05 January 2022

Lost My Mojo

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!


This month I'm a co-host! The other awesome co-hosts are Erika BeebeOlga GodimSandra Cox, and Chemist Ken!

This month's optional question is: What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

I know I've talked about this before, but definitely entering Pitch Wars. Not only was my book not even remotely ready for a contest like that, but the feedback I got was so negative that it sent me into a depression that I'm honestly not sure I've 100% recovered from. I've gotten back into my book several times since then, I've gained and lost the passion over and over again, but I think that was what started it. 
 
I mean, I'm so traumatized from the whole thing that I have "Pitch Wars" muted on Twitter. I don't ever want to hear a single thing about it ever again. 

My insecurities this month are slightly related. There isn't any specific reason for it, but when it comes to writing, or really being creative at all, I feel like I've lost my mojo. 


I just feel like I don't have a creative bone in my body right now. I have no desire to work on ANY writing, not just UL. That drive just isn't there. I know life has been tough lately, too, between work being extremely stressful (short staff for months and Covid is only getting worse), having to put Gizmo down in October, two deaths in my husband's family, and just the fact that anxiety and depression are issues I already struggled with, certainly not helped by everything that's been going on. 

I still feel optimistic sometimes. I like to be silly (see above gif). I try not to get weighed down with heavy things. I try to leave work stress at work. Hubby and I and have been having nice date nights by going to the movies and dinner, but I'm starting to feel nervous about going out in public again. So many people at my work are testing positive and we're all vaccinated. I also eat my feelings so I have been gaining more weight than I'd like. 

I just haven't been even thinking about writing lately. And between losing that and my cat, I feel like I've lost my social media identity. My Twitter was all about writing, Instagram all about the cat. It's so hard to figure out what to post now. I feel lost. 

I'm taking things one day at a time, though. I don't want to pressure myself too much and feel overwhelemd. My only writing goals this week were to write this post, do my co-hosting duties, and visit other blogs on my reading list or who comment on my post. In the past I would have tacked on a bunch more writing related goals for the week, but I think this is enough. Next week, I'll pick something else. 

My favorite saying has become "one thing at a time." When you're thinking of all the million things you want or need to get done that you think your brain is going to explode, just focus on what the very next step is. Then the next one, and so on. It's really helped my stress at work when I feel overwhelmed, and I think it could work for everything else in life, too. Don't focus on tomorrow if it's too much for you. Just worry about today.

50 comments:

  1. Very sorry about your cat. Pets are family.
    I went through that for several years after my fourth book. I didn't push it, I just waited for the urge to return. And it did. You'll find your mojo and inspiration again.
    Thanks for co-hosting today.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for co-hosting. I lose my writing desire all the time. Dealing with grief and uncertain times can make it difficult to focus on writing. I agree with you that taking it day by day and not worrying about it so much is the best approach.

    And sorry you had such a bad pitch wars experience.

    ReplyDelete
  3. And that is the best that you can do, ONE THING AT A TIME! You are doing the right thing. I read your post and let me say I've been there. Your lack of desire to write will change. When, I don't know, but it will as long as you don't push yourself. There have been times when writing an article for the IWSG was the only blog article I wrote in a month. I found out for myself that that was okay. Sometimes, stepping back and doing everything in slow motion is what a person needs. So continue doing what is best for you.
    All the best and thanks for co-hosting.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    ReplyDelete
  4. 100% focus on the here and now, the one step at a time. That is the best thing when we're feeling like crap - and I've been there, too. So sorry to hear about everything that's been happening recently. Thank you for co-hosting today, I hope it gives you a little positive boost from the writing community that we are here for you :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I feel you! Social media gives me anxiety. Taking time to recalibrate and recharge helps. Sending positive vibes. Thank you for co-hosting, and Happy New Year.
    Best,
    A

    ReplyDelete
  6. I hear you about one thing at a time. I'm also trying to make sure I'm doing things on purpose, focusing on whatever it is I'm doing in that moment.

    Hang in there, Sarah!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm sorry to hear of your losses and your down times. That's okay to feel bad. I think you are approaching your recovery by focusing on each day. I feel there are seasons for writing and seasons for not writing. Seasons change. Wishing you all the best!

