In a funk? Tips for writing when you just don’t feel like it


In a perfect world, every writer gets a good night’s sleep. They awaken refreshed to a healthy breakfast, a hot shower and a beautiful day ahead of them. In a perfect world, every writer is excited to sit down at their computer, and when they do, the words just flow from their fingers. They feel empowered, they feel confident, they feel fulfilled.

But let’s face it… Those days are few and far between.


The Culprit

Last night, I was awoken by my cat three times, and my alarm rang way too soon. I hit snooze more times than I care to count, making me skip breakfast. And then, I went to my actual, money-making job and sat, pondering all the ways in which I could make a bobby pin out of a paperclip, because- you guessed it – I had forgotten one.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m in a funk. And right at this particular moment, I’d rather be doing anything but writing.

My attitude toward life has always been inexplicably linked to the weather, and it’s been raining for a week straight. With all my travels of late, the junk food, the alcohol, and the lack of sleep & exercise have caught up with me. And I got some disappointing news last week, causing me to feel disheartened and overwhelmed.

But guess what? I still have to write. Even if I don’t feel like it. Even if I don’t wan to. And I bet there a few other people out there who feel just like I do sometimes.

So here is how I push through:

Five Tricks to Overcome the Funk

Detox your body

There is absolutely zero point in discussing your writing psyche before we discuss your physical needs. If you are getting zero sleep, if you are not exercising, if you are not eating healthy and remembering to take your medicine – whatever that may be – you sure as hell aren’t going to be able to sit down and write. You’ll feel too lousy.

So hit the gym, whip up a pitcher of lemon/cucumber water and get some sleep.

Detox your mind

Ever heard the phrase “You’ve got too much on your plate”? Well, Anytime I felt overwhelmed as a little girl, my mom always hands me a paper plate. I would tell her every single thing – big or small – that was causing me anxiety or contributing to the funk, and she would write it on the plate. Then once that was done, we would address each individual item. Before you knew it, half of the things on my plate had disappeared, and everything else had been formulated into a feasible to do list, organized by priority.

You’d be surprised how much having a plan helps. I still do it to this day. And she still helps me.

Find your Dory

giphyThis brings me to my next step. Find someone(s) to continuously encourage you to just keep swimming. I have several, and I have to admit, it gets annoying. I don’t want to keep swimming, I think sometimes. Just let me float for a little while. But the second they stop, the second you do. It can be your significant other, a friend, a parent. It can be a little voice inside your head. But make sure you have a Dory. And give her a call.

Give yourself a break

In addition to the plate trick, my mom has a saying: You can feel sorry for yourself for 24 hours, and then you get over it. (Can you tell she raised an anxious child? Thanks Mom.)

This is true with any type of negative feeling. Give yourself 24 hours. Don’t push yourself too hard. If your body and mind are trying to tell you something, don’t ignore them. Accept their mandates with grace instead of guilt. Have a glass of wine, take a hot bath, watch your favorite movie. But then when your 24 hours is over…

Power through!capture3

But don’t sit back down and let all of the ooey-gooeyness of the funk come flooding back in. You worked too hard to get rid of it! Instead, take things in small manageable chunks.

  • Brush your teeth, wash your face, and put on some clean, real clothes. No pajamas! Pajamas are infested with the funk.
  • Write for 15 minutes, then have some breakfast.
  • Write for another 30 minutes, and give yourself a small reward.
  • Do this throughout the day, then (again) take care of yourself and go to bed.

There you have it. Now this process doesn’t work like a magic spell, but it does work.

And guess what? It’s supposed to be sunny on Saturday.



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