Finding that writing mojo (or shaking the CBF virus)

The most common writing advice one ever receives is the obvious one: WRITE. The actual act of putting the words down is more important than everything else — including blogging and social media, reading educational posts and books, attending courses and conventions, meetings with the writers group.

Carve out writing time and protect it. Bum on seat. Write every day.

But what happens if you’re having “one of those days” (or weeks)? It may be that you’re really tired, or preoccupied, or busy, or the section you’re trying to write is really doing your head in; but the result is the same. You simply cannot be bothered writing and it seems so much easier to go and do just about anything else. (I’ve heard it referred to as the CBF virus.)

Okay, so let’s say you have the self-discipline to front up to your computer and open that document. BUT . . . but . . . you still have to produce the words.

So my question for today is this: How do you find your mojo and shake off the CBF virus?

Maybe not all writers experience the CBF virus, but I certainly do. There are of course days when my self-discipline sucks and I grab a book or watch TV instead; but most of the time I try to change my mindset into one that allows me to write. So I thought I would share some of my strategies:

  • One paragraph — I tell myself I only have to write one paragraph. That’s all. Just a few sentences. Then, by the time I’ve focused enough to come up with that paragraph, I’ve usually found my mojo and I can keep going.
  • Exercise — either a walk or some Wii Fit/yoga. Just enough to clear the head and shake off bad vibes.
  • Cooking — I’m not a huge cook, but it’s a good change of direction for the brain. And it doesn’t involve sitting at a desk. And I might get a food reward out of it.
  • Head to a cafe (with the computer) — I’ve become quite a fan of writing for short stints in cafes, and it’s another good way of rewarding myself for writing.
  • Wine — Enough said, really. But it depends on the time of day. And too much wine is counter-productive.

So those are my main strategies for shaking off the CBF virus and activating the wordmachine; mostly they work quite well. (I’ll update this post if I think of any more.)

I am really interested in hearing some new ideas for how to overcome the CBF virus, so please do add a comment to this post if you have some different strategies!

2 thoughts on “Finding that writing mojo (or shaking the CBF virus)

  1. The only method that I have used in the past which has always worked has been to force myself to sit down and write that first paragraph (for me it is 400 words -more than a token effort and once you do start writing you invariably find it ends up being more like 600-1000 words).

    BUT (and this is from recent experience) getting myself to open that Word document and actually start the 400 words is getting harder and harder. I’ve had a few good excuses of late, but they have all run out now, yet I’m still struggling to get to that Word document.

    So really, I think it all just comes down to willpower. You have to really want it!


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