Writing: Getting Back to It

Almost five weeks ago, I signed off due to some major surgery. I’m still recovering but thought I could put up a few tips on corralling your writing life.

Writing Tip for Today: How do you get back to your writing life after life happens?

Be There

Writers who sit for regular sessions are often more productive than those who only write when inspiration strikes. As I get back to my writing, I must make a conscious choice to get my BIC (Butt in Chair). I’m starting with an hour every other day—I still have a lot of doctor appointments and so forth that I’m dealing with.

I might not be able to write for the same amount of time as before. I’m still getting tired easily and my fingers on my surgery arm are still a bit numb. My brain is way ahead of my body, and I need to plan accordingly.

Until I can write for extended periods, I can keep a notebook for jotting ideas. Keeping notes about ideas or approaches to what I’m writing will help me get my groove back. I combine taking notes with a decision to produce word count—even if the outcome is less than what I’d normally produce.

Start Small

After weeks of not writing at all, I feel rusty and out-of-sorts with my various writing projects. One way I ease back to my writing self is by reading authors I love.  I draw inspiration from these writers and find more energy and benevolence for my own projects.

Reread a few passages of what you produced just before the hiatus. Reorient yourself, going over notes or other resources that can help you return to where you left off. Some writers might even retype a scene to refresh muscle memory. Review your plot points to keep yourself from going off track.

If your novel or other book-length project seems daunting, start by composing short pieces. Essays, articles or even poetry can reawaken your muse. Even if you look back later and groan, these efforts can help you get back into shape.

Yep. Life is change.

Be Graceful

I think there’s a distinction between excuses and giving yourself grace. For instance, a good writer I know recently lost a loved one to cancer. This writer helped take care of the family member in the last days. No doubt the writer feels the weight of grief. This person should do a lot of self-care for a time. I hope he/she won’t stop trying to write, even through the raw time.

Yet grief is very individual. I don’t know when this writer will get back to the routine. He/she may need to process with journaling or other ways of coping for as long as it takes. Giving yourself the grace to put writing on hold actually says, in my opinion, that you are determined to get back to it in time.

Life is change. At times, writing needs to change for a period while you recover, heal and ultimately, grow. In my case, it’s going to take a few more weeks to be one-hundred percent. But I wanted to let everyone know that I’m still here, hoping that my changes and adaptations might help you write your changes too. Keep Writing!

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.

2 comments on “Writing: Getting Back to It

  1. Hi,
    I’m so glad to help. When life happens, you have to think creatively to reclaim a discipline such as writing. Be kind to yourself, but never give up!
    Keep Writing,

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