A Post By Jonathan
Help! Someone's stolen my mojo! I was just chillin' in what could be described as my own version of a writer's cryofreeze --aka, first-time dad zone-- and when I thawed out, and finished taking a hideously long pee, all my writing mojo was gone.
The culprit looked a little like this:
or maybe a little more like this:
|My 5-month old mini me, notice the resemblance?|
Either way, it's gone. But I've got a plan to get it back (feel free to follow these steps if you too have had your writing mojo stolen):
Step 1: Write Something New
As it probably is for many writers (first-time novelists, especially), this is a huge decision for me. I've spent nearly ten years working on the same story, writing the same characters, living in the same world. I never started a new project because it always felt like I would be quitting, like I would be walking away from all that hard work. But after consulting some of my trusted writerly friends over at bksp.org (if you haven't visited the forums on this site, you need to check them out), and those here at Across the Board of course, I learned that moving on to a different project doesn't necessarily mean you're throwing in the towel. It also doesn't mean that you will never return to that first novel. It just means that you are growing as a writer, that you recognize when, creatively, you need a new challenge. For me, it's either write something new or not write at all (at least that's how it feels).
Strangely enough, just giving myself permission to go down this path has greatly improved my outlook on the whole writing process. No one writes well when they're dreading even sitting down at the keyboard. Whether I end up starting a new project or not --or just keep slogging away on my current WIP-- just giving myself the okay has done wonders. I can feel my mojo coming back already!
Do I make you randy, baby, yeah! Where'd that come from?
Step 2: Take A Trip
My wife and I are talking about taking a vacation soon, which should be a good mojo booster in and of itself. Coincidentally, the drive to our potential vacation spot takes us right past Space Camp, which is where some of my current MG Sci-Fi WIP takes place. I have never actually been there, but we're planning on stopping by (thirteen hours in the car with a five-month old will make you plan out your stops very, very carefully).
I have mixed feelings about the visit... I'm excited and apprehensive all at the same time. This could be the big boost I've needed to fall back in love with my WIP. I've got to think that actually seeing the place I've been writing about for the last decade will send my creative juices soaring into stratosphere. To the shag wagon, baby!
But what if it has the opposite effect? What if just seeing the place reminds me how much work I've got to do? How many revisions there are? How wrong I've been about the place all along!!!
Okay, while I'm busy hyperventilating feel free to check out this cool article I read recently about how travel can improve your writing skills: The simple, super-sexy, science backed way to improve your writing skills
Step 3: Be Patient
This is a big one.
You hear about writers like former Across the Board member, Beth Ellyn Summer, getting book deals (Congrats, again, Beth! We are super happy for you!:) and you can't help but wonder when it will be your time. Well, getting published means having a work to publish, and having a work to publish means having words in a book, and having words in a book takes writing them down, and writing takes mojo! So it's just not my time. What I need to do now is focus on me, and where I am in the writing process. Just set a few small goals for myself. Jot a few sentences down. Do a little outlining, maybe (though I'm more of a pantser myself...). Even thinking about writing is something, right?
Well wish me luck, dear reader, as I try to get my writing mojo back. If there are other things I should/could be doing, feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section below. I can use all the help I can get.
Yeah baby yeah!