Funky (the bad kind)

I am seriously beginning to think that I need to go into the folder with all of my works in progress and just start cleaning house.  Some of them haven’t been touched in about 6 months while others have remained active but don’t seem as if they want to end.

Add to that the beginnings of yet another story idea that keeps rearing its head and you have one very bewildered writer.  Admittedly, I have found myself with chunks of time where I could write within the past few days but simply don’t know which story to pick back up.  This actually brings up a very interesting downfall of having too many ideas: If you let a story set for too long, when you pick it back up you have to reacquaint yourself with the plot and the characters.  Those of you that have been in this spot know very well that this can be as time consuming as the actual writing.

The one bit of positive to come out of these last few days was a poem that was written almost on a whim.  It’s very short (13 lines) but I have spent hours reading over it, making sure each word belongs there.  I believe it may be the best, most personal and non-horror poem I have ever written and thus, I am sure there is something wrong with it.

I also got a rewrite request for a story that is in terrible need of a new ending…one which I am not sure that I can write before the July 31st deadline.  That, with work deadlines and meandering stories filling my writing files, has me tired, flustered and quite frankly, in a writing funk.

Anyone else evert get that?  And if so, what do you do to get out?



  1. I think many of us have been in the same funk. I have found that the new ideas seem to work better (and are quite frankly better stories) than the old ideas. You know, the ones you wrote when you were less experienced and the thrill of the word on the page was as good a high as anything. Now, while I still like that high, I crave more- like good story out of those words on the page. Not that the old stories were bad, but often they were ill thought out, started in the wrong spot, from the wrong point of view and during the wrong time period. Either that or I was trying to force a story that wasn’t there.

    So for me I start new, forget the old. I don’t try to rework it or edit out this little chunk here and there for a story that probably isn’t publishable but instead take the knowledge that gleaned from my previous attempt and start something fresh. Seems to have worked for me. I can sell the new stories much faster than I could the old ones.

  2. Oh yeah man, been there. I usually take a few hours to do something that clears my mind and makes me want to be an Awesome Writer. A movie that kicks me in the ass, a trip to the museum, something like that. It’s like hitting my reset button.

    Jamie’s idea works for me too, when I’m not trying to rewrite something requested. I don’t really clean out the old ideas until I’ve done something new with them, technically speaking, but I definitely start over often enough.

    What’s your usual method? Or isn’t there one?

  3. I wish I was swamped with ideas; instead I feel parched. You can make that dead line, just glue your a** to the chair and good luck.

  4. If a story/idea has been sitting in the folder so long the flame of inspiration no longer deems it worthy to flicker over, then I delete it. If it’s really that good, it will come back, if not, then I’ve saved some grey matter by not having to concern myself with it anymore (God knows I have little enough to spare).

    As for the new ending, if I can write a whole new last third in a day, I’m sure you can rattle off this one in way less time.

    Good luck.

  5. I hate the funks. Every story seems to run into a dead end, or else simply doesn’t gel. Sometimes you just need to throw your hands up in the air and say, “Fine, BE that way!”

    Then your brain decompresses and eventually remembers how to function.

  6. When I lose the thread of a story (easy to do when its been sitting a while), I junk it. No hesitation. The idea will come back to me later, most likely in an improved form. Trim the dead wood to encourage new growth.

  7. I have to knock out a short story in a few days, one week tops, or it goes bye-bye. I think Jamie nailed it with the old idea/new idea comparison, for me at least. Some of my old ideas were really tired (as in used too often).

    I have to write my way out of funk, but yeah, we’ve all been there. It’s so much a part of being a writer, the Gotham Writers Workshop book has a section all about the funk.

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