When You NEVER, EVER Want to Write Again

I have to admit that I’ve been in a writing funk on and off for about a month. I’ve been getting some negative critiques of my unpublished novel, and I always take negative feedback way too hard.

This week, a close writing friend asked me a question that got me thinking. Maybe I wasn’t the only one in the world who struggled with keeping up the motivation.

His question was: How do I motivate myself when I don’t feel like writing?

Considering I was currently struggling with this, I really reflected on this question. One of my favorite writing quotes sprang to mind first.

I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.” – William Faulkner

This quote is what kept me writing every day, whether I have something to say, or not. I don’t wait for inspiration to hit, I just write. Period. Just putting the pen to paper creates inspiration. (Or rather, staring at a blank computer screen.)

But, being in my funk, I’m completely distracted. Instead of writing, I search google for some useless fact, check social media, or read other’s blog posts. Urgh. An hour passes and I’ve written nothing. Why? Because I don’t really want to write.

“Take a break,” some tell me.

I can’t. I really can’t. Last time I took a little “break,” ten years passed!

That’s when I realized, this fear of quitting keeps me going. I love the highs I get from writing. The positive words of readers, the self-satisfaction of solving a plot problem, and the rush when a new story idea hits me.

As of today, I’m out of my funk. Why? Because a few people asked when the sequel to my Clone novel is coming out and it lit a fire inside me. Sequel? Wow. Now, I’m motivated.

But during my month struggle, here are the little things I did to keep writing.

  • Work on something relating to writing. Even if it’s cover design, blog posts, editing something really old.
  • Read someone’s work. Commit to giving them positive encouragement—as they need it probably as much, or more, than you or me.
  • Make a calendar of mini-goals and check them off as they are accomplished. I did this with that novel I haven’t published yet (the one with the negative critiques.) I committed to rewriting/fixing one scene per day. Yeah, it’ll take like 100 days to get through it, but I am making progress. Without a goal, I may never have touched it again. Now, I’m four chapters in (out of 27) and the momentum is picking up. I’m seeing progress and am excited for the new & improved version of the story.
  • Seek out a “fan,” even if it’s our mother, and discuss a piece of our writing with them. Hopefully, we get a little “pep” talk that keeps us moving forward.
  • Do something fun, unrelated to writing. For me, it’s been seeing movies. I’ve watched more movies in the past month than I’ve seen all year. Rogue One, Fantastic Beasts, and Dr. Strange. Since I write speculative fiction, all three have inspired me in little ways. Just make sure to come back to writing.
  • Find a writing friend, a critique partner who’s struggling too. Commit to encouraging each other. There’s nothing better than sharing our struggles with someone that’s struggled (or struggling) too.
  • Pull out old, “good” critiques or feedback. Reread these.
  • Reward ourselves with something. We’ve stuck with it, despite the slump, we definitely deserve that iced mocha latte with extra whipped topping.

So, I leave you with the quote my writing friend sent back to me about Abraham Lincoln and Perseverance.

“He failed in business in ’31. He was defeated for state legislator in ’32. He tried another business in ’33. It failed. His fiancé died in ’35. He had a nervous breakdown in ’36. In ’43 he ran for congress and was defeated. He tried again in ’48 and was defeated again. He tried running for the Senate in ’55. He lost. The next year he ran for Vice President and lost. In ’59 he ran for the Senate again and was defeated. In 1860, the man who signed his name A. Lincoln, was elected the 16th President of the United States.”

“The difference between history’s boldest accomplishments and its most staggering failures is often, simply, the diligent will to persevere.”

So keep with it. Never quit.

How do you stay motivated when don’t feel like writing?

About Joynell Schultz

Writer & lover of all types of speculative fiction. I'm shivering in northern Wisconsin. Learn about my novels here: http://Author.to/JoynellSchultz
This entry was posted in My Writing Journey, Writing Tips & Resources and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to When You NEVER, EVER Want to Write Again

  1. Arpita says:

    Until recently, I actually did not write unless I was really feeling like it. But mostly I have my weekends to myself and I was kind of feeling bad because I was not using the time productively. For the last 3-4 weekends, I have been putting regular hours to my second book . Being productive feels great!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. S. G. Basu says:

    This is something all writers go through, some more, some less. When writing gets too difficult, I sometimes take time off and work on marketing, cover design, and the other aspects. But I try to not stay away from writing entirely, and at least put some words into my blog. Most times though, I force myself into writing even when I feel a funk coming on. I may start with barely a 100 words but find myself getting better by the day until the funk has completely passed. Having two projects side by side also helps, I switch gears and that often clears my head.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I like the list of tips you have up there.

