Wednesday, October 2, 2013

IWSG: Dude, Where's My Mojo?


After a project is finished (pubbed, queried, or trunked), a writer embarks on the next project.  But what if it just isn't flowing?  What if the words don't want to come and even when they do, you think they're a big pile of steaming doo-doo?  What if even after you edit and re-edit, the project just isn't measuring up to the standard of writing you think it should?

You may find yourself wondering, Dude, Where's My Mojo? 

It's not your mojo that's lost. It's probably either of these:
1) With every project you become a better writer and your standards get higher -- so you're letting your own more professional self-criticism get to you.
2) The "childbirth" amnesia syndrome. Your last project didn't start out great.  It may have taken you months or years of editing until you finally managed to squeeze that bugger out into the world.  But you've forgotten how hard and miserable it was, just like women who've given birth "forget" the pain of childbirth ('cause otherwise, they'd never do it again!).

Things that might help:
1) Read your favorite authors and books that inspire you.
2) Read some "how to" articles and try changing your technique or your approach to your project a bit.
3) Get your mind off it by working on a more manageable project like a short story or flash fiction.
4) Try reviewing new books in your genre. Sometimes finding what you like or don't like in others' writing can help you see your own more clearly
5) And my personal favorite: Eat chocolate.


You'll find your mojo was really there all the time.  Good luck!



This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate. To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group.


59 comments:

Lara Lacombe said...

Great list of tips--I especially like the last one! ;)

Donna Hosie said...

Reading, watching great movies or tv shows, all things to inspire.

Plus chocolate or beer!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

I LOVE the word Mojo! I'm always accusing my daughter of stealing mine. Maybe all I need is some chocolate :D

Medeia Sharif said...

I feel better after reading this. I'm also in the mood for chocolate.

Murees Dupé said...

This is really great advice because I have been looking for my Mojo for a while now.

Lynda R Young said...

Oh my gosh! I just wrote up a comment and instead of pressing publish, I pressed, sign out. Consequently I lost the comment. Think I need that chocolate you mentioned...

Shah Wharton said...

Oh my, you have hit the nail into my head! It's got lost in the dense fog unfortunately, but I know it will return with my mojo, any minute now! These tips rock and I needed them Lex. Cheers!

Shah X

http://wp.me/p2rnfx-2sC

Heather Holden said...

Great advice! As an artist, I often feel like I've lost my mojo, too. Not a fun feeling!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Your standards get higher. That is so true! We almost expect too much of ourselves.

Winter Moon said...

Great tips - I hate losing my mojo : )

M.L. Swift said...

Lexa,

A few things: first, how did I not know you live in Egypt? I've been wondering who the visitor from Egypt was when I'd see it on my stats. Second, is that you in the pic? I've never seen a pic of you, and if it is, you're such a pretty young woman. And third, what an excellent post!

You tickled me with "trunked." I mean, I got a good chuckle from that, because that's where most of my stuff ends up. Half-works (even whole) that I was tired of, weren't working, or just moved on to something else that was higher priority. And you're exactly right in comparing it to childbirth. Great analogy.

M.L. Swift, Writer

Maynard Morrissey said...

Chocolate is always a huge help =) though, when there are mojo-less days, I always do something completely different, something that has nothing to do with writing. The more you push yourself to write, the less it will work out - but when you are able to shut your brain off for at least one day, it usually works on the next day.

Stephen Hayes said...

Let's move eating chocolate to where it belongs on your list---#1.

cleemckenziebooks said...

I'm with Stephan. Chocolate first, then pick up that book and find some inspiration. I'm baaaaack! Great to be here again.

S.K. Anthony said...

Ha! Seriously though... Dude, where is MY mojo? I totally lost it for now lol
Love the tips, I will try them all... especially the chocolate one because YUM. You are right, our standards do get higher. Sigh, I'll go read some awesome authors now... and eat chocolate. ;)

Kate Larkindale said...

Must try all that because my mojo has been missing for months....

Brandon Ax said...