    ReplyDelete
  8. (((HUGS))) Sarah! I must be a terrible coward but I would never open my virgin work up to that many total strangers - my confidence is too fragile. Even after being with the same critique group for 30 years, I still get anxious. Of course, when you publish, EVERYONE gets to have a say, so now may be a good time to start developing that thick skin and to tell yourself "Well, my work may not be for everyone and just isn't your cup of tea!" But it will be for others. Trust me! Thanks for co-hosting this month!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm sorry you're going through such a rough time. I've encountered lots of people who are completely pandemic-ed out. Myself included. I'm determined to get out around people and get my life back to normal. I'm nurse, so I've had work to get me out of the house, but that's not enough.

    About your writing... I haven't read it, so I don't know if the negative critique was justified. The harshness certainly wasn't.

    My early works were amateurish and awful. But I kept trying and kept learning from blog posts, books, and critique partners, and now I'm publishing books that pass muster with my CPs and get good reviews. It's a process. If you keep trying and growing in your skill, you will get better. Please don't give up.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh no, I'm so sorry for all the loss you've suffered. All the stress and total uncertainty of the last year has sucked the creative juices from a lot of us I'm afraid.
    I've never tried the Twitter pitch wars sounds scary!
    Trust yourself though and write from the heart. You can do it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. You're going through a lot, and that sucks. I hope things improve this year and that you find your mojo again. I totally get how negativity can kill passion. I've faced that myself, and it's crap. You've got the right motto to get through this.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sometimes life sucks, especially when Gizmo passed and negative comments arrived. Behind all your grief and uncertainty, I read a desire and ability to make whatever changes need to be done. When the time is right. 
You get high marks for contributing to IWSG and co-hosting this month. 
Quote from Jack Lemmon, “Spread a little sunshine.”
    That does help.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You'd be surprised how many people feel exactly how you do. Just let it wash through you. You'll come out fine!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I hear what you're saying, Sarah. My first step onto the publishing stage was devastating. The first review I received was terrible, and I was sure I couldn't write another word. But I did. It just takes a lot more courage to put yourself out there the second time, but I know you can do it.

    Thanks for sharing your story and for co-hosting today.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just one thing at a time is perfect. I agree. I have been saying "small steps" and "one step at a time" to myself for a few years now. It helps.
    I am so sorry for your losses. It's good to feel the feelings.
    Thank you for sharing and co-hosting today. Authenticity is good.

    ReplyDelete
  16. That's terrible you were shot down like that. All it takes is one person or moment.

    I'm very sorry you lost your dear cat.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Happy New Year, Sarah! Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG question.

    Whenever I send out my writing, I hope and pray an editor will tell me it is wonderful. The most helpful feedback, I think, is to show the writer what is good first and then help them to see what needs work.

    All writers receive difficult feedback. Before you attack your work, make sure the feedback is correct. Is it from someone whose writing [or work] you respect? Do you feel they are correct in their points? The areas they bring up in your work, did they bother you as you tried to create them?

    Small steps, my dear. Positive thinking. It is terribly difficult. This happens to many writers. Especially me!



    ReplyDelete
  18. You are going through such a rough time. This is when you need your friends. Some of us have been where you are right now. Everything is conspiring to overwhelm you. Step back, evaluate your priorities. Date Night with your Hubs is an excellent idea. One step at a time. Accept that times are tough. Losing your pet is extra hard, on top of everything else. It's okay to let your writing (and anything else) fall by the wayside. You'll find your mojo again. Re: Pitch Wars. It's harder to let someone's opinion go. Some people don't realize how much their words hurt. Or they don't care. (That's worse.) I can remember every cutting word about my work(s). Do I remember the good things? Not so much, and I should. Set aside the hurtful words. Believe in yourself. I'm glad you didn't give up IWSG. We're here for you. Thanks for cohosting.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sorry for your rough patch... makes this support group all the more valuable, doesn't it. You feel deeply and I hope you soon plumb the words on your heart and soul to complete the book you wish to write.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Virtual hugs to you, Sarah. You've identified an excellent strategy to climb out of the Slough of Despond: focus on one thing at a time. That's my mantra for 2022 for a different reason--the stress and upheaval of 2021 left my brain spinning like a coked-up squirrel. Here's to a brighter 2022. You've got this, one baby step at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh, you packed a lot into that post and I can relate to so much of it. Focus is my biggest problem. So many ideas in my head that keep me running all over the place until I just want to sit and stare at the TV or something. One thing at a time is great advice. Now if I can take that to heart to a greater extent.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm sorry about your cat. Perhaps a kitten would be a good choice at this time. If nothing else, it would give you something fun/positive to interact with and love on. If you find your happy the rest will probably follow? (Feel free to ignore this unsolicited advice.)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I don't understand why people were so negative on a twitter pitch. That says a whole lot more about THEM than about you. I mean you can say something doesn't appeal to you without being negative or nasty. So, take a deep breath, shake that sh*t off, and maybe write something totally stupid like stream of conscious stuff, nonsense stuff, tell off all those negative people, laugh in the their faces. Become their worst nightmare!

