Thursday, September 1, 2011

September's Question: Writing--Have You Ever Lost Your Mojo?

Recently I hired a professional editor to read my book. I expected her to point out inconsistencies, obvious errors, etc.... She did this, to the 10th degree--meaning she really really did not like the book.

I took a break from writing and bought some very good self-help books for writers. I think I'm ready to start implementing the changes I've come up with, and even some my hired editor gave me.

So what's the problem?

I've lost my mojo, a.k.a. my confidence. I'm anxious to start, but a little afraid too. Don't ask me what I'm afraid of, I don't know.

So my question of the month is: Have you ever lost your mojo, and how did you get it back?


  1. I wouldn't say I'd lost my mojo, but I did have a manuscript looked at by an editor once, and although her feedback was encouraging, she did suggest I rewrite the entire book from the perspective of another character. Her reasons were valid, but the idea of doing so was inconceivable to me. I couldn't even begin to start CONTEMPLATING making changes on that WIP, so I haven't touched it since. That was 2006.

    Since then, I have thought of a way to resolve the problem without changing the protagonist, and I've written the first book in a prequel trilogy. The two trilogies tie-in, and some of the events of the first trilogy are the reason why I can now write the second trilogy from the original POV. I'll get back to it, but I think I'll finish the current series first - it's a logical progression anyway! But rewriting will probably mean ditching my last draft and writing from scratch.

    Maybe, even though you've found a way to resolve the problems, you just need a break from this story? Let it sit, go write something else, come back to it when you feel you can face it. Maybe it's not confidence you have lost - you may just be deterred by the monumental task of more revisions.

  2. I lose confidence all the time--I've realized that's just part of being a writer. It's a tough career choice, and there will always be someone telling you "you can't."

    So when I feel myself losing confidence, I recognize it as a part of the writing life, and then write through it. I also choose to focus on the parts of my novel I'm really proud of, and then work really hard to make the rest better.

    But I think it's also OK to give yourself a break and feel bummed out for a bit if you need to!

  3. Given where I come from, I am well known for losing my confidence in writing. It happened to me for many years in the past. What I learned from that is that when it takes more energy for me NOT to write, than to just do it, I'm spending my time at the keyboard. For me, it's all about patience, kindness, and being as accepting of myself as I am of other people.

  4. Have you tried the law of attraction? It can help you get your mojo back. :)

  5. Not yet.
    But I haven't been near an editor or a publisher yet either. I'm writing weekly FridayFlashFictions at Chuck Wendig's blog. 1000 word limit. Try these... it isn't easy, but it's writing, it's small bites, it's rewarding, and it will get you back on the horse. : )))

  6. I went through a period of six months in which I didn't work on any writing. I tried to start stories but they kept falling flat and I started to become afraid that I wouldn't get it back.

    Then I stopped and thought about what it would be like if I stopped writing. After everything I put into it, was I really going to allow myself to stop now? I decided I couldn't do it, so I forced myself to do some writing every day--some sort of progress, any sort of progress.

    The confidence came right then when I started making it a habit. When I proved to myself that I hadn't lost anything.

    Sometimes fear or lack of confidence or a hundred other things sap our inspiration. And sometimes, for a period of time it's ok--we need the break. But it's up to you to get back to your writing and ignore the doubts. Only you can build your confidence again.

    But once you do, I think you'll be glad you did. :)