5 Tips on Learning to Write When You’ve Lost Your Mojo

    learning to write

    Have you ever lost the motivation to write?

    You know what that feels like—projects wait to get started, they stall, or they go unfinished.

    Your head is filled with a fog, instead of the lightness of inspired ideas.

    I’ve been there.

    At times, I feel excited and in the flow — fingers dancing over the keyboard. At others, sitting down to write is heavy and challenging.

    But losing your motivation doesn’t mean you have to lose heart.

    Losing our motivation is part of the larger creative process. We wouldn’t have the bursts of inspiration and productivity without the difficult creative dips.

    When we lose our creative steam, not only does our writing come to a crawl, but we also start feeling low about ourselves.

    For example, when you aren’t writing, the feeling that you should be working nags at the back of your mind. This tension creates further stagnation and deepens the creative funk.

    This can be particularly hard when you have a deadline, a goal, or a practice you are trying to maintain. In these situations, wouldn’t it be great to keep learning to write, even minus the motivation muscle?

    Here are five tips to help you take charge of your writing till you get your motivation back.

    These strategies will recharge your creative batteries and help you jump back into the work you were initially excited to do.

    #1. Honor the Rest Period

    It is important to trust that low motivation comes as part of a cycle. When experiencing this part of the cycle, you feel unmotivated, uncomfortable, unsure, and uninspired.

    When you experience another part of the cycle, you feel highly motivated, driven to do the work, and ready to dive into your creative project with ease and enthusiasm.

    It is easy to honor the high motivation times. You do so by creating with productivity and energy.

    Similarly, you must honor the low motivation times by taking a step back from your work and holding the perspective that you are still experiencing part of the creative process.

    In such times, take care of yourself. Find a self-care practice that is relaxing, recharging and nourishing for your body and spirit.

    This sets the foundation for your creativity to shine forth.

    #2. Approach Your Writing from a Fresh Angle

    Resting doesn’t mean you need to completely stop what you hope to accomplish, but it can mean approaching your work from a different angle.

    To get the creativity flowing again, instead of writing, create a playlist of songs to help you set the scene or inspire your work. Doodle, outline or brainstorm. Move away from the computer and into a journal.

    Keep flexing your creative muscles, and soon they will be revved up enough to let you get back to your project.

    #3. Talk About Your Work

    A sure way to build motivation is to talk about your project with others.

    There are times when it feels premature to do so, or you might not be ready to share. That is perfectly okay.

    Instead, ask questions about the ideas and themes that form the undercurrent to your writing. Voice the themes you are curious about. Ask others what they are reading or writing in the genre you are interested in.

    Gather the “aha’s!” and moments of clarity you get from your discussions. Write them down.

    When you talk about your ideas and work with people, you fuel the creative fire through new ideas and insights.

    You may even breathe new life into your craft.

    #4. Recommit

    To find true motivation, you must recommit to your project. Otherwise your writing will sit there, gather dust, and almost certainly remain unfinished.

    Start by grabbing a journal. Do some casual writing about what got you excited in the first place.

    Allow yourself to write about the struggles you are experiencing, or the blocks you are facing. Write about how feeling unmotivated feels in your body.

    Journal what you are excited about, the internal and external motivators that are already in you, but might just be dormant right now.

    Draw a line in the sand and commit to doing the work.

    Create a plan, and follow through. Schedule the time. Create a to-do list with actionable and manageable tasks.

    Dive in.

    #5. Read What You Have Written

    This is a simple but powerful exercise. After a relatively long period of feeling unmotivated, you can lose touch with what you have already written, and where you wish it to go.

    Spend some time revisiting your work. No pressure to write at this point, just read. It will help recalibrate your brain to start thinking about your writing in new and tangible ways.

    Things that felt hard to untangle before often become clear with rested eyes. You start seeing your work with a fresh perspective, and can find new angles to start again.

    Writing can be hard work. It is even harder when we are not feeing inspired or motivated.

    We must allow the unmotivated times to be a space where we flush out our ideas, recommit to our work, and recharge.

    Trust the process and know that when you feel in a rut, feeling creatively alive is just around the corner.

    What has helped you feel motivated and inspired? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

    About the author

      Jackie Johansen

    • I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!|

    • Thanks Mary for this motivational booster

    • Ray says:

      After I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there any method you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

    • Wow…Jackie….love each and every one of your 5 ways to renew, refresh and rejuvenate your writing mojo. Thank you so much! I love the simple steps…I will use and share. 😉

    • Dan Frost says:

      Im goin’ to Louisiana and get me a mojo hand
      I’m goin’ to Louisiana and get me a mojo hand
      I’m gonna fix my woman so she can’t have no other man

      Cold ground was my bed last night, rocks was my pillow too
      Cold ground was my bed last night, rocks was my pillow too
      I woke up this morning, I’m wondering, what in the world am I gonna do?