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh, Sarah! I'm SO sorry about this. I do appreciate your thoughts regarding the pitch wars. I'm staying far away from that. It sounds like a nest of vipers vying for blood! *shiver*

    Writers need writers--especially in times like these. I'm here for you! Seriously, email me!

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth Mueller¨*•.♥

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm so sorry about your Pitch Wars experience. I know from personal experience that a bad critique is hard to come back from. I know for me focusing on writing for myself and tuning the world out helped a lot.
    I like how you're focusing on setting small goals and just taking one day at a time.
    In times like this, that's the best thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
  26. So sorry to hear about Gizmo and your family deaths. Those are soul-wrenching events that need space to heal.

    Do not let some nasty Twitter vipers steal your joy about your book. I finally left that cesspool. And you are right, "do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." But with grace, we will take it one step at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm so sorry you had a tough experience with Pitch Wars - I totally understand how difficult it is to get through that heart hit.
    One moment, one step, one breath at a time. Doing exactly as you're doing has got me through some tough times.
    *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Sarah...

    Thanks for dropping in at my blog. Nice to meet you! I know EXACTLY how you feel. I went for months and into a few years without writing anything. I never beat myself up though, and YOU SHOULDN'T either! I have had a LONG unpublished journey and queried my three novels to DEATH with some interest here and there, but NO representation. So, I stopped. I only forced myself to post for the IWSG every month and that was all my writing.

    Covid is depressing so many of us. I have gained a ridiculous amount of weight and now my blood pressure is sky high. A daily challenge to keep it down. Stress doesn't help. BUT through all that, I managed to write again last fall and entered several contests and actually WON a place in this year's IWSG anthology! This will be my first official published work! TWELVE years it took for me to get this far. I never gave up totally. Your muse will return and so will your writing. Let it happen naturally. Don't force it. When the time comes, it comes.

    Take care of yourself. Keep breathing. Binge-watch funny shows. DO what makes you feel good. That is the first step...

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm so sorry you got such negative feedback and had such a bad experience. I've had that in the past, too, and it really knocked me for a loop. Even now, I have miniature crises of writing esteem from some rejections and experiences. Take the time you need to grieve and then jump back in with both feet. You can do this.

    The Warrior Muse

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm glad to hear you're taking things one day at a time and trying to not put too much pressure on yourself. That's a great strategy to have. Like Shannon says, take all the time to grieve that you need. Writing will still be there when you're ready to come back to it.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Wow, that's a pretty heavy load to be dealing with. I've had my ups and downs, but I've never been out of writing for that long. I pray that with time, you will get your mojo back. May 2022 be a better year for you.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm glad you're taking it easy on yourself, muting what you need to clear out of your life, and moving forward. Good for you! Take all the time you need, and hopefully someday writing will be joy again. Thank you for co-hosting this month, especially hosting through the missing mojo. Happy IWSG day :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. One thing at a time is a very good approach. As you remove mental clutter from your life, maybe you'll find your mojo under some of it :) @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'm so sorry about all the negative things that hit you last year. That must've been a black stripe. My grandma always maintained that life is like a zebra, and a white stripe will always follow the black one. Take heart: good things must be in your future.
    As for Pitch Wars: I'll never understand creative competitions. They have nothing to do with the quality of the art (music, writing. etc.). Don't pay attention and trust yourself. Your muse will come back when you're both ready.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I am so sorry Pitch Wars left such a damaging impact. That is never a good outcome from something that should have built people up, even if their writing wasn't where the mentors would like it to be at the time. Seems to me there is a way to give constructive feedback, versus destructive. It is so hard after something like that to push the negative out of your mind, but I hope you are able to. So many of us out here are supportive and wanting to help writers grow- hopefully you can envelop yourself in those kinds of folks!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I’m so sorry for all you’re going through. But your small steps approach sounds like a good one. A little progress is better than none, and there’s nothing wrong with taking a break and being kind to yourself during traumatic times (or any times). And I know you don’t know me, but my inbox is open if you want to connect. I’m happy to lend an ear or an encouraging word.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your cat and all the other difficulties that make it difficult to be creative. Considering all you have been through, with the added trauma of pitch wars I think you're doing what is also very important for a writer, nurturing yourself.
    Thank you for being a co-host and Happy New Yea.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG blog hop this month!

