"It's like taking a nap on that little rug when you were in kindergarten."

Funk Up The Un-Funk, MOJO Your No-JO

What do you do when you’re in a funk and you can’t seem to write, get the creative juices flowing, or get your mojo going?

This was the question, my friend Humaira, at Riatarded posed in her post Uninspired Chronicles. Be sure to check out the responses from other bloggers at that link, if you need inspiration.

I’m gonna be totally honest, here’s how my brain typically works (except for the money part):

Brain, ideas, out of funk, inspiration

Sometimes it’s way more active at night, and of course, most is forgotten in the morning.

***

What do I do when I’m in a dry spell?
How do I get the funk out of my trunk?

A few things that I’ve done:

1. Observe what’s happening around me. I call it the “Seinfeld affect.” Everyday life gives us so many opportunities for blog/writing fodder. And the simpler the things that happen, sometimes the better the material.

2. Watch a comedy or drama on tv. A show, a story line, or even one sentence out of your viewing can be enough to trigger your thought process.

3. Take a walk out in nature. If you’re near a beach – why yes, I am now, or the desert, mountains, or stream – soak it all in. Maybe a photo opportunity, or thought will come to mind.

Beach, Oceanside, out of funk, inspiration

4. Pull out a magazine and flip through the pages for something that grabs your attention. It might be something visual, or something written that strikes a spark.

5. For you artistic types: Grab your camera and look for shots that get the creative juices flowing. Or pull out the pastels, paintbrush, or pencil and put something on paper or canvas.

Art, paint, ideas, out of funk, inspiration

6. Reading other blogs is a fantastic source of inspiration. I’ve read one word in a blog, and totally ran with that word for a post that’s completely unrelated to what I read in the other person’s post. However, that one word was just what I was needing at the time. Very serendipitous!!

7. If I’m REALLY struggling – thankfully not very often – I’ll type in “prompts” in Google and see if anything gets me un- funk – ed.

***

Hopefully, one or more of these ideas is helpful in getting your mojo going again.

Don’t get discouraged – there’s no need to feel uninspired, or get frustrated.

***

What things do you do to get out of an uninspired funk?

Comments

  1. Mj this is awesome! In fact, I have printed this out and put it in a folder :)

    I will be using these tips often! :D

  2. Serendipitous is one of my favorite words. :) I have the sleep problem too, but instead of being brilliant and getting up and recording the perfect scene in my head, I keep trying (unsuccessfully) to sleep. I haven’t found the perfect storm of un-funking yet. I just keep funking trying, Eventually I’ll funking figure something out.

  3. Yay! I’ve missed you and am glad you are back!

    How do I un-funk? I do a bit of Gonzo writing. Seems ideas come right up.

  4. Hi,
    Fantastic tips to get your mojo back. It is always good as well to keep pen and paper handy in case an idea pops up especially while trying to sleep, jot it down, then concentrate on sleeping. :)

    • Thanks Mags.

      Wish I could do the pen and paper thing at night. I’ve always thought about that, but then don’t want to wake MLB. It does keep me from sleeping though.

  5. Oooer, The Oatmeal! He’s SO bad, he’s GREAT!

    >6. Reading other blogs is a fantastic source of inspiration. I’ve read one word in a blog, and totally ran with that word for a post that’s completely unrelated to what I read in the other person’s post.
    – I’ve done this, too. Not just come up with a post of my own, I (now shamelessly) refer to comments I’ve made or read on other blogs and link the whole lot of ‘em up so that people know what I’m on about and don’t think I’m crazy, I mean, understand my otherwise cryptic comments clearly.

    In my case, when I decided to finally get my own blog going, I chose my theme to be sharing my experiences that I learned from or laughed at with a strong undercurrent of gratitude. Learning and laughing are two things primarily that draw me back to certain blogs (including yours).

    I’ve been away for close to a fortnight, too. Will comment on some of your earlier posts here itself.

    Without further delay, Congratulations on your move, MJ and YLB!

    >In fact, we’ve moved more times than most gypsies. In our 25+ years together, we’ve moved an average of once every two years, equating to 13 total moves.
    – Whoa. Nelly. Which is why Move 14 after Year 14 in California must have been very tough for the both of you. Settling in will be rough as well. Hang in there, be yourselves and your new hometown will love you right back, YLC (You Lovely Couple).

    >I leave you with a few songs about movin’ down the highway:
    – Love all these songs! I’m too sad to listen to music every time I leave home after my holidays, but I enjoy dancing to these numbers.

    Kate

    • The link to The Oatmeal got corrupted, so I had to move to a new picture.

      “sharing my experiences that I learned from or laughed at with a strong undercurrent of gratitude.” That’s such a great way to write and to live one’s life. Good on you, Kate!

      Thanks for the kind words about the move. As soon as I find employment, things will settle down tremendously (or so I think, hehe).

      Will there be pictures of you dancing?? bwahahahaha ;)

  6. Great ideas! I like to do the TV watching and magazine reading… I mean, I do them anyway, but I call them something constructive like “working on inspiration” so I don’t feel so lazy doing them. You know.

