The Key To Getting Your Writing Mojo Back

If you’ve been following my blog for the last few months, you’ll know I’ve been spending this year working on rewrites.

I’m currently rewriting the second book in my YA series, Blackbirch. I wrote the first draft of book two in 2003, the fifth draft in 2018, and that’s the one I’m rewriting now in 2019.

In fact, I’ve been writing this whole series since 2001, when I penned the first draft for book one (which is being published early next year), and along the way, managed to write four drafts for book three, and five for book four.

This isn’t a humble brag or record. In all honesty, I should have been done with this series years ago. The point I’m (badly) trying to make is that we can work on a piece of writing for a long time. And when you’ve worked on something for so long and you know the twists, turns, and the characters inside out, writing yet another draft is usually the last thing you want to do.

You lose your writing mojo and doing anything other than working on your MS is instantly more appealing. It also doesn’t help that we’re in an age of peak TV and Marvel movies.

So, how do you get the will to write back? What have I done to sit at my keyboard and rewrite a scene I know so well I can quote whole passages from it? It involves hitting up an old productivity favorite and drumming up some friendly competition.

The Key To Getting Your Writing Mojo Back

Set A Time Limit

As talked about in one of my first blogs, using a timer method like the Pomodoro Technique gets you writing. You might not want to work on your book, but are you willing to for only 25 minutes?

If you can sit down and do that, chances are you’ll want to keep writing. Even if you don’t, you still wrote for 25 minutes and added sentences that wouldn’t have existed if you’d watched another episode of The Big Bang Theory again instead.

If you feel you can go above and beyond a 25-minute timer, commit to an hour of writing a day. The reason it took me eighteen years to get four books (mostly) written was because the first few years I was writing sporadically. There were even six whole years where I didn’t write at all.

To get back into the habit of regular writing, and to make some actual progress on the series, I committed to writing for one hour a day.

That was it! Just one hour. It got me into the habit of daily writing and is the reason I have more than just one measly draft of each book.

Seek Some Friendly Competition

Now, when you’re on something like the twentieth draft (true story) and so sick of your story, all the one hour time blocks in the world will not get you at your keyboard. When that happens, it’s time to up the ante and seek some friendly competition.

I did this recently when I joined the #6amAusWriters on Twitter. If you’re on Twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of “am” writing hashtags. I scrolled past them for months. Finally, knowing I really wanted to get my rewrites done after six months of rearranging my sentences, I joined such a hashtag.

Suddenly, I was working on my MS at a time when I was previously sleeping, penning words I honestly don’t think I would have gotten down otherwise. Writing first thing agreed with me (although some mornings it’s a struggle). And while I don’t recommend staying up to midnight binge-watching season 3 of Stranger Things and then expecting to write anything coherent six hours later, it can be done (another true story).

As for the friendly competition aspect, everyone checks in at the end of the hour. Although we’re all working on different things and at different speeds, there’s something motivating about saying you wrote 500 words or hearing how someone else cracked 1,000. It makes you want to beat your own word count. Having others waiting to check-in/write with you also inspires you to show up again the next day (although I draw the line at getting up that early on weekends).

Having that allotted, shared writing time made me focus—as long as I don’t get caught in a Twitter rabbit hole finding the perfect “I’m here” gif. There have even been days when the only time I got any work done on my draft was because I was up writing with others at 6 am.

If you can find yourself a similar group, or an accountability buddy, use the friendly competition to help you find your love of writing again. Teamed with timed goals, I’ve found it’s the key to getting your writing mojo back.

— K.M. Allan

48 thoughts on “The Key To Getting Your Writing Mojo Back

  1. Great tips! For a while last year I joined the 5am writers club, but I’ve slipped since. You’ve inspired me to try and get back to it! ❤ Also your newsletter sounds brilliant, can't wait for that! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Meelie! Good on you for even attempting 5am. The only reason I joined the 6am writers was because it wasn’t super early 😅. I love it, just this week I added over 3,000 words to my rewrites, and I know for sure I wouldn’t have done that if I wasn’t getting up early to write. I hope you like the newsletter 😊.

