I don’t know about you, but my writing mojo has been on hiatus for the past few years. I want to be writing and coming up with creative idea after idea, but I haven’t had the focus and motivation to make it happen as much as I’d like. I’ve been hearing similar things from writers I know.
What’s the issue? I think collectively there’s just been too much to worry about. On top of typical life issues, the pandemic has consumed our thoughts, added additional stress to the logistics of our lives, and resulted in social separation that’s left people with a dwindling well of inspiration. But things are changing, life is changing, and writing mojo doesn’t just disappear . . . it hangs on, waiting to return.
Many of us have been doing what we can the past few years to keep that spark going—Zoom writer’s groups and other virtual meetings. And now we can do more and more out in the world. So, what has been working for writers? Here are some tips from myself and a few MUF bloggers on filling up your creative well and getting back to your writing self again.
Tip #1. Get out there, get physical, get lost.
Writers spend too much time in their heads. And if worry is filling it, there’s not much room for much else. One way to make some space for inspiration is to get out of your head and into nature. Walking has always been healing and inspiring to me. I like to get lost for a while, occupy my mind on the route ahead, and focus on my surroundings. I notice life a little better and my head clears so that it can wander. Trying another kind of art helps too, one that is more physical than writing. I’ve been trying some macrame lately and getting out into the garden. It opens up the writing part of my mind. When it can wander, new writing ideas have space to wiggle in.
Tip #2. Connect with community again.
If you’ve been avoiding book and writing events for a while, like many of us have, start venturing out again. Being with others in the writing community is such an inspiration. Volunteering to help with book-related events can help spark that excitement us writers have about what it is we love. There are likely many outdoor events in your community now that the weather is nicer. See what you feel good about attending and then start connecting again. Or start a book-related event yourself—maybe a free children’s book table at your local farmer’s market. Talk with people about children’s books. See how books affect their lives.
A friend of mine mentioned The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron the other day. If you haven’t heard of it, it contains exercises, activities, and prompts to cultivate your creativity. Having a structured method to explore creativity may be the right way for you to get back on track with writing.
MUF blogger Dorian Cirrone also had some thoughts on what’s been keeping her writing mojo alive:
Two things have kept me writing during the pandemic. The first has been reading. During these past couple of years, I’ve become a voracious reader of suspense fiction in order to escape reality. And with each book I’ve read, I’ve gotten ideas on how to enhance my own writing, which is always exciting to me.
The other thing that has kept me going is watching webinars on writing. I’m amazed at how many fantastic free or low-cost webinars and videos are available to writers. I know a lot of people have webinar fatigue, but I’ve found many that have been inspiring. Here are a few sites to explore:
MUF blogger Heather Murphy Capps offered these thoughts on what motivates and inspires her:
It’s been such an up and down time for writing during this upside down time in our lives … and I have loved reading about other ways of filling the creative well. Here’s what usually gets me excited to write or try out new ideas:
- Read the newspaper! I know—that seems counterproductive given the dumpster fire of a world we’re living in. But I want to remind everyone that there’s more to the paper besides the front page. Scientists are discovering black holes, advice columnists are still advising people on how to deal with families and friends, sports teams are still doing amazing things—especially local small teams and high school sports.
- Listen to the radio! Listen to MOTH radio and StoryCorps on Fridays on NPR. If you’re like me, you will inevitably cry (!!) but you will also be rejuvenated listening to stories of real people and they often spark ideas about what your fictional people might do or want or think.
- Watch bad television! I love watching television, I’ll admit it. And one of the benefits from television is it allows me to turn off my analytical brain and just feel or react … which often spurs ideas. I am not often a person who does subtitles or artsy television— I like it, but I find that serialized drama is a great way to just relax my brain. And then the ideas come, which is a beautiful thing.
- Finally, and I know people say this all the time, but I do definitely think that getting into quiet and nature is a foolproof way to spur creativity again. Being quiet and observing beauty and not being required to interact with the world ALWAYS helps free up my brain.
Hope these ideas help get you off your writing hiatus. It’s still a work in progress for me, but I’m trying. What’s worked for you? Please share some of your tips in the comments below!