Reading is a huge help it reminds us why we love this life. Stepping away can help too. Lol Chocolate is a must, although I should go to that one too often.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Wonderful points, Lexa. You know something, I know a creative non-fiction writer who never picks up a book. When she told me that rather proudly, I'm sure my jaw dropped and my eyes bugged out. I was speechless. Still am.

Christine Rains said...

Excellent post! Eat chocolate is my favorite one. Reading is a terrific inspiration.

Candilynn Fite said...

Dude (or shall I say, Dudette), this is a fabulous post for IWSG day. I rather enjoy reading a bit of my favorite authors. That usually gets the ball rolling. Have an excellent week!

Crystal Collier said...

LOL! Yes, I completely agree--clear up until the last suggestion. Replace chocolate with cheese and we're on the same team here. ;)

N. R. Williams said...

Loved it. Nup said.
Nancy

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Love the childbirth amnesia comment. I'm getting much better at diving into new projects though I used to have a problem like you describe.

Julie Sondra Decker said...

LEXA. This is kinda me right now. I've seen some really great advice lately that's made me self-conscious about my writing in a way that's never happened before, and now I'm finding the words flowing slowly (another thing that's never happened before, seriously, never). I'm looking for a balance and I guess practicing on my short stories so I can get over this before jumping back into my novel. I think I'll get over it. But yeah. Stalling and tripping over yourself is the cause of many a mojo loss. We'll grow into our shoes if we stop expecting ourselves to walk perfectly when the size changes.

Michelle Wallace said...

Is chocolate filled with Mojo?
Aha, so that's what I've been missing out on... note to self - gotta eat chocolate!

Cathy Keaton said...

"Eat chocolate."

This. You can solve anything with chocolate! And peanut butter, especially if they're together.

Kelly Hashway said...

Reading my favorite authors is the cure that works for me. Okay, I might have some dark chocolate while I'm reading. ;)

Damyanti said...

Fantastic and very timely post, for me.

Love your tips!

Kim Lajevardi said...

I definitely subscribe to the philosophy that when things aren't working, shake them up by doing something different. Great advice, Lex! I hadn't thought of some of those options, but I definitely have used chocolate. ;)

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

You are a wise woman. I already knew that but this post, and especially your affinity for chocolate, confirms it. Thanks, Lexa. It's all great advice.

xoRobyn

T.F. Walsh said...

I think I'm suffering from The "childbirth" amnesia syndrome because this is exactly how I feel with my current project...it's just not coming out as perfect as the last one... obviously I forgot how hard I worked on the first story...hehe I need some of that chocolate too.

Donna Hole said...

I'm ready to get back into reading my favorite authors again. I need a change.

.........dhole

mooderino said...

I also find that after spending so much time focusing on the nuts and bolts it takes a while to get back to being able to just enjoy reading with the super-critical part of my brain turned off. Need to decompress.

mood
Moody Writing

Annalisa Crawford said...

Chocolate always works. From experience I know I need to give myself a couple of weeks before I embark on anything big. I'll pull out some old short stories, dust them down ans submit. It helps distance myself from the last set of characters.

Morgan said...

Holy crap... I am LAUGHING at the "Childbirth amnesia syndrome" <----That is too perfect! Spot on.

I definitely need to step away after a big project. Clear my head. Get my priorities straight. Before I get all crazy again. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

All so, so true! Great post. I might add 'drink wine' :)

J.L. Campbell said...

Hey, Lexa,
I've been struggling with an ms for ages now. Have no idea why I won't finish it. Maybe I need to overdose on chocolate and get going again.

mshatch said...

Very true! I know it takes more revisions than I like to admit to produce a polished manuscript.

Pk Hrezo said...

Yep chocolate cures all my ailments. And I agree with reading bestsellers or authors you love in your own genre. I'm always inspired by it.

L.G. Smith said...

I do seem to have misplaced my mojo recently. I was afraid I was going to have to do some heavy lifting of furniture to find it, but I think I'll try reading some favorite authors first...while making "om nom nom" chocolate-eating sounds. :))

Elise Fallson said...