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  2. The fact I would be tired of working on the same thing over and over again is probably why I went on and done at least early drafts of the sequels as well, so I weave between them. It also helps me solidify the connection between the books and sometimes give me an idea about hinting something when I get back to editing the first piece.
    Then, my imagination works in mysterious ways and writing on a schedule never worked for me. I haven’t written a single line since the start of the month (apart from pre-drafting future blog posts) and now I busted out almost 10k words in two days (while my plan was to ‘write just a bit’). I also find weaving reading between the drafts is something to help my imagination and motivation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great word count, Tom! It would take me weeks to reach that, which is probably another insight into why it’s taken me so long to finish this series 😅. I love that you weave between your drafts to keep your inspiration up. Great tip!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I am far from a fast writer. I just do it in bursts instead of small daily servings. My average might be close to the same 500 words/day in the end, just not as neatly distributed over time.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ruth Miranda

    I have the opposite problem, and need a post on the key to getting your writing mojo down so you can rest and do other stuff like living, for instance, or watching one TV show without giving up after five minutes because you’d rather be writing…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have had a break from writing while I’ve been travelling and – on return – buying and adjusting to a new puppy. I’m really finding it hard to get back in.
    I now have motivation – a November deadline for a competition to enter my re-imagined Cinderella story (as seen through the eyes of Buttons, the dog, Euphemia the godmother and the stuttering Prince), and I think I prefer editing to writing… but where did the time go while I’ve been doing other things?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You have no idea how much I needed to read this right now. Still in my 3rd re-write of my current MS, I looked back and realized my initial first draft started in 2015! I thought “how the hell has this been going on for so long?” Of course, I’ve had a bunch of other projects happen between now and then, but I am committed (with a time limit!) to finishing it this year, finally. So, this is clearly not a unique condition we find ourselves in. On a totally separate note, it boggles my mind when I hear on those indie/self-publishing podcasts that people crank out a book every 3 months. That seems totally impossible to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was putting together the dates for this post, I couldn’t believe it had really taken me this many years to write these drafts. Feels shorter but longer at the same time 😅. I’m glad to know it’s not just me who takes years to work on an MS, and I can’t believe some writers get a whole book written in three months too. A first draft, maybe? But a finished book? 🤯. It’s good that you’ve set yourself a deadline/time limit. I’m sure it’ll help. Good luck with it 😊.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Such a great post! I especially like the idea of joining a morning writing hashtag. I love writing in the morning, but I’ve been working the 3 p.m. to midnight shift at my job, so it’s about 1 a.m. by the time I even drive home. So I haven’t been the best at getting out of bed when I like lol. I might have to find a hashtag to get me moving.

    Also, I laughed out loud at “the rumor is subscribers will learn what the “K” in K.M. Allan stands for.” I am definitely signing up for this newsletter! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Madeline! 😅 I’m happy you get my humour. Joining the 6am writers has been one of the best decisions I’ve made lately. It’s really helped me make some decent, regular progress on my WIP. Definitely join one when you get the chance. That’s a crazy schedule you have. How is the new job?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey! Sorry I liked this comment and totally got distracted and forgot to reply! I haven’t been a very good blogger lately lol 😅 My new job is good! Definitely some pros and cons. I like what I do, but I either work the 6 a.m to 3 p.m. shift or the 3 p.m. to midnight shift…which are weird hours to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Those are weird hours and I can understand why everything else falls to the wayside. Don’t worry about it, you’ll blog again when you can! Glad to hear you’re enjoying your new job. That’s the most important part.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Lyn Webster

    I completely agree. Getting up with the gang at 6am has made such a difference. Getting that first chunk of words down before anything else happens in the day somehow makes it easy to come back later and add a few more. And I’m writing every day now, which I’ve never done before. Even after only a few weeks, it would feel very strange not to start each day with some writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is very reassuring after falling off the wagon due to various life events. We really do have all the time in the world – so what if it takes years?

    K.M. thanks again for sharing your story, and that your writing journey had been across several years. It makes me feel better about slowing down for a while, because I need to.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Naomi! You letting me know on Twitter that you don’t mind reading blogs with personal stories is the reason why I added mine to this post 😊. Definitely slow down when you need to. The words are always waiting, no matter how long it takes.


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