a great job of assessing what you write. That rejection from the agent who said it was her, not you, can you shop that around? Try not to give up here.

    I read somewhere that Agatha Christie said the best time to outline a book is while washing dishes.

  5. I'm kind of in a writing funk now, but I try to keep myself busy reading and listening to music that usually inspires me. :)

  6. I've been in writing funks before; I usually try getting outside (if possible--it's cold here right now!) or doing something to occupy myself that doesn't take a whole lot of brain power so the story(ies) can stew.

  7. I pray a lot. :) Ahh...I've in that funk right now and my hose is acting funny, so... I know at some point I'll tell myself that I need to quit wasting time and get the writing done that I need (and actually want) to get done. I also blame it on the weather a little...can't wait for spring!!

  8. I tend to wait it out. I'm more stubborn than my muse and I've learned not to beg.


  9. Kittie, I actually do have an agent now - that comment was a little musing from a few years ago when I was querying since I know several people who are querying now and having a hard time :) However, my agent reps my NF work. I haven't turned in any fiction to her yet, so I may need to shop my next novel around.

    My funk at the moment is mostly due to sick kids and a freezing winter :)

  10. Reading is normally my cure as well. For whatever reason, my mind goes to a different place when I'm reading and . . . voila, suddenly the answers appear in my mind. Go figure. Too bad it wasn't that easy with Algebra! Ha! Still, I always find that reading helps clarify whatever was causing the funk.


  11. Ah... the dreaded funk. The rejections definitely don't help much with that, do they? I too, turn to books for inspiration, and movies as well. Both tend to shut the writing part off for a while, which usually results in my brain deciding to turn back on.;)

    Also - I HATE DOING DISHES TOO! There must be something about the monotonous scrubbage that helps our brains gear back to writing!


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