      I lay down thinking, buy me a mojo hand
      I lay down thinking, buy me a mojo hand
      I did wanna fix my woman so she can’t have no other man

      But don’t let your woman fix you like mine fixed me
      Don’t let your woman, boy, fix you like mine fixed me
      She make a fool about her, about as a fool can be

      Now, can’t a woman act funny when she got another man?
      Can’t a woman act funny when she got another man?
      You know, she won’t look straight at you
      And she’s always raisin’ sand, sand

      Well, I’m going tomorrow but I won’t be gone long
      I’m going tomorrow but I won’t be gone very long
      I’m gonna get me a mojo hand, I’m gonna bring it back home

      That’s what I’m gonna do

      Writer(s): Morris Levy, Clarence L. Lewis, Sam Hopkins
      Copyright: Emi Longitude Music

    • Jackie,

      Thanks for the tips. It’s happened to all of us. A couple of that work for me are writing at a different time of day and looking back at pieces I wrote years ago.I sometimes get style insight and a little kick in the behind from old posts and articles. I typically do better work in the early morning, but sometimes it helps to write in the evenings.

      In short, if things aren’t giving you what you need, change them up, if only temporarily

      Thanks,

      Steve

    • Meme says:

      I really find it hard to write on my blog sometimes because of what is commonly known as writer’s block.

      But I’ve gained a lot from this post.

    • Chan Huu says:

      Hi Jackie,

      First things first. Thanks for your crafting this inspirational post.

      I’m not losing my motivation; it’s still here with me. The thing is I find it hard to come up with good sentences when work is piling up and the deadline is looming.

      I know it is time to take a short break.

      As I’ve said earlier in this comment, I’m not losing my motivation, which is made possible by this: I have a writing partner. Indeed, I just read her work a few minutes ago, and, as always, I got motivated.

      So, what do you think about having a writing partner, Jackie?

      Regards,
      Chan Huu

    • Kimsea Sok says:

      Jackie, honestly this above is an awesome article about writing and motivation.

      Sure, lacking of motivation is a big problem of writing and blogging.

      You know..? I experience of writing with less traffic. I feel like I am not able to write for my blog since my English is none native.

      I am not able to attract readers to read my article. I feel like upset, and I want to quite my writing. Or sometime I feel like nothing in my mind and I have no idea to write about.

      I agree with you..! Keeping relax is the best for writing.

      You know..? Sometime, when I feel like I have not idea to write about, or to work with my project. I always spend sometime to relax and talking with my friends.

      They asked me about my work, and they gave me some idea and big motivation to move on.

      I think about my dream, and I want to make it become realistic.

      I keep continue my work..!

      Thanks for sharing..! 🙂

    • Megaera says:

      I wish I could figure out a way to keep the marketing end of things being what makes me lose my mojo. Basically it’s a no one’s reading, so why I am I writing issue. It doesn’t help that no matter how hard I try, I can’t figure out a marketing plan or a strategy (as opposed to a random bunch of tactics), or *how* to market my books (as opposed to *what* to do — I’ve read dozens of marketing books and articles in the last four years, and *none* of them have explained *how* to do what they’re telling us to do).

    • EssayMaxi says:

      Thanks for writing tips again!

    • Jackie,

      I love what you wrote about honoring the rest period. So often we are addicted to the highs and want to avoid even acknowledging that the opposite exists.

      You’re suggesting embracing the opposite. I’m sure doing so will bring freedom from a peculiar kind of pressure under which so many of us labor.

      Thank you!

    • Debi says:

      Apologies, Mary – I didn’t mean to call you Jackie! I copied and pasted my comment off a Word document and a fragment of a message got captured. I didn’t see it until I posted. Mea Culpa!

    • Debi says:

      Hi Jackie,

      Thanks for an inspiring and timely post. I’m getting out of a writer’s funk now, and the irony is – I’m writing a guidebook on motivating writers! Yikes! I’m working on getting motivated to write about motivation. It’s like standing still in a house of mirrors. But I love it. There is no better way to help other writers know how to get past it than having done it yourself. And indeed – the down time is part of the whole process!

      • Jackie says:

        Debi, I am excited to hear you are writing that guidebook. Love it! And what a blessing that you are going through a funk. Because, as you said, you will move through it and have wisdom and lessons to share with others. Thanks for doing the work that you’re doing.

    • Norma Roche says:

      Great post and tips, thank you. I find regular meditation really helps and I use affirmations as I meditate such as – I am at peace with the writing process or Words flow easily and effortlessly from me. If it happens, and a writing deadline is looming, doing something physical outdoors before attempting to write often shifts the block enough to get me back into flow.

