By Milli Thornton
AS OFTEN AS possible, I try to set aside Wednesdays for my own writing. I don’t make appointments, I don’t visit other people’s blogs and I don’t tweet. I don’t work on my To-Do list or run errands. Usually, Brian will cook dinner that day so I can roll with whatever momentum I build during the day.
Last week I was really looking forward to my Wednesday of delicious writing. I had been working on my second screenplay and had plans to make more progress.
But then the funk hit.
It actually hit on Tuesday night. A few small things happened that triggered some old wounds and I was sunk. Sleep didn’t help: I woke up in it on Wednesday morning. And then a few more small things happened and I was plunged further into the yuck.
There was no way I felt like writing (the screenplay is a comedy and I felt my ability to be funny had been obliterated). But I didn’t want to waste my precious day either. So, after moping around for a while, I just started trying any tricks I could think of.
First, I vented in writing about the things that had plunged me into that place. Didn’t feel any better but at least it was out of my head. Then I started writing about my own writing dreams. Started to feel a little lighter. Then I went for a walk in the fresh air and sunshine. Getting better.
Still not all the way out of it but I felt better enough that I decided to force myself to get started on the writing. I gingerly opened the script and soon I was immersed in what I was doing. Two hours later, with 14 new pages added to the script, I emerged from my writing session having forgotten all about being in such a black place.
Two days after that, I wrote for six hours and finished my script! That was about nine days ahead of the schedule I had mapped out for myself. I got on such a roll with it, I could see the end in sight—so I just kept writing.
The funny thing was, by the time Friday rolled around, I did not even remember being in that bad place. I only retraced my steps because a writer friend was in a depressed place and she asked me to share what I’d done to get out of mine.
Those simple actions completely turned my week around and now I’m a happy writer with another first draft accomplished. I was so glad I forced myself to go through with it—because I didn’t feel like doing the therapeutic steps either.
It doesn’t always take that many phases. There have been times when I’ve broken through on the first step (i.e., venting in writing). I wrote a post about it here:
I’ve also, at times, used a warm bath with 10 drops of lavender essential oil to clear my gunk away. That one has never failed to work. (And right now I’m out of lavender . . . must stock up!)
What do you do when a funk takes you down? Do you have any secrets for climbing back out so you can get on with your writing?———
Milli Thornton is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Screenwriting in the Boonies and Milliver’s Travels and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse Coaching.