The Nasty Mr Migraine stole my Mojo

I was doing well this week. In fact, I would say I was on a roll this month. I’d increased my workload and re-written nearly 10k words by mid-month. I was in a good routine, writing most evenings after work, my mind was uncluttered and I had a clear vision of where each scene was heading.

Then the nasty Mr Migraine put in an appearance.


I’ve been a migraine sufferer all my life, particularly my adult life. I take a few things my doctor prescribed and the severity and frequency is dramatically better than it was five or ten years ago. So far this year, I’ve only had three migraines. I’ve had spells when I regularly had three a week so in seven weeks, three is a breeze. 🙂

I had one Thursday and didn’t do any writing. Fair enough. It’s only one day after all. I can recover and get back into things. Roll on Friday!

I had a minor migraine at work on Friday and felt washed out in the evening so didn’t do any writing then either. Back to back migraines are fine. More than once I’ve had SEVEN migraines in seven days. THAT WAS FUN!

All those other migraines were worse that these recent two, so they are not even worth comparing. It’s still only two days without writing and no problem. I’ve gone longer this year without writing anything. I don’t HAVE to write every day.

Today was the day to get back into things. The weekend arrived and I wanted to pick up where I’d left off. At least I would if I could find my clarity. My mind’s cluttered with stupid details floating around. I am out of synch with the story, the characters and the routine.

My flow has gone. I was in the zone and the nasty Mr Migraine stole my Mojo (and by Mojo I refer to my ability to write, my creative spark – nothing sexual!).

As Jim Morrison sang, “We want the world and we want it … now.” Well I want the world and my writing back, NOW!

I’m going to take tonight off and see what tomorrow brings. I always find the day after a migraine is one of confusion, lethargy and doubt. Maybe I’ve just amplified that a little and a good night’s sleep will bring it all flooding back.

If you find my Mojo floating around the interweb anywhere will you please send it back to me or tweet it this way. Thanks 😀

What do you do to get back into things?

About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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42 Responses to The Nasty Mr Migraine stole my Mojo

  1. There’s something a little ironic about you writing a blog explaining how you’ve temporarily lost your ability to write! 😉 But seriously, doing something else for a while (as you have done by writing this) is the best thing to do really. You can’t force it. Sorry to hear about the migraines though, I’m not a sufferer myself but I know how debilitating they can be.

  2. Belle of Mountains says:

    Pete, sorry to hear you’re not doing so well – I used to have terrible migraines until I went gluten-free. Then the migraines vanished overnight. I still get an occasional headache, but they are babies compared to what I used to get.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’d not heard of gluten-free helping. I used to love cheese. I could live on Wensleydale cheese but it was a trigger for me so it had to go. The migraines I have now are not as bad as the ones I used to get but Thursday’s was bad enough. Good luck with them staying away. 🙂

  3. Ghost Writer says:

    I know the feeling……unless you have suffered from a migraine you don’t really know what it is like to have one or how the effects can last for days. Weirdly I find that sometimes after a migraine I can only drink Sprite or 7up for awhile.

    • Pete Denton says:

      That is weird! But, I understand where you’re coming from. I used to drink a lot of sprite and 7-up, maybe that was why 🙂

      I think people who don’t have migraines don’t understand the aftershocks that spread out from the actual migraine. I used to be like a zombie after an attack. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. leadiejo says:

    Have suffered from that demon for forty years plus. Not as lucky as you since mine were monthly and lasted for three days at a time.I went brain-dead one to two day before it took full effect. But the day after it broke was total clarity. (I’m your reveres) Excedrin migraine worked best for me, especially at the onset of symptoms. If you can’t find it then one aspirin, one acetaminophin and something with caffeine will have the same effect. Hope this helps. I know the worst of these things and don’t wish them on anyone.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks for commenting. Sorry for your migraines. Back in the 90s I used to have three day migraines. They were awful and only really stopped (or slowed) when my doctor put me on some medication. It didn’t stop them but it did take the edge off. I’ve not heard of excedrin. I tend to just take ibuprofen now and try to get to sleep.

  5. W. H. Dean says:

    A fellow member of the migraine club! My wife (a pharmacist) says one of the latest treatments is high doses of magnesium citrate (600mg and it has to be citrate for some biological reason). Apparently it works for some people. I tried it for awhile but my headaches tend to cluster (nowadays anyway) and they’re infrequent, so it’s not the ideal treatment for me. But I pass it on whenever I can because it might work for someone else. God knows, we’ll try anything.

