Laura's response can be found here, and Lydia's response is here.
The thing about mojo ... it's all about your thoughts--both the ones you can access and the ones you can't.
|Mojo Jojo says, "Now, if you'll excuse me, |
I have a manuscript to take over."
Nonstop MOJO is just not possible. Even if you're the type who writes every day, some days are going to be ON, and some days are gonna suck in any number of ways, for any number of reasons. Sometimes you might have a number of days like that in a row.
When that's happening, you have two tasks:
- Let your brain do what it needs to in order to get you ready for that next blast (or trickle or flow or whateva--we're all different) of productivity. Let things churn. Be at peace with the churning.
- While your ideas are churning, DO NOT fall victim to your Sneaky Brain (my post about what it can do to a querying writer is here, and my post about how to put it in its place is here).
What interferes with this awesome process are those thoughts from your Sneaky Brain. You know the ones.
- This isn't churning; this is writer's block. You have it. You. Have. Writer's. Block. Writer's! Block!
- You will never have another good idea again. And that's because you suck. No, really. You do.
- This is the only book you'll ever write, and if you don't figure this out, your writing career is OVER.
- You see all those other writers out there? They've had ten ideas in the time it's taken you to polish off that plate of onion rings.
- Your brain is flat and you've just reached the edge of it. Prepare to fall into the abyss of NO MOJO!
Now imagine your poor, brilliant brain, churning away, and then WHAM! It gets attacked by these sneaky thoughts. It's like throwing a rock in those gears.
Knowing that, this is what I try to do, and it's what I'd tell anyone who asked: When you have times when you're less productive, or not productive at all, let it happen.
Don't panic. Let things churn. Just because it doesn't feel like something's happening doesn't mean there's nothing happening. Sometimes it means the opposite.
But when you get sucked in by the Sneaky Brain's shenanigans, it gets harder to relax and let yourself go along. You get anxious. You get depressed. And those gears might get gummed up--you might end up sabotaging yourself, and your churning could turn in to a full-on slump. So you have to kick those sneaky thoughts away--don't let them interfere with whatever your brain is doing to get you back on track.
Concretely, here's what I do when I have no ideas, when I feel uninspired, and when the words are not flying from the tips of my fingers: I read. I open my eyes and pay more attention to the world. (I read) I listen more carefully. I reach out to my friends. (I read some more) I listen to music. I try to relax, and I remind myself my brain is churning, and that it's a pretty good brain, and that, when it's ready, I'll be ready, too.
On a related note, Kim Harrington, the author of CLARITY, had an excellent post on writer's block this past Monday (and she quoted me, which made me blush and go all giggly). She has thoughts on how to push through tricky writing problems by having a quiet mind.
What about you? When you lose the mojo, how do you think about it? Are you prone to panic or peace? If you've recovered from a time of mojolessness, how did you do it? Do you think you've ever made a patch of mojolessness longer by falling victim to the Sneaky Brain?
Oh! And while you're here, please enter my id's giveaway so it doesn't give me a headache with all its whining. What's in it for you: a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card or a 10-page crit, your choice. You have until tonight at midnight (EST) and winners will be announced Friday--when I'll also start answering some of your fabulous questions!