By Liz, still wishing she’d missed that plane home from Key West
I don’t know about the rest of you, but sometimes it feels like my creative spark has been doused by an ocean wave.
This usually happens when my deadline is looming somewhere between 60 and 30 days away (like right now) and I’m feeling those first stages of panic (How will I ever get this book done?). The panic attracts the inner critic, and then it becomes a whole host of self doubt and procrastination.
In the past, I would beat myself up abut this situation. Berate my slacker tendencies that put me in this position every deadline. Curse the wretched day job that prevented me from putting the lion’s share of my time into writing. Deprive myself of anything good until I finished the book, which I was still convinced would be horrible, even if it was finished.
But that doesn’t work so well. While I may manage to slog through and claim victory, I feel like I’ve been through a war. I don’t want to look at or talk about the book. I want to watch Gilmore Girls reruns for a week. It takes a bit to get back into the writing habit.
So this time I’m trying something different. I’m trying to be kinder to myself. To “be” with the book wherever it is in the process and have faith it will get done. And I’m trying new tactics to get my mojo back.
Here are a few of them:
- Morning pages – Anyone who’s done The Artist’s Way is familiar with this journaling practice – 3 pages right after you wake up. I’ve been doing them for years, but in the last few, not consistently. I’ve made a concerted effort to get back into the habit. It gets the juices flowing and gets all the extraneous stuff out of your head so you can get back to the important work.
- Coloring – Yep, I’m a colorer. And I’ve totally given myself permission to stop and pull out the crayons for a bit if I’m too stuck.
- Playing with the dog – Of course, this is my favorite. A game of fetch with Finn or a
game of tug with Shaggy and all is well.
- Reading creativity books – Sometimes reading other fiction isn’t a good idea when you’re in a writing rut. I’ve been returning to books about harnessing your creativity. I just finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, and I’m in the process of re-reading some of my SARK collection. Big-time inspiration.
- Visit Key West or other island paradise – This one is a no-brainer, right? I definitely came back from my vacation itching to get back to the computer. Sometimes your batteries really do just need a recharge.
And hopefully, that deadline won’t come too soon….
Readers, what do you do to get your creative mojo back?