Tips for When You Lose Writing Momentum

Monday, June 28, 2021


As the summer started to roll in, my momentum to write began to fade. It's not uncommon for me to lose interest in writing new stories in the warmer months. Yet, it can feel a little defeating too, because I had such strong motivation and pull to write these past several months. Unfortunately, I've accepted that until the rainy season returns, I'm likely not going to be at the top of my writing game.

If you tend to write by the seasons, I have a few tips for you to make the most of your changing writing motivation:

Focus on a new stage in the writing process.

Even though I've been inspired these last few months to write new stories, I haven't done any revising. So, even though I'm not inspired to create new work, I'm now motivated to revise existing work. I often feel like revising is a totally different part of my mind, so this new focus feels fresh to me, and less like discipline. 

Continue submitting.

In my writing phase this year, I didn't do much submitting. I'm usually better about it but I also blame new busyness too. So, to make up for it, I plan to spend the next few months focusing on submitting existing stories. This leads me to my next advice:

Read where you want to publish.

I'm a short story writer, so becoming familiar again with literary magazines - new and old - is a big part of this summer writing phase. Remember, WOW has a great newsletter focusing on new literary markets, so if you can't think of new lit mags to read, make sure to subscribe and find out who is asking for submissions. That will give you some ideas for which mags to read. 

And if you are trying to get published, read the books in your genre, or the literary agents you are aiming to represent you. Pick up books published in small and large presses.

Be kind to yourself. 

Probably the worst thing to do if your writing momentum has changed is beat yourself up over it. I think the worst thing I've done during these seasons is trying and force myself to write. A lot can be said for discipline, but know yourself enough to know when it's just time to give yourself a breather. Try out new projects, update your blog, try pitching editors looking for article ideas, or journal regularly. There are ways to make the most of this momentum change without feeling like you've missed a step.

What advice do you have for someone who's lost their momentum with writing?

5 comments:

Renee Roberson said...

Thanks for the nudge, Nicole. I am in such a slump right now, probably due to the business of a day job that requires so much writing and editing! Ugh! I'm taking a break from writing for my podcast, too, because I'm just so drained. Thinking maybe I'll make a list of writing projects I want to tackle and start chipping away an hour a day. And I guess it wouldn't hurt to be kind to myself like you mention!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Hi Nicole,

When I lose momentum, the first thing I do is take stock.
-Is my energy low? do I need to recharge or decompress?
-Is the problem a particular project? Have I written myself into a corner?
-Or are there other things I need to pay attention to right now?

I've never noticed that it is seasonal but that is something I'll have to consider.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

These are great tips Nicole to help us writers get back on our A-game when we feel as if we're losing steam. Thanks for this post.

Angela said...

Nicole ~ You are not alone! I've noticed over the years of running the site that many writers who live in areas with actual seasons (as opposed to where I live in SoCal) write less in the summer because the weather is so nice! Summer is distracting, kids are at home, and there's so much going on outside that it's hard to stay in, especially now that things are opening back up.

I admit, I've been in a submitting slump. I tried but couldn't write when I was grieving, and now that I'm coming out of that intense period, I'm writing but it's so scattered and fragmented. I just hope I can pull all the pieces together in a coherent narrative. But at least I'm writing!

Renee ~ You've got a lot on your plate, but I saw a contest you could enter in the Markets Newsletter that came out this morning: https://conta.cc/2U5CozI - in the "Fiction" category: Page One Prize. You only submit the first page of your novel. :) There's also CRAFT's First Chapters Contest for fiction (not in the newsletter) but the deadline is coming up quickly - June 30th.

Sue ~We included your post on rejection in the newsletter and received compliments on it and interest in your class. :)

Your tips are great, Nicole! :) When I lose momentum with writing, I usually take a writing workshop. Nothing lights a fire quicker than having to workshop with peers or turn in writing assignments. Reading in my genre, like you mentioned, trading work with other writers, and basically just finding ways to put the fun back into it.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Angela,

Thank you!

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