    Unfortunately, I am a loner so I don’t have many friends whom I can approach for good writing critique.

    But I will try to find something fun to do and maybe reward myself with some decent Japanese sake.

    I do have another piece of advice for you. You can always find another writer in the same position as you are, swap negative reviews and laugh it off together. I am willing to be that writer if you are interested in my proposal to swap negative reviews.

    You can have a look-see here: http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/eat-drink-man-woman-16/help-me-become-first-security-guard-writer-singapore-5526212.html

    That’s my crowdfunding appeal which I posted to a local (Singaporean) forum and I have been receiving negative comments ever since.

    To summarize, I have been told that my writing is “thrash”, that I write like a middle-schooler, that I should give up writing and that my stories are boring and so on and so forth. Dealing with such negative reviews is difficult, especially when I am basically asking for donations to my crowdfunding project.

    But I struggle and live to write yet another post. 🙂

    Like

    • Hey, wow. Some people are harsh, huh? Yeah, you gotta laugh, cutting others down must really make them feel better about themselves. Most recently, I’ve been asked if I know what a “plot” is. Really? Ouch. (I bit my tongue and didn’t return the insult asking if he knew what “character development” was, but man, did I think that.) It’s just one persons opinion and you need to shake it off, right? No story appeals to EVERYONE. Believe it or not, some people don’t like Harry Potter.

      You nailed it on the head. You struggle and keep moving forward. One post, one word at a time. I really appreciate your share here! Have a great rest of your year, if we don’t run into each other sooner. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. K E Garland says:

    I don’t have any new advice. I simply write anyway, even if I don’t plan to blog it or publish it. I also listen to a lot of specific rappers for their lyrical genius. It helps me focus on an appreciation of words.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: When You NEVER, EVER Want to Write Again | A Storybook

  6. deniseclaas says:

    A very dear friend of mine, has been in a slump and I’m failing to make her feel better about not being able to write. So I am going to borrow your words an hope that maybe my friend will feel happier or motivated? or maybe just supported knowing she is not alone.

    Me? I write mainly for me. You see, I am often in a life-slump, nothing too serious, but the curves I’m thrown, do get me down once in a while. I’m telling you this because, that my motivation for writing. I write every day just to take my chars out running, to parties, throw all off their energy out and feel marvelous because of it. Trough them I get a bit of me back. Some days writing is hard and bad 🙂 , luckily I feel even with only three or four sentences, that I’ve been out.
    Some People say it without thinking but, .. to me every word does count.

    I hope you will feel better about writing soon. And wish you find the fun, magical and sparkling side of it again. Remember, writing isn’t about the deadlines, the critiques, the promotion. It is still about the words. And though not every story gets a happy ending, maybe it’s not about the happy endings, it’s about the journey and the story. (borrowed the quote) Good luck

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the nice comment here and the words of encouragement. I truly hope your friend gets out of her writing slump, and you, your life slump, soon too. (Wow, that was a lot of commas!)

      I also write to “escape” my life sometimes. It’s a good life, but sometimes, I don’t like the routine. Writing can throw some curve balls, examine the “what if’s”, and add some magic.

      Have a fantastic holiday season!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. J.R. Handley says:

    Hang in there, keep writing and please keep blogging!

    Like

  8. Mary says:

    Drive. My plots crystallize and my
    Characters whisper in my ear.

    Like

  9. Thanks for this! A recent English Major college grad, and have been in kind of a slump since I graduated… wanting to spend my days reading and writing, and want a job that will let me read and critique and respond on repeat. Struggling with finding a financially suitable job, without trying losing my lust for the deep world of literature. I did just start my blog, and hoping that this helps a little. Either way, your post was inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hang in there! I’m so glad you found some motivation in this post. In November / December of this year, I wanted to stop writing. I had a terrible beta reader who kept insulting my writing and I took it personal. Finally, I had the courage to “fire” him and find someone more positive. It was rough, so I feel your pain! Please let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do for you. I LOVE blogging, and I hope you find a passion there. I love writing and blogging as a hobby–I don’t know how I’d feel if it was my primary source of income–I can see the pressure you have.

      Liked by 1 person

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