I don’t know about anyone else, but I have this problem in a terrible way every single year. I call it the January Blues. Some call it a bad case of writer’s block, but its more than writer’s block. It’s a mental jam and physical debilitation that leaves me with no motivation whatsoever. I always tell myself it won’t happen next year, and then next year arrives and guess what? Yep. Never fails. It really starts in December and sometimes even overlaps to February, but I spend weeks (months even) in a terrible writing funk. It usually ends up being my least productive time of the year, and it’s infuriating. Sound familiar?
What causes this state of “January Blues”? It’s a combination of weather, shorter days, getting less sunlight, getting over the stressing holidays, changes in diet, changes in sleep patterns, new year goals (some that even might be unrealistic), ect. It’s a state of depression that’s hard to break without a little extra help. People from all walks of life get it, but it can be crippling for those in the creative profession.
No matter how bad it gets, I do get over it. Usually it takes a great deal of effort on my part. It’s almost like climbing a mountain, at least that’s how it feels to me. It’s like no matter how hard I try, the top is always too far away, but I keep on climbing anyways, because stopping just isn’t an option. One day it happens, I crest the top to see the beautiful scenery below and it feels good- real good. But getting there… well, that takes super human effort.
So how do I do it? How do I shed the Blues and move on? Here are a few things that have worked for me…
Get out and Socialize
One of the best ways to fight the Blues is to get out and be with friends. Just the act of getting out of the house, and doing something that’s not routine can do wonders.
Get Regular Exercise
This helps keep the body active and healthy. It stimulates the mind and gets the blood pumping.
An important part of staying healthy and creative is to eat well. Make sure to get plenty of fruits and veggies every day. A lack of the right nutrients and vitamins can play havoc on a creative mind.
Join a Writing Group
Being active in a writing group is a must as a writer. Either get more active with a current group, or join a new group.
This is a big one for helping to clear the jumbled chaos of the mind. Can’t think straight? Or have trouble focusing? Just a short (8 to 10 minutes) mediation session each day can help with that. The longer meditation can be sustained (duration, and days in a row completed), the better is works.
Realistic Goal Setting
Sometimes setting unrealistic goals can wreck serious havoc on the self esteem. Reevaluate and adjust to a more comfortable and manageable level.
Take a Break
There’s always work to do. Things to get done, but sometimes a break is necessary. Allow time to not write for awhile and use the time to restore the creative juices.
Do Something Fun
Stop working on that novel for awhile. Do a short story. Try a poem. Do something fun, and rediscover the joy of writing.
Get Enough Sleep
Keeping late nights can take a toll on the body. Getting enough regular sleep can do wonders to restore a person’s sanity. Try to get seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
Talk to Someone
Sometimes talking to someone might help. There may be issues that need to be discussed, aired out, or just talked through. Find someone trustworthy and unload.
Realize too that it will take more than just one thing from the list above to kick the Blues. It may take all the list, or parts of it, but the more that can be done the better chance of success. The Blues can’t be overcome overnight. Usually it takes conscious effort for a period of time (weeks or days, depending on how bad it is) to exit this depressive state. Just don’t give in or give up. Keep hiking upward to climb that mountain. View that gorgeous scenery, and finally get back into the writing groove!