Craft,  Discipline,  Motivation

Fantastic Fridays: 5 Ways to Deal With Feeling ‘Meh’

If you are looking at your work and feeling stuck or just kind of meh, you’re in good company.

All writers feel like that from time to time. 

Everyone gets tired of their project, or runs out of ideas, or finds that they ‘just aren’t feeling it’ in the course of their writing. It’s a natural part of being a writer or of doing any sort of extended project. 

Image description: background - a black and white photo of a long-haired person in a denim short holding a large analog clock. foreground: a beige rectangle with white text reading 'Fantastic Fridays: 5 Ways to Deal with Feeling Meh'
Image description: background – a black and white photo of a long-haired person in a denim short holding a large analog clock. foreground: a beige rectangle with white text reading ‘Fantastic Fridays: 5 Ways to Deal with Feeling Meh’

But, if this project is important to you (even if it doesn’t feel important right now), you will want to find a way out of those tired, meh feelings. 

Why not give these solutions a try?

Take a rest

The first thing to explore is whether you just need to take a rest. Maybe you need some time away from your work.  This doesn’t mean to keep your mind half on your project while you scroll through a boring website, it means doing something completely different. Go for a walk, go hang out with your family or friends, do some knitting or fold the laundry.  Or take a nap. Anything that truly gets you away from your work completely.

You may need just a little time away or you may need a longer stretch, do what you can to take the time you need. 

Write something different

If you have been slogging away at your project for a long time and you are at one of the necessary but dull parts, or a part that you struggle with, the tedium of that can drag you down a bit. If this is what’s happening to you, it might be a good idea to work on writing something else.  Try a piece of flash fiction, write in your journal, anything that gives you the same creative feeling as writing but that isn’t that project. 

Add some urgency

Sometimes a little pressure can add some excitement to our projects. Try setting a very short timer and challenge yourself to see how much you can get done in that short time.  If you really want to live on the edge 😉 you can try The Most Dangerous Writing App – it deletes your work if you stop typing!

Add a weird element

If you aren’t up to writing under pressure, consider introducing an element that has nothing to do with your project.   Pick an unusual word or idea and challenge yourself to work it into the text. Or use that unusual word as a word association game. Maybe the bank president in your book has never seen a giraffe but was there ever a time when they stuck their neck out for someone else? Did they ever avoid ‘low-hanging fruit’ so they could reach a reward up high? 

Check in with friends

When you are feeling kind of bleh about your work, a chat with writer friends can liven things up.  Figuring out how to describe your work might be enough to get you back in gear. If not, ask your friends to add ideas or  to ask you questions. The resulting conversation could be the perfect path back to your project. 

Staying the course

Getting disillusioned or bored with your project is not an automatic sign* that you should give up on it. It doesn’t mean that the project is bad or that you shouldn’t be working on it. And it definitely doesn’t mean that you are a bad writer or that you lack dedication. It means that you are perfectly normal…well, normal for a writer, at least. (ha!)

So, my normal writer friend, choose your path back to the page… and write on! 

*I’m not saying that it is NEVER a sign to stop, just don’t automatically assume that it is. Sometimes we do discover that the project that we started with enthusiasm just isn’t for us. And that’s ok, too.  A little journaling or a heart-to-heart with another writer can help you figure out if you are stuck or if you are done with this project.

Christine Hennebury’s storytelling career began when she was four and her parents didn’t believe her tale about water shooting out of her nose onto the couch – they insisted that she had spilled bubble solution from the empty jar in her hand. Luckily, her skills have improved since then. Christine makes up stories, shares stories, and coaches other people who are working on stories, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Find out more about her  at  christinehennebury.com 

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