  6. Dear Pete,
    Do you use energy-saving bulbs? I had all sorts of tests to find a trigger when I was young but they couldn’t find anything. I only discovered a couple of years ago when a friend mentioned energy-saving bulbs are known triggers that it’s certain types of flickering lights that set mine off. And the worse thing is that normal bulbs are banned now. Hope you feel better.
    Love Dotty xxx

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Dotty. We do use energy-saving bulbs. Light is my worst trigger for a migraine and they do give off a weird light. I’ll have to trial living in a cave with just fire for lighting, see if that helps 😉

  7. Hey, Pete!! I just saw your Mojo!! I told it you were looking for it. It said it was heading your way–ON THE DOUBLE!!!

  8. Jonesingafter40 says:

    Hi Pete! So sorry about your week of migraines. Wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog today. When I get stuck I do the “Morning Pages” excercise from the book “The Artist’s Way” where you just write 3 pages of stream of consciousness thoughts until you completely fill up 3 pages. The author calls it a “brain drain” and it does seem to help. Hope you feel better and find your mojo in the morning! 🙂

  9. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    Oh boy can I sympathise I posted that last week I lost 2 days to a migraine. I get the whole cloudy vision, excruciating pain, vomiting, thing for around 12 – 24 hours and then the hangover the next day. In my late teens and twenties they were a regular monthly thing but now in my (hmhmm) late thirties it only happens a few times a year. One of the things that helped me was taking Feverfew (a herbal thing) tablets every day and doubling it at the first sign of a headache which worked about 50% of the time. Like most migraine sufferers i’ve tried just about everything to prevent them.

    • Pete Denton says:

      A couple of people recommended feverfew before. My migraines were really back in the 90s, but thankfully they’re not as bad nowadays. I don’t have as many and manage through most of them. Good luck staying migraine free (or reduced at least)

  10. Linda Govik says:

    You have my sympathies! I don’t suffer from this condition myself, but I have a few friends who do and it sounds just horrible! Can’t really give any advice on what to do, unfortunately… For one of my friends spices or strong smells trigger it, so when he stays away from those, he’s alright. And as for the mojo… When I lose it, I simply do other stuff for a while. I regard it as a resting period – when you exercise hard, you need a few days to recover and build up your muscles before you can get at it again. Same with the writing. When my mojo goes, it’s really GONE – I don’t feel like blogging or writing at all. Instead, I take the time to do all those mind numbing things I enjoy (like watching TV or facebooking), mixing it with mind- and body building things, like running, going to the gym or doing yoga. There’s no reason to stress it: I know I’m a writer – the mojo will return when it’s ready for it, and I can wait until it does 🙂

  11. buddhafulkat says:

    It is near impossible for me to do anything creative under a migraine/headache attack so I don’t do too much. It can take 3-7 days for me to recover fully and feel normal again. So I just go day by day and do what I can. Sometimes I get frustrated by what I’m not doing, but then I try to remember that I will feel normal again and when I do I’ll be creating again too. I really hope you feel better soon. Take care!

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks. Sometimes when I’m actually having a migraine I can have clarity of thought and focusing on one thing helps get me through it. This time nothing 🙂 I agree about the time to get back into things after an attack. It can take several days and non-sufferers don’t always appreciate that.

      Though the migraine club is one that you don’t really want to be a member 🙂

  12. shaunshelf says:

    Sorry to hear that. Only ever came across someone with migraines, that was at work, in the Planning Office at ICI. That would wipe him out for days. My particular bete noir is tinnitus. I know that with most people it grows as they grow old, intermittently, a bit like your TV picture deteriorating and not really noticing at first.
    With me it happened overnight, literally, so I never got the chance to acclimatise. After a hernia repair(I was 50, now 77) reported back to work, saw the doc, said I still had a ‘woolly feeling in my head’. He said not to worry, post-anaesthesia, it wil go away. It didn’t; he then suggested earwax and I went for the syringe treatment. Not much in, went home, woke up with tinnitus. Apparently, my blocked sinuses had prevent the eardrum from flexing when they pumped the water in and ruptured a nerve. Cure? Treatment? Sorry, that’s it. Destroyed my life for 5 years – couldn’t sleep, couldn’t work, couldn’t lie down because of ear balance, etc. On a cocktail of drugs until I slowly weaned myself off most, except the sleeping tablets, which knock me out but don’t recharge the batteries. But it finished my working life – especially when I fell down the stairs at work! Oh, yeah, it affects balance too.
    The only thing that makes me forget is… writing! When I get immersed in plot, dialogue, narrative, I tend to forget that old black dog. So, out there there is something that will help, Pete. How to find it is the big question. I hope you do!

