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Monday, April 20, 2015


Getting Out of a Writing Funk

A couple weekends ago, I attended a leadership and strategic planning meeting for the Missouri Writers Guild, in honor of its 100-year anniversary. If you are unfamiliar with the MWG, it was founded in 1915 by Walter Williams who was the dean of the Journalism School at the University of Missouri Columbia at that time. Over the years, the organization has encompassed writers of fiction and nonfiction who are professional writers, however you want to define the term "professional."

One hundred years is a long time for any organization, which will surely have its ups and downs during its history, and MWG has had some of those. It seems in recent years, volunteers were few, and the work was plenty. Besides this, with all the changes in the publishing industry and the need for writers to connect with one another and improve their craft, the MWG has to realign its goals to the needs of its members and create a sense of passion and enthusiasm for writing, too.

But what does any of this have to do with you if you don't live in the Midwest? (which by the way ANYONE can be a member of the MWG) I started thinking of my own career of 15 years, which isn't as long as 100 obviously, but it also has had its ups and downs, and I'm currently in some sort of a writing funk. So what can I learn from my weekend of planning with the MWG? Here are a few things:

1. People do still care about books and writing! When the market becomes saturated with authors and new books, it's hard to remember that each writer and each book makes a difference to someone. Even if you are not on the bestsellers list or receiving a movie contract, your book can still touch the lives of your readers. If you have a story in you, write it--no matter what happens with it. Big success is great, but so are the little ones!

2. It's important to take some time to look at what works and what doesn't for me. Just because my writing buddy can sit at the computer on a Sunday and churn out 5000 words doesn't mean I can. I have a beautiful four-year-old daughter and freelance work, so I have to fit in creative writing when I can. I shouldn't get down on myself because I have a self-publishing idea with a friend, but we haven't written a word of it yet. I am making goals and seeing what works for me, and what I need to change, so I shouldn't compare myself with anyone but myself. 

3. Whatever makes me feel enthusiastic, stay with it! What project is calling to me at this time? The self-publishing one and another Maggie Mae picture book. I tried to force myself to work on a novel, which I do like, but it just wasn't flowing. It will eventually, and in the mean time, I need to stick with what is working.

Although the MWG conference wasn't a usual one with editors, agents, and workshops, it was still motivating--it was a group of writers, brainstorming together to make a strong, professional, and helpful organization for its members. And it showed me that I can do the same for my own career!

Margo L. Dill is the author of the picture book, Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies, to which she wants to write a sequel soon. To check out more about Margo and her two novels, please see her website at or the novel writing classes she teaches for WOW! at

keyboard photo by orangeacid on

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Blogger Sioux said...

Margo--Your points are spot-on. We're each different, and different things work for each of us and different projects call us.

And yes, spend lots of time with your daughter. Too soon, she will be grown up, and you'll regret the few moments you felt you lost.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Crystal Otto said...

I needed to hear this today Margo - thank you for sharing!

6:54 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Sioux! :)

Crystal: I imagine you and I are in the same boat but you have more of those little people running around. :)

8:36 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Margo ~ I agree that it's so important not to compare ourselves to others or get down on ourselves. Writing is such a personal experience and a lifelong journey. We never stop growing and learning about our craft. As long as you're excited about something that's all that matters! Follow your heart. :)

7:19 PM  

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