      • Jackie says:

        Norma, thanks for sharing your wisdom. I meditate every morning and have found it integral to my writing process. I can so relate to your experience and am thrilled you added it to this convo. It’s important and powerful stuff. Blessings.

    • Mike says:

      Thank you for the wonderful post. The tips you provide are simple and easy to follow for any author. I was just trying to think of strategies to motivate finishing a few projects that were sitting on my ‘mental shelf’ and needed a good motivation — which your post provided. Again, thank you.

      • Jackie says:

        Mike, I am thrilled that you enjoyed the article and found it useful. I send you tons of good wishes on your writing journey.

    • Virginia says:

      Good techniques. Sometimes I write something totally different – reminds me I am creative in other ways. Reading also helps. Get wrapped up in another realm, perspective, or time can jostle our own thoughts.

      • Jackie says:

        Virginia, I love what you said, “Get wrapped up in another realm, perspective, or time can jostle our own thoughts.” I think this is so true and a great way to conceptualize pivoting our attention for increased creativity. Thanks for sharing!

    • I never read my old articles and I think it’s something I should start doing. It’s also true, sometimes you just need to rest.

      • Jackie says:

        Thanks for sharing Brian! It can be fun to go back and read some of your old work. For me, it often gives me new ideas and gets the creative juices flowing. Also, it’s helpful to see where I have been in my process and where I am going.

    • George M. Akerley says:

      I’ve already done two of the five. In fact, I read what I’ve written about my character(s) this morning in the midst of breakfast. Also, I am indeed recommitting to my writing – I’ve come up with several thoughts in the last week or two that I can apply to what’s already on paper.

      My “rest period” has been rather unrestful, though I’m striving to have sufficient earnings in my full-time job to alleviate the stress that occupies our minds when money is low.

      The “fresh angle” might be a minor stumbling block for me, as I’m hell-bent on continuing on my initial path, albeit with some variety thrown in.

      • Jackie says:

        George, it sounds like you are well on your way and doing great work. Even though there are challenges, the fact that you are staying engaged with your work is important and energizing. Keep it up!

    • Sabita Saleem says:

      Great post, Jackie.

      I guess every writer’s been there. But it’s a good reminder to embrace this low period of time with the same spirit like we cherish the bright days of our writing journey.

      • Jackie says:

        Sabita, agreed! I think it is so powerful to honor all the phases of the journey. When we do, the creative path feels fuller and more alive.

    • Thanks Mary for this motivational booster. Sometimes, I also lose my unique mojo. Earlier, it was very frustrating. Now, I try to relax and focus on my work in a defined manner. I can really connect with your last point. I try to calm myself by revisiting my previous works. This simple activity is very effective
      When I am not getting any ideas, I prefer doing other things. In this process, I calm my creative muscles and charge all the deflated thoughts.
      As Jane said, some comments of the readers are really motivating. Recently one of the readers said that he never read any motivational article thoroughly. But, he read my post till the end. This kind of comments boosts up the confidence to write more articles

      • Jackie says:

        Yatin, I can relate to all that you are saying. Plus, I really love your point about getting motivation from the comments of others. I think this points to the creative flow that happens in community and all the wonderful things we can learn in each other. Thanks for sharing your voice and inspiring me with your comment.

      • Jackie says:

        You are so welcome, Pat!

        • I think, you shouldn’t write when you’ve lost your writing mojo.

          Taking break when you hit the plateau helps you become a better writer. Instead of trying hard to write, it’s better to go out and have fun.

          Take break and it works like a charm!

    • Faron Brown says:

      Great post! This definitely happens to the best of us from to time.

      FB

    • Jane says:

      Hi Jackie,

      This is a wonderful topic! Especially given that writers lose their mojo once in a while – and for some it happens quite often – your tips are really helpful. I particularly like the tip about honoring the rest time.

      Some writers get too hard on themselves when they lose track with writing. When the deadline stands before them, it is too hard to accept that they have to take a break and step back. Which is why I find many writers to simply push themselves too hard to keep up with the deadlines!

      I have found that reading my writing works great for me whenever I feel lost or derailed. For one, it gives me great confidence about my own writing. It reminds me how good my writing is and gives me the mental strength to go for it.

      I usually read my own blog comments – I always keep a copy of every blog comment in make in my Evernote notebook. Going through those comments not only puts me back on track but also gives me great sparks of ideas!

      Thanks for this wonderful post. Have a great week!

      Cheers,
      Jane.

      • Jackie says:

        Jane,
        Thanks so much for sharing, I am excited you enjoyed the article. I love your idea of keeping your blog comments in Evernote. I am so copying that 🙂


    • >