Where has my writing mojo gone?

by | Jan 25, 2016

Blogging - Is it really worth it? - Nikki Young Writes

I’m glad I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions, because I would have been bitterly disappointed by now and it’s not even the end of January.

Work on my novel has come to a standstill whilst I work out where it’s going and it seems this has triggered a fiction drought. It’s like my brain won’t focus on anything else whilst that is up in the air.

I did start a children’s story for my nine year old daughter, but she wasn’t particularly impressed. At 1000 words, I had just begun to get through the introduction and for her that was too long. She was expecting a short story from me, needing instant gratification when it comes to reading. At nine years old, she has great reading and comprehension skills, yet she does not enjoy reading. Where to go from there? Well that is for another blog post, I think.

Apart from blogging, which I promised myself I would keep up with and publish regular posts, I don’t feel as though I’ve had time for anything else. Two of my blog posts have been ten-minute writing challenges though, so you can’t get much quicker than that. Fitting those in hasn’t been too difficult, it’s just everything else that is the problem.

It’s been a manic year so far, the start of which saw us bring home a new member of the family. The puppy is great, but he has taken up a lot of my time and energy, particularly at the moment, as he is poorly.

Last week, I was ill with a rotten cold and struggled to do anything. It’s wiped me out and my writing mojo is nowhere to be seen. This week, my middle daughter is performing in a pantomime at the local theatre, so we’ll be busy with dress rehearsals and shows all week. My eldest daughter turns twelve on Wednesday, but we don’t have time to fit in her Birthday, what with everything else going on. To top it off, I have to take her to Bristol on Friday night for a gym competition. These things always seem to happen at the same time don’t they?

I read author Emily Organ’s post┬álast week about tips for writing a book, one of which was making time to write every day. As a prolific writer herself, no one knows this more than Emily and the habits she has got herself in to have meant that she’s well on the way to publishing her third book.

I don’t feel like I have that time at the moment. The days go too quickly (the school bit does anyway). The habits I formed last year of writing Monday and Friday mornings seem to have vanished for the moment. I’m aware that I have lots going on around me, but can’t seem to summon up the energy I need to get through it all.

I’m hoping this is a result of being ill, on the back of a new routine that I’ve entered in to right at the beginning of a new year. It’s not the best time to be going through all this because you feel that you should enter a new year with renewed vigour and spirit and I seem to have done the exact opposite.

What am I waiting for? I don’t know, but I’m stalling right now. Everything I’ve written so far, although not a waste of time, has me questioning where to go from here. I know I’ve come a long way in terms of the things I’ve learned, yet a part of me feels that the more I know, the harder I find this writing process. Remaining in a state of blissful ignorance when it comes to putting together a story is fine, but won’t get me anywhere. I know what I need to do now, but I just have to find the courage and resolve to get on and do it.

This post has taken me more than ten minutes, so I’m going to stop moaning and go and give the puppy a cuddle.┬áThe next twenty-four hours are going to be a crucial time for him and I’m just hoping he’s strong enough to pull through this.

Next week, perhaps we will have some normality returned to our lives and I can begin to work out which direction I need to be going in.

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27 Comments

  1. Mummy Tries

    Oh hon I hope the cuddle with the puppy was what you needed to brighten your spirits. Sounds like you’ve got tons on, and finding time to write will be a huge challenge. Emily’s fab, and I admire her tremendously, but you’re in a different place. Try to go easy on yourself, you’re doing fab!! Here’s another hug, just in case you need it x

    Reply
    • Nicola Young

      Thanks for the hug. I had to take the puppy back to the vet and he’s spending the night there under 24hr care. Hope to get him home tomorrow for lots of cuddles.

      Reply
  2. Marija Smits

    Try to go easy on yourself, Nikki. It sounds as though you have a lot on at the moment, and having been ill myself for what seems like weeks, I know that writing progress during times of illness (our own or loved ones) can be slow. Best to try to be philosophical about it. The writing’s still happening… the novel problems are probably being solved subconsciously while you take a breather and focus on other things. Hope things improve for your puppy. Sending hugs. xx

    Reply
    • Nicola Young

      I can see the logic in what you are saying. I will draw a line under January and hope for a more chilled out Feb

      Reply
  3. Rebecca Ann Smith

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, Nikki. Everyone has times when they need to slow down, because of illness, or family, or work demands. Your mojo might just come back on its own if you let yourself rest and don’t panic. One thing did occur to me though – I’ve had periods when I couldn’t move forward with a piece of writing because something about its direction was bothering me – ie I knew something was wrong and I needed to fix it, but something in me didn’t want to see the problem clearly. In these moments I felt like all the creativity was drained out of me; I couldn’t write a word, either on the main project, or on anything else. If this sounds familiar, I did find a solution, and it might work for you too. I sat with a notebook and was very conscious of *not* putting any pressure on myself to solve the problem. I told myself firmly I *absolutely wasn’t* sitting down to work it through. Instead I free-wrote all the utter nonsense that went through my head (eg ‘oh crap… this is pointless… I’m just staring out of the window… what am I even doing this for?’ and so on!) for a few minutes and then after a while the solution presented itself. I’ve done this several times now, and it seems to work. It feels like magic, but I think it’s actually got something to do with tricking my mind into not thinking for a moment. Hope your doldrums pass soon, I’m sure they will xxx

    Reply
    • Nicola Young

      That’s sounds like a good plan. When I sit down to start things up again, I will take this on board. Thanks for the advice

