Nikki Young Writes

How do you keep up your writing mojo?

If there’s one thing that throws me off with my writing, it’s a break in the routine. A week off for the school holidays is fine, but if I leave it any longer than that, it’s much harder to get back in to.

That’s what happened this week. Half term came and went, then the following week (last week), when I should have been getting back to normal, ‘stuff’ happened. You know by ‘stuff’ I mean life in general don’t you? It’s inevitable when you have kids and I had two of them at home on Monday due to an inset day, the eldest off sick on Tuesday and the youngest off sick on Friday.

I had to work from home all week and that was a disaster! I became Queen of finding distractions, whether it was loading the dishwasher, doing some washing, tinkering with my blog, baking biscuits, you name it, I did it. I’m amazed I got any work done at all. What I did miss, though were my Monday and Friday writing slots, which is my precious writing time.

When I first started working from home, I was all over the place – a little bit here, a little bit there and I always put my fiction work to one side for the sake of my paid writing work. Things have settled down now and I have a system in place: Monday and Friday mornings for working on my book, Tuesday to Thursday for my freelance work. I know exactly where I am each day and that suits me just fine. Except, that is, when something happens to rock the boat.

Your children can’t help getting ill and if the school has an extra holiday, there’s nothing you can do. When this does happen and if you lose your writing mojo because of it, you just have to work slightly harder to get it back. My top tips for keeping up with the writing are:

  1. Set a routine – make distinctions between the different types of writing you do, such as blogging and fiction work and separate them, so if you know you are working on your blog on Monday, that’s what you stick to
  2. Know when you can write – if you are juggling between naps or school pick up times etc. make a note of all the writing slots you have and allocate them to a different task
  3. Find a place to work and stick to it – this doesn’t have to be the same place, for example, I write fiction in a coffee shop, as I seem to be productive in that environment. At home, I have a desk in an office, but I don’t always feel inspired to write there and for some reason, I write more prolifically in the dining room! No one goes in there, so I can leave my work scattered across the table
  4. If the routine goes out of the window don’t panic – sit down with a cuppa and plan your following week to start the process of thinking about getting back to writing again. Make notes of plots and story lines, blog post or article ideas, so that you can get to work on them as soon as you have the time again
  5. If all else fails do some reading – read for pleasure and see how other authors are doing it. Remind yourself of why you want to be a writer in the first place and you never know, it may just spark off a new idea

How do you keep up your writing mojo? Got any more tips to add?

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Comments (0)

  1. Emily Organ 9th June 2015 at 9:03 pm

    I can identify with this so much, school holidays and illness means writing goes out of the window. These are good tips and I agree that establishing a routine is important. I think you have to give writing a priority, I sit down and write each day before I do any housework. As a result my house is quite messy a lot of the time but I am starting to allocate Fridays as a kind of ‘get everything else done’ day when I tidy up and sort things out. I know that if I let small chores get in the way, they’ll take up all my time.

    • Nicola Young 10th June 2015 at 2:45 pm

      Definitely. Chores can be a never ending task, so it’s good to put them aside for wirting time. Doing writing first is a good idea, because once you get distracted with other things, before you know it you’ve run out of time. The school day isn’t very long is it?

  2. sophieblovett 9th June 2015 at 11:50 pm

    I feel like I’ve been trying all these things on a loop recently as my writing mojo has been nowhere to be found! It is *slowly* creeping back though, so I might be getting there… I’ve had to change tack a little – I was finding a million (quite valid) reasons not to work on old or new novels, so instead I’m going to spend some time playing around with short stories. It feels so good to be writing fiction again, even if it’s not quite what I’d planned! X

    • Nicola Young 10th June 2015 at 2:46 pm

      I think starting on new stuff and just for fun is another good way of getting back in to it. You don’t want to end up feeling as though writing is a chore and you need to remind yourself why you love doing it in the first place.

  3. Rachael 10th June 2015 at 12:22 am

    Oh yes, it’s all about routine isn’t it? And location’s important to me too. I do freelance stuff and might draft some blog posts in my office, but fiction and especially poetry, usually comes to me when I’m out and about, notebook in hand.

    • Nicola Young 10th June 2015 at 2:47 pm

      It’s funny how different places can spark different sorts of creativity. I’ve got so used to the hum and buzz of a coffee shop, that I find it difficult to concentrate on ficiton works when it’s deadly silent!

  4. maddy@writingbubble 10th June 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Great tips Nicola and I know the feeling of losing the routine and then the mojo following suit. I can almost fall out of the habit of writing sometimes when other stuff knocks me off track. I think I could do with planning my time a bit more as I do have a tendency to just wing it and hope that somehow things fall into place. I probably waste time by not focusing a lot. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting, you may just have motivated me to get sorted! x

  5. redpeffer 11th June 2015 at 10:03 am

    I like the ‘if all else fails do some reading’ especially. It’s what I’m doing a lot of at the moment because ‘stuff’ keeps getting in the way here too. It does make me feel better, especially now I feel I’m reading with a writer’s hat on, if that makes sense?

  6. morganprincecom 15th June 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Great advice Nicola. It is so hard to stick to routine when you have kids, especially little ones. I’m lucky that both my boys are in full-time school but even that can go wrong at times. Thanks for sharing. xx

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