Excellent advice Lexa. Looks like I need to eat more chocolate.... (:

Robin said...

Now I understand the problem... I haven't been eating enough chocolate!!!! Thank you for solving that mystery:)

klahanie said...

Ah yes, no problem with my MOJO. After all, these postings dedicated to me aka "I Was Seeking Gary", do wonders to my ego :) Sorry, I'm awake now.

Although I don't have writerly concerns, I do understand the importance of positive distractions away from your writing. Actually, those distractions can your inspirations. And doing writing in small, realistic amounts to get to the ultimate goal, seems like a good idea. Then we munch on real chocolate and not the North American stuff.

Have a good Sunday, Lexa.

Gary

Melanie said...

Fantastic list there! I love writing and we are currently writing a gothic novel and I'm kinda hating it but chocolate totally helps!

Thanks for sharing, luv! <33

Kim said...

Great tips, Lexa! I always find reading a book by a favorite author of mine inspires me again. I just need to remember that their first drafts were probably a huge mess too.

Milo James Fowler said...

Great suggestions. What works for me: vomiting sloppy first drafts onto the paper/screen and knowing I have the freedom to change everything later as I see fit. Also knowing that by the time it's in front of an editor, I'll probably have to revise a whole lot more.

DMS said...

What a great post! We can all be too hard on ourselves and wonder what is wrong with our writing. I love your suggestions for finding our mojo- especially the- eat chocolate one. :) Best of luck!

Georgina Morales said...

Hahaha! Most definitively chocolate makes everything better.
I agree with you in all of your points. I do realize I'm getting better (thank God!) and that means that projects I once thought were going great, now seem mere carcasses. I also tend to forget how hard it was to muddle through the middle of the last story until I tell someone "I'm really having trouble with my latest story." Oh, wait... where have I heard that before????
I guess the important thing is to find a creative distraction but not let the story completely slip from your hands.
Great post and handy advice!

Kelly Steel said...

Fantastic list. I need to do the 'reviewing' bit to find what I didn't like. Eating chocolate definitely helps!

Ava Quinn said...

Great post, Lexa. Very good reminders. And the "mojo" reminded me of one of my favorite blues songs- Got My Mojo Workin' (But it just don't work on you) By Muddy Waters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpmy1BeMVRw

Great stuff! :)

LD Masterson said...

Good suggestions. I was hunting for my mojo under the desk and in the closets. I figured it was just hiding from me.

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

Love it! Especially "squeeze that bugger out," the forgotten pangs, and eat chocolate! Only a wise woman can put so much practicality in such a short post. :) Writer’s Mark

Chris Fries said...

Ah, yes -- self criticism. That's always my biggest barrier to overcome. Well, that and just not having enough time to keep a writing rhythm going. But that damned "It's not as good as I want it to be" inner voice can be brutal!

Catherine Stine said...

Reading an inspiring book helps, and going on a vacation! Right now, I'm enjoying Stephen King's Doctor Sleep.

Misha Gericke said...

I definitely get childbirth amnesia. I get so used to seeing edited versions of my work that I expect my drafts to look like that as well. And they NEVER do. :-D

Nickie said...

Yay chocolate! My personal favorite thing is to flip back through OLD projects that I've trunked. Even if the story as a whole isn't working, I'll inevitably find something I like about it (character, dialogue, descriptions, what have you). If I can find a diamond in those turds, I can definitely find a way to improve a current project.

Cherie Reich said...

Eating chocolate is always good! Wonderful post! :)

Jocelyn Rish said...

I agree that eating chocolate can help with just about anything. I just posted today that after FINALLY finishing my rewrite a few days ago I'm actually feeling a little lost. It has been hanging over me for so long that it feels weird to move on to a new project. But I WILL be ready for NaNo! :-)

Cecilia Robert said...

Right now I'm in that stage. Oh man, I need my mojo back..LOL. The chocolate one works wonders. I'm reading a few books that will,hopefully, inspire me and kick back that mojo back into place.. :D

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