      Reply
  4. Emily Organ

    Thank you for the mention! I hope you and the puppy are both feeling better soon. It can be tough and very frustrating at times, it’s probably easier for me to say ‘find the time’ because I’ve been writing every day long enough for it to become a habit. Once it’s a habit you really do manage to fit it in. It can still be a struggle though, my daughter was off school all last week after an operation on the Monday. I found moments to write when she was occupied, one time was sitting on the floor of her bedroom while she was playing up there. I didn’t get my usual amount done. You can’t push yourself too much, especially when you’re unwell – that’s when you really need to rest and recharge. I think when you’re a mum everything in the household gets shoved onto you – running the house, sorting children’s social activities, parties and the rest, looking after the pets! It’s a lot for us to juggle and I really hope the mojo returns for you soon x

    Reply
    • Nicola Young

      Yes and it does leave you drained. It is always tough this time of year. The dark days and weather really don’t help matters

      Reply
  5. Funky Wellies

    I think sometimes you need to give yourself a break and just accept that you are going through a tough period (we moved recently into a new home that needed renovation work and from buying to getting my life back it took six months…).
    I hope your puppy will be healthy again soon and that you will get your writing mojo back.
    Here is to a better February! xx

    Reply
    • Nicola Young

      Thanks. It’s true. I will write this month off (no pun intended) and start afresh next month

      Reply
  6. Alice @ The Filling Glass

    Nikki, what an emotional rollercoaster, loads going on, it’s no wonder the concentration and focus for writing has gone a bit awry. Don’t be hard on yourself. Clearly other things are taking priority, and I would say quite rightly, so give yourself permission for that – we are not superwomen (well maybe there are some out there but it’s ok not to be one of them!). You are still producing something, not nothing at all. Keeping fingers crossed for the puppy and sending you hugs xx

    Reply
    • Nicola Young

      I know but sometimes it feels as though you’re expected to be doesn’t it? You are right though and thanks for the kind words of support

      Reply
  7. johannewinwood

    Sometimes life seems to get in the way of writing, doesn’t it? I’ve been through this myself recently and your mojo will come back. Do what you can and when your mojo returns I look forward to reading what you share.

    Reply
  8. Rachael

    Sorry to hear you’ve been sick, and with the puppy sick too it must have been hard to focus on anything but getting through the day! And although I know so many say that one must write every day to be a writer, I do think that for some, pushing through those times can be just too much. As Becky said, much of the writing is done when we’re not writing anyway, so let your brain/unconscious mind work on stuff while you focus where it’s needed for now, and you never know, your mojo may come back even stronger after the break!

    Reply
    • Nicola Young

      Yes thanks for the support. I agree. Puppy is back home safe and well. Just need to get through this busy weekend and hopefully can start to work out a new routine

      Reply
  9. maddy@writingbubble

    Nikki it sounds like there’s so much going on for you at the moment with all the kids commitments and the puppy and you being ill. I really hope the two of you get better soon and in the meantime please cut yourself some slack. I think January can be an awful month – so dark and dreary! Don’t let the fact it is a new year trick you into thinking that new stuff needs to be afoot. I think January can feel quite overwhelming in that way – if others seem motivated, that little gremlin on comparison can sneak in and thieve the joy! You’re actually achieving a lot just in your general day to day life at the moment AND you’ve done some writing. Perhaps some more of the free-writing will help the creative block? Becky’s suggestion sounds interesting! Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting Keep on truckin’ xx

    Reply
    • Nicola Young

      It is a hard month isn’t it? Glad it’s over and already the lighter mornings and evenings are making things that little bit brighter.

      Reply
  10. BloggerMummyLauren

    It sounds like you have got a lot on at the moment, no wonder you are struggling to write. January is always a bit like this I think, so many plans, ideas and new routines, but you end up trying to do too much and it gets overwhelming. I know that is true for me at least.
    I’m sure having a cold wasn’t helping, they always seem to strike at the least convenient time. Hope you get that writing mojo back, and in the meantime take it easy and don’t pressure yourself too much x

    Reply
    • BloggerMummyLauren

      PS. Love the ida of a ten minute writing challenge! I’m off to have a read now, might try something like that myself!

      Reply
      • Nicola Young

        Ooh do it. It’s was great fun. I actually set the timer too. They are interesting prompts.

        Reply
    • Nicola Young

      Thanks Lauren. I bloody hate January. The weather right now is foul. Not inspiring at all.

      Reply
  11. Victoria Welton

    Sorry to hear you have lost your mojo – I think with so much on your plate, it is hard to catch a breath sometimes and it isn’t any wonder that you are in this position. I am sure that there will be a break in the clouds soon. Good luck with it all. #WhatIAmWriting

    Reply
    • Nicola Young

      Yes I can see that now. Coming out the other side though, thankfully.

      Reply
  12. sophieblovett

    I hope you (and the puppy) are feeling much better since you wrote this. January is always such a tough time of year I think – we have such high expectations of ourselves at a time when, quite frankly, we should be hibernating! I have no doubt you will get your writing mojo back. It’s difficult when you’re halfway through a project and it stalls – I’m like you in that I find it hard to focus on anything else creative with something hanging over me like that. It maybe worth having a play with some scenes or character studies that might not end up having a place in the novel itself but might help you get unstuck if you know what I mean? I’m sure things will start falling into place soon – and hey, it’s nearly February! Xx

    Reply
    • Nicola Young

      Thanks, Sophie. Things are looking up. I am doing e aptly what you suggest to get myself in the zone again, if you know what I mean. Getting there, hon.

      Reply

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