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks. It really makes you appreciate things when something that seems so trivial as a ear syringe can turn into such a life altering problem. Good that writing at least helps you through it. I hope you’re managing it. I have cluster migraines so I might go a few weeks or months without any and then I’ll have half a dozen in a month. Medication means they aren’t as bad as they used to be but they do affect you. Thanks for commenting.

  13. Jeannie says:

    Pete, I just saw a video clip from Dr. Oz saying that the use of the herb, feverfew, can help get rid of migraines. He suggested 125mg/day.

    here’s a link:

    Hope you feel better. They’re so debilitating.

  14. To get back into writing after a forced break, I do something else entirely that has nothing to do with writing. I don’t turn my computer on for a week and I clean house. After a week, I’m so desperate to write, that even a truck inside my head would be able to stop me.
    Or you could just write about the pain.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks for the comments. I am trying to distract myself. It is coming back today, but I’ve gone back to timelines and plotting getting organised. It sounds better than cleaning the house!

  15. cspeno says:

    I’ve never suffered a migraine, but used to watch my mother suffer with them. I remain thankful I did not inherit that gene.

    Like Shelleyrae said above, feverfew is a well-known remedy among herbalists. Other herbal headache remedies include teas made in these combos with one cup of boiling water:

    lavender, lemon balm, meadowsweet, 1/2 tsp ea
    sage, rosemary, mint, 1/2 tsp ea
    rosemary, marjoram, peppermint, 1/2 tsp ea

    Source: China Bayles’ Book of Days by Susan Wittig Albert – a great book!

    I’m not into making these teas, but try mint, rosemary or lavender scents to clear the brain and refresh you when you hit writing blocks. Candles, essential oils (available at many health food stores or online) or fresh herbs work (I have a monstrous Rosemary plant in my yard that is vibrant all year long – a perk of living in Florida). There’s nothing quite invigorating like inhaling a fresh herb. No wonder they’ve been used for centuries.

    Knowing your writing pattern, Pete, I’m sure you’ll be back into it today!

  16. Hope all is well now. Glad to hear that you are back to writing. Don’t worry about speed. The fact that you are writing is the important part. Can’t wait for your next post.

  17. Pingback: Enforced Writing Breaks: Good for Planning? « Pete Denton – Writer

  18. ConnieMaria says:

    You poor thing! Migraines are horrible enough but to suffer from them that often – all I could say is holy crap!!!! Hope you’re feeling well this weekend! 🙂

  19. Pete Denton says:

    Thanks, ConnieMaria. Much better thank you.

  20. frasersherman says:

    I always find it hard recovering the flow after a sudden jolt: Illness, family emergencies, longer-than-expected errands. Degree of difficulty depending on severity of the disruption. For a migraine (from what I’ve been told) it’s not surprising you’re so de-mojoed.
    I’ve never really found anything to do but keep writing. If I can’t do that, it’s better to quit and do something engaging than sit at the desk twiddling my thumbs.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks for your comments. Sometimes when I have a migraine I try to do some thinking about anything to take my mind off the migraine, distract it longest enough to go away. Writing is often out of the question, but the thinking time is good.

  21. Pingback: February 12 – Update « Pete Denton – Writer

  22. onecoolsoul says:

    Just thought I would let you know that I do share your pain. I suffer from migraines too. Fortunately for me the pain is not very bad. But I do get the visual “aura:. Most of my visual auras are unilateral, but I recently got one that was bilateral in nature. That was a real pain in the ass. Now what do I do when this disrupts my writing routine? Well I try to get back to the established routine as soon as I can. I try to sequester myself for a certain time period when I try to come back. Usually about 20 minutes or so. And I mean I am going to write something. Even if it is just total jibberish at least it’s something. If I think about things, even things that don’t pertain to whatever project that I am doing, they get written down anyway. Who knows they may be the germ for my next story idea. Anyway I hope that your migraines will be few and far between. Thanks for liking my post! Cheers to you!

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