  7. I’ve found morning shows and/or Dr. Oz to be a divine source of CRAZY.

    I mean, where else would I learn about how a penis breaks during sex? Many thanks go out to Dr. Oz for that future blog post inspiration…and I’m sure you’ll all waiting with baited breath for that fun little post…

    ;)

    • Funny, I just saw a piece of Dr. Oz for the first time ever, today!

      Okay, that visual is hurting me. MUST not think about that pain! That will be a memorable post, my friend. :)

  8. Great tips, MJ. I agree about reading other blogs, I often will get a spark of something from a word or phrase and then just run with it in another direction. I absolutely agree on the simplest things make for the best stories. It’s fun to create a scene based on an everyday occurance and twist it to make it funny or interesting (like Seinfeld) Of course, my biggest source of inspiration is my family. But if I’m really stuck, I talk a walk to clear my mind and stories just come to me.

    • You do such a great job of taking everyday things and making them hilariously funny.

      I doubt you have many roadblocks to getting blog material, D! Especially with the kids at home.

  9. EXACTLY, Michael Monaghan, Exactly ~ an excellent write here. Sometimes the connection is ‘unconscious’ or ‘subconscious’ at the moment of my writing and I remember later. One of my recent blogs was about a coffee situation in our home. Later on I remembered, you know Monaghan wrote that cool blog all about coffee. Another blog I wrote, I hoped I had put my Mama letter’s in my vast picture boxes which is a whole project to be undertaken. Later on, I remembered that Monaghan blog with that delightful pic of ‘very young you’ and you spoke of your family sorting through your pictures. In however the way of the Universe works, we have established connection. Most recently I had written a blog because I had made some comments on another blog and further recent events had also transpired that caused me to think it all through and write it up.
    * * *
    As a fairly new blogger, I don’t know if this is considered lack of mojo or exactly what this is….most often….I have tons and tons and tons of things that transpire and somewhat inspire. However (the ‘but’ of it) is a whole lotta this stuff has to roll in my brain (like good size rocks in a dryer) for an indeterminate time until I some kind of weird knowing I got the take of what it and I now can write it together.
    * * *
    The one thing I have gotten away from and need to get started on is whatever the modern version of ‘idea box’ is. Decades ago I wrote poetry & prospective song lyrics. Sometimes a particular phrase or word choice would ‘hit me’ out of the blue. I used to write it down and put it in a small wooden box (exactly like a recipe card box). Back then there was many a time I would get something out of the ‘idea box’ and put it together. I am your friend @grammakaye on twitter.

    • Sounds like your thought and inspiration process is very similar, my friend.

      I love your idea box concept. I remember someone else in my past doing this, but can’t remember who it was, for the life of me. You should go back to that, for sure.

      Thank you as always for your great comments and feedback, Kaye!

      • I so appreciate knowing you Michael Monaghan. I realized I had one them g-ma brain thingies vs. typing fingers, didn’t get my thoughts posted exactly correctly. I see I could count on you to understand them and me. Glad to see you out and about and around on Friday! :)

  10. Great tips. I guess what works to inspire also depends on the theme of your blog. For me it would be just to whip out my camera and head out with Sophia or run through my photo stash for some pictures of her. For a food blogger it would simply be to find a new place to review. I often have days where I have ideas but my writing is simply uninspiring though. I wish there were an easy way to get out of that. Perhaps a brain transplant :P

    • Well, Sophia is great for your blog. She is beautiful and very photogenic. I’m sure she provides a lot of material to write about, too. Don’t think a brain transplant is necessary for you. :)

  11. All fantastic suggestions, MJ! I try to keep a list of 3-4 topics I will write about. I jot topic ideas down when they pop in my head. They never pop in my head on command, btw. Then on my to-do list I knock them off during the week. I already know what Monday’s post is. :)

  12. I am always creative at night. I have found it best to write my thoughts down right away, even if it is only a few words. Keeping a notebook by the bed, or at times, even getting out of bed to write down my thoughts, has allowed me to be able to fall asleep better. I also find inspiration from the activities around me, as well as reading other blogs/articles. Great post as well as great ideas!

  13. I find that I can’t force it. As you say, a walk or a diversion is the quickest way to get the mind back on writing. And sometimes, I have to let go of control. If my characters want to misbehave, I just have to let them. If I don’t, they snub their noses and refuse to cooperate. I had to give one an eating disorder before she would revisit my muse. Another got locked in the attic by a couple of elderly people. I don’t enjoy doing these things to my heroines, but they insist. Then things get rolling.

  14. I have a friend who thinks most creatively in the shower. She even has a waterproof pen set to jot down ideas!

  15. My issue is not themes or event, but time to write them down, edit, add photos, and post them in a timely manner to the events. Gardening is a good time to let the mind wander.
    Oscar

  16. I’ve stopped forcely myself to post. One reason I could never participate in the daily blogging ‘groups’. I also create drafts and come back to them when the time feels right. I’ve just discovered the search terms that people use to find me and that will be lots of fun!

    • I agree with you. Forcing it is a bad idea. I too, have drafts that I come back to. Sometimes months later. It works for me, though.

      I’ll be interested to see those search terms, Kanerva.

  17. I grab the camera and get outside to see what Mother Nature has to offer. Usually, there’s a post out there waiting to be written!

  18. Awesome. I’m very funky lately – in fact I wrote about it this morning. Maybe I will try one or two of these to un-funkify.

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