    I'm so sorry that your experience with Pitch Wars was such a negative one.
    Take things slow... at your own pace. Self-care is very important.
    I'm sending positive vibes through the blogosphere!
    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm so sorry you went through that when you entered Pitch Wars. I've never entered because I wasn't brave enough. Even now I wouldn't because I know a negative experience would rip me to shreds. Sigh. I recently got a rejection that hit me when I was already down. I haven't written since the beginning of December. I'm not sure when I will.

    I am so sorry to hear about Gizmo and your loved ones. We've been going through some of the same things, so if you ever want to talk, maybe we can be there for each other. :) Take care of yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm so sorry to hear that you lost your cat recently. It's so hard to lose our furry family members. Give yourself time to grieve. You are really just honoring the one you loved. I'm also sorry that you had such a bad experience with Pitch Wars. I'm just learning about it and I don't think I'd have the backbone to participate. I think sometimes we need to regroup, take shelter in those we love, take time for ourselves and find our footing again. These past two years have definitely not been "normal." Don't be too hard on yourself. Do small things that bring you joy and hopefully your writing will be re-energized by it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Cyber hugs to you, dear one. You've had quite a downpour of upsets. Now you are an official survivor! Wear that badge proudly and embrace your silly side for awhile. Relax. Your muse is simply on vacation ;-) She'll return when you are ready.
    Thanks for co-hosting!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I'm so sorry about your cat.

    It sounds like you've got the right idea about "one thing at a time." No sense in beating yourself up about feeling overwhelmed.

    I hope you feel closer to the way you want to soon.


    ReplyDelete
  43. I hope you find that MoJo. I think it happens to all artists at some point. Thinking of you.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hopefully the support coming your way in these comments (along with love from family and friends) will help you heal from loss and achieve that one step at a time. Your courage in hosting IWSG right not is just Wow! Re Covid, are you wearing an N95 mask? Following protocols? Staying reasonably safe? Thank you for sharing your pitch experience. Thanks to you, I will stay away!!!! I'd rather just write my stories and hope you find your way back. PS Savannah Gilbo (check her out online) is my go-to writing guru for inspirational posts!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Well done for settling on 'one thing at a time'. Those are lots of multiple stress things, and writing can take a back seat till you're ready. Thanks for co-hosting this month. And pitching really isn't for me, either!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with Pitch Wars and that lately you haven't felt like writing. I think many have struggled to keep their enthusiasm going over the last couple of years due to the pandemic, and when you throw other life challenges, bereavement and mental health issues into the mix, it's even harder to get in the right frame of mind. I've just had a rubbish few months too, and I haven't written properly for ages either.
    I think you're "one thing at a time" mantra is a good one. I'm trying to do the same. It's easy to beat yourself up about not being "productive", but the experiences I had last year reminded me that nothing is really more important than health and family, so I'm focusing on those. If my writing goals don't get done then the world is not going to implode. We all need to cut ourselves some slack this year, I think. Take care, and I hope 2022 is kind to you.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thanks for co-hosting this month.
    Sorry pitch wars was so traumatic for you. Sorry you're struggling with your mojo. Definitely sorry to hear about your cat. I'm glad you focused on smaller goals this month and shared your story. Can't speak for others, but I can relate and appreciate your words.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Some writers have no problem writing when stressed out and then there are the writers like us. Stress kills all writing activity and then we stress out more about it. That's why I'm glad I have knitting and other crafty things as a hobby. Maybe that's something to consider. Pick up a crafty hobby that doesn't require much thinking and zen out.

    ReplyDelete
  49. "One thing at a time" is a really good motto, when things are overwhelming. Best of luck.

    ReplyDelete