Every writer has experienced this, I think. Days when writing is like having your teeth pulled. You open a new document, or the document you've been working on, and try as you might, no words seem good enough to be typed out. Or, no words surface at all.
Recently, I lost my mojo. My muse just upped and went for a vacation without informing me first. I opened my WIP and stared at it for a bit. Then, I closed it and started playing Candy Crush, followed by Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda, and their whole family. For days, weeks, months. My brain just totally shut down its writing department and left me feeling like a useless turd. I was aware that a situation I had recently experienced was causing this shutdown. But the situation isn't something that can be resolved overnight, and may never be truly resolved. The psychologist in me kicked in and told me that I need to change the way I react to or think about the situation so that it doesn't affect my functioning.
What really happened? Maybe I'll share it in another post one day. Suffice to say, I still have its bitter aftertaste in my mouth, but I'm working on overcoming it.
So, what helps when the words won't come? I've found that feeling unproductive just makes me feel worse. Therefore, even if I feel like I'm in a rut, I'd literally force myself to do some or all of the following.
1. This may sound strange, but I turn to chores. I clean, tidy, organize, cook, anything to make me feel like I'm doing something beneficial. The feeling of accomplishment is greater when I can actually see something sparkle and shine, when things look pretty, when someone enjoys a meal I've prepared.
2. I go for a drive and take in the hustle and bustle of the city crowd. Seeing others pound the pavement to make a better life makes me appreciate what I have. I have always been blessed with the ability and qualifications to work independently and from anywhere I wish, and it's easy to take this for granted when I don't see other people's struggles.
3. I refill my well of creativity by re-reading books I love, reading books from lesser-known, less-hyped authors, rewatching my favorite movies, visiting museums/art galleries/zoos if possible, appreciating arts and crafts, etc. Inspiration will usually arise from something I see.
4. Self-care. Meaning exercise, prayer, meditation, mindfulness, etc. Everything that makes me feel like I've put myself first because I deserve it. It calms me down, reminds me of my priorities in life, puts things into perspective.
5. Turn off and tune out social media, especially when it turns into a big boiling sewer of fakery and negativity. Jeez, I really detest some of the things I see there. All the pretentiousness, the "look-at-me-look-at-me" mentality, arghh.
Instead, I try to do more real-life stuff. Could be something as simple as gamboling with my cats or baking a cake.
So, what do you do when you find yourself in a slump?