Long time no see, everyone! I know, I know, I have been silent for five months. Things became hectic when I started working full time around the month I started vanishing, and I kind of lost the heart to do anything writing related due to some unfortunate let downs. I won’t babble on about me though.
Due to those instances and a few other things I slowly began to reevaluate just how I’m going about pursuing my dream in writing. I’ve realized a couple things and made some adjustments according to those revelations.
One of those adjustments leads me to today’s topic…
How do you get yourself back in the saddle after hardly writing for several months?
You start small and ease yourself into it. You find a way to rekindle your passion for what you are doing and build up from there.
Now maybe some people can dive right back in full force without missing another beat, but I am not most people, and I’m sure there are others out there like me. I find the best thing to do is start small and make yourself excited to be writing again.
Perhaps if you have work published anywhere take a few minutes to sift through old praises and reviews. It doesn’t matter how old the fan-written compliment is, they never cease to make you smile anyways. Remind yourself you want to see more of those comments again, and to do so you have to produce something else you love so they can love it too. (If you see any haters in your scrolling, do one of two things: either ignore them, or tell yourself you’re gonna show them up and then do it.)
Another thing you can do to start off is read bits and pieces of your WiPs, or even old writings. Reading them gets you interested and excited to be working with the characters again. It can also oil up the plot bunny gears and get them turning once more.
Now you’re growing excited to write again and your fingers are starting to itch to fly over the keyboard keys. You want a pencil or pen in hand and a fresh, crisp piece of paper to scribble down the chatter in your head. Great!
That doesn’t mean you have to launch yourself back into that novel you were tearing your hair out at full force. It doesn’t mean you have to set your writing time up and force yourself to stick to it right away. The best thing you can do is don’t push it.
Instead of plunging yourself back into an old routine, start small. Start with some warm-up writing so that you feed your passion bit by bit until it becomes as feverish as a rabid animal again. The best thing about warm-up writing is it can be about anything. It can simply be just jotting down a few haphazard ideas or notes to other WiPs. It can be taking a prompt from a blog, book, group, anything, and writing some flash fiction. It can be trying your hand at something completely off the wall that you would normally never write. Or it can be as simple as revamping your writing platforms so that they more accurately depict your journey and style. A great thing about revamping your writing platforms is it makes you more satisfied and excited to be using them again.
(This is how I started: I redid every single page on my blog here, and then began updating my other platforms bit by bit. I also did some flash fiction writing and planning for Camp NaNoWriMo next month. Be sure to check out my About pages here especially as I am changing up a few things.)
As long as you do a little bit of something every so often and keep your brain thinking about writing, that flicker of passion in your soul will soon turn into a raging, unquenchable fire. It doesn’t have to be done all at once. It just has to be started; it just has to get the gears moving more efficiently again. Heck, you don’t even have to finish or follow through with the ideas or attempts at tales you may jot down.
It’s sole purpose is to get you excited to write again. If you get a small bonus out of it — like a new idea, a new character, or some new notes to help you sort out a WiP — then awesome! It doesn’t mean you have to use those warm-up writings in any way though.
Once that excitement builds beyond bursting all you have to do is decide where you want to go from there. By that I mean decide what you want to put the majority of your focus into. Is it an old WiP that’s been sitting on the backburner and is now screaming your name? Is it some light editing or note taking to get you back on track where you left off? Is it something brand spanking new and shiny you want to plot out and get to work on?
When you’ve figured out where your attention is being pulled to, plan out how you’re going to go about working on that project again. You don’t have to rush it yet. Start small and devote maybe a few hours a week with no set schedule to it. Then once you get more of a rhythm going work yourself up to a more refined routine again. It might even happen without you realizing it after you’ve settled into the project. Before you know it you’ll be back on track and rolling along like a well-oiled machine.
Lastly, don’t ever be afraid to pull things back if you feel stuck or overwhelmed or bored. If you need a break, take one. Switch to something else. Let your routine slack off a little. Read instead. Give yourself a breather for a week or so. Return to some warm-up writing. Do whatever you feel necessary to keep yourself from burning out and hitting the slump of hiatus for months again. It’s okay to take breathers or switch your focus, just make sure you always come back to stoke the fire when you’re ready.