You know when the slump hits…you open eight different tabs on your laptop, then you make a new playlist, scan your WIP, add a sentence…but there’s no motivation. No forward motion. Worse, you probably jump on Twitter only to see another writer has clocked 2,000 words on their latest WIP or another author was finally picked up by an agent.
Well, guess it’s time to call it a day…
But maybe not.
If you have ever felt this way, you are not alone. And I promise the slumpy feeling will not last forever. In today’s post, I’m sharing some practical tips for still moving forward even if the motivating feelings aren’t following yet.
Shift Your Focus
When unmotivation threatens to overtake you, start working on something separate but related to your WIP. Research archives or related materials, listen to interviews, or watch a documentary or movie that has related themes or similar subject matter to your project. Sometimes by not staring directly at your WIP, it gives your brain a chance to unkink, and then it’s better able to move past whatever barrier is inhibiting your flow.
Identify the Roadblock
Is there a lingering task, an admin step, or something small that you just aren’t addressing that’s bothering you at the fringes of your mind? Set a timer for ten minutes and work on said task. You’ll be amazed at what can be eliminated during that time frame and then you will have more brain space freed up to work on what’s truly important.
Change Your Scenery
Go outside, take your laptop to a different room, or find some new music or white noise. I personally love the “Stockholm” white noise through the Freedom app. I also have my own playlist of downtempo and instrumental songs for writing. If you’re working on a fiction project, try finding music that inspires the setting of your main character. For instance, when I was editing a middle-grade novel set in the Wild West, I played some Western movie soundtracks and it totally got me in the mood!
Set a Timer
I mentioned this earlier, but beyond admin tasks, setting a timer when you think you can’t possibly work another minute is helpful. You can surprise yourself by how quickly ideas can feed off one another and you can add another 200, 500, maybe even 800 words even if you thought you were done for the day.
Take a Break
Yes sometimes we do need a break. Writing isn’t just a creative outlet for many of us; it’s our job. And for almost every other job, there are going to be days when you don’t feel like working. But you show up anyway. And sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do: show up, put your butt in the chair, and write. But sometimes you do need a break, and the break can serve to refill your creative reservoirs. But be mindful of how you take that break. If you are taking a break during the day and plan to return to your work later on, don’t immediately reach for your phone and start scrolling. Pick something that will actually refresh your brain!
- Take a snack break outside
- Use your Breathe app on your Apple watch
- Listen to a brief encouraging podcast
- Go for a walk
Not every day is going to be your best writing day, and that’s okay. Give yourself some grace and don’t compare your low output day to someone’s highest output day. Learn to embrace the ebb and flow.