Conquering Interruptions in the Writing Life

We interrupt this program . . . No matter how organized or dedicated we are as writers, life often makes other plans for us. How can we be firm but gentle with ourselves when life interrupts our best-laid writing plans?
Writing Tip for Today: Over the weekend, I led a church retreat and today I needed to recover. I could think of it as three days of writing lost, or I could get back into the writing saddle in any number of positive ways:

  • Reread the material you wrote from your last session to help get you immersed in that world again.
  • Do a writing exercise to get into the writing zone.
  • Write as fast as you can–don’t analyze yourself.
  • Try to stop writing sessions in the middle of a scene–that way, when you return to work, you’re not staring at the blinking cursor.
  • Write a stream-of-consciousness exercise for 15 minutes, even if you have to write, “I can’t think of anything to write.” Chances are, your brain will tire quickly of writing nonsense and the creative juices will begin to flow.
  • If nothing helps you write or if you are ill, jet-lagged or dealing with toddlers, read. Read with an eye toward analyzing how the author deals with scene, sequel or narrative. Jot down ideas you want to try with your own work.

Try This: There are lots of other techniques for restarting after interruptions. Write a brief scene that occurs before the novel begins, just to help you get to know your character.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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