Friday, January 16, 2009

Getting In (and Out) of the Pool of Writing Funk

It's time for the blog chain again, and this time, you have to put up with me. That's right, folks, I get to choose the topic. Since I've been struggling with this the past few days weeks months, I'm interested to know what other writers do. We're gonna be all over the Elana-pool today, so prepare yourselves. Maybe a life jacket or two. One of those buoy things. Whatever keeps you afloat.

Ready? Let's jump in.

When you're in a pool of writing funk, how do you get out? And this is the deep end, people. Answers like, "take a walk" or "call my mom" won't cut it. That will leave you splashing in the deep end without a life preserver. And I had to fire my lifeguard last week for obvious budget cuts, so don't even go there. This is deep, people.

Now doggie paddle to the shallow end. I want your favorite funny and/or thing that makes you happy. A cartoon. A quote. An lol cat (just for you Michelle). A song. Something I can steal and put in my arsenal to combat the writing blues. Pull out your best one, peeps. I need something good this month. You never know, your "life-saver" could become mine. Yes, I'm just that illegal.

Not sure what the Pool of Writing Funk is? Maybe you've heard of the Lake of Self-Doubt. No? The Ocean of What-the-heck-am-I-doing? Or maybe each rain drop in your life seems to whisper, "You're not good enough." These all contribute to the pool.

So I guess I have to wallow in my own pool. When I'm in a funk, which seems to be happening every other day these days, what do I do? First, I don't wallow alone. That's right. I drag others down with me. Lol! No, seriously, my writerly friends are a tremendous help to me. All it takes is a post, an email or an IM and I'm with people who understand. (I guess you could say you call your mom if she's also a writer and knows what it feels like to be on the losing end of this whole writing thing. Otherwise, don't…just don't.)

Another thing I try to do when I'm feeling out of sorts is read. I've had to make the rule that blogs and forums don't count. kenyit A book. An article. (Right, like I'm that deep. Puh-lease.) Mostly books. I also plan an escape. For me, this is into a virtual world. I love to play video games. I killed Piñata Party. I raised those piñatas like nobody's business. My garden ruled. I also like Bookworm, and that game always provides an escape for me. From life, from writing, from that stupid character who just won't do what I want them to. Or the plot hole. Yeah, I run from those.

Okay, give me a sec to get to the shallow end of the pool. Whenever I need something to make me spew on the screen, I retreat to the TV. I know, I know, some of you don't like TV. But there is nothing like watching an episode of The Office. Maybe Seinfeld. Now that you can watch pretty much anything you want OnDemand, I can always slam the computer closed and curl up on the couch with the remote in hand. I love to laugh, and there's nothing like a good sitcom to cheer me up. Here's my favorite clip from The Office. Yeah, I like physical humor stuff.

That is my kind of exercise!

And this one is the funniest thing I've seen in like, forever. I rewound it over and over. Dwight is my favorite character. Well, maybe Jim. Or Stanley. Dude, I love them all!

Can't. Stop. Laughing. And that's the shallow end of the Elana-pool, people.

Ahem, back to the Pool of Writing Funk. All this and you don't even have to wear your swimming suit to dive into this pool. Check out what Leah does while floundering in the pool and meet me back here for a complete hot-towel wrap up at the end of the chain.


H. L. Dyer said...

Ew. I don't think I want to swim in a pool of funk. *snort*

Great topic otherwise, Elana. :)

Michelle McLean said...

Okay, I LOVE this topic! And as you are on my list of people I email when I am in a funk, you already know all about my funkiness ;)

Lis said...

Loved the office clips. I hate to say that my favorite one was "that was she said." I seriously almost died laughing. I convinced Mary to come in town today, wanna come over for cake tonight or breakfast in the morning? I'll give you a call.

Elana Johnson said...

Lis - you had me at "cake." I'm so there.

Anonymous said...

Funny post. It will be great to see what other writers do to get out of the writing funk. :)

HA! My verification word is MISMEN I guess that's cuz you had to let the lifeguard go...

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

January is a funky month, so this is a timely topic! I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else posts.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oooh, I love this pool topic. Best thing about it? No bathing suit required.

PS. My word is buffun. As in the way I say muffin when I have a stuffed up nose.

Carolyn Kaufman | @CMKaufman said...

Great topic. And you are so clever with all your extended metaphor: lifeguard, deep end/shallow end, hot towel wrap-up.

You are just made of awesome!

Jenn said...

I have floundered in the Ocean of What-the-Heck-am-I-Doing many times. My main coping skill is to do the backfloat as long as it takes, waiting for someone to rescue me. I don't recommend it (now you know why it takes me decades to write a book), but you asked what we do. LOL.

Personally, I don't get "The Office." I don't know why it's funny. But, I'll tell you something that /is/ funny. It's beyond hilarious, in my opinion. Your Office clip reminded me of it. Have you ever seen anything about "The Hawaii Chair"? I LOL every time I watch Ellen Degeneres make fun of it on her show. There are tons of other videos that have been made making fun of it, too, that are all hilarious. Even their own infomercial cracks me up. Check it out at

I hope this helps you out on the shallow end at least.

My verification word of the day: bothsan. I guess we are both "san" whatever that is. :)

Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...

The exercise ball cracked me up. Laine has one of those, and I've often fantasized popping it. Vicarious living. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I Love this...I suffer from the "What the ____ do I think I am doing; I CAN'T WRITE" blues more often than I'd like to admit. What do I do, BESIDES talk with writer friends...Well, this may sound silly, but I either watch a movie I LOVE or play with my new Wii Fit. I will tell you - the Wii FIT is almost as addicting as the internet!!!


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