If you’re anything like me, you have trouble returning to writing after an interruption — the holidays, for example. We need to find ways to motivate ourselves to write again. But first, let’s make sure that inertia is the only obstacle to overcome.
Reasons the Writing Doesn’t Flow
The story might not ring true.
No amount of forcing yourself forward is going to help you return to a story with a serious structural flaw. When a hose kinks, pulling on it simply restricts the flow of water. You have to go back to the point where it snarled and work out the tangle. I know this isn’t welcome advice, but you’ll thank yourself for making the effort.
Other people create hurdles.
Especially at the beginning of the year, many people are raring to achieve their brand new goals. It helps to remind yourself that everyone will settle into a new routine at some point. It’s inevitable. Meanwhile, you can and should guard your time. For more help with this, read Making Time to Write – Dealing with Interruptions.
You’re running on low batteries.
After exhausting yourself during the holidays might not be the best time to whip yourself into writing shape. Maybe you need to take a week off instead. I know that sounds radical when you have deadlines or marketing pressure and you’ve struggled to write during the holidays. but sometimes a little time off is exactly the remedy. When a car engine floods, you have to wait before trying to start it again. Otherwise, you’ll drain the battery. I never imagined I’d say this, but people are a lot like cars.
Writing After an Interruption
We’ve done enough troubleshooting for those who shouldn’t dive right into their projects. Now, let’s take a look at what the rest of us can do to ease the way back into writing.
This is a lot like bribing yourself to write. That’s okay. Do what you need to do. We are all motivated by different rewards. Choose the ones that call to you. They don’t have to be fancy. Take a bubble bath, read a chapter from a book you didn’t write, pull weeds in the garden, or savor a square of chocolate. Treat yourself to a book light, a special mug, stickers for your calendar, a video, a podcast episode, or simply a phone call to a friend.
Read something by an author whose writing sparks your creativity.
I discovered this with the works of Louis Lamour, the vintage western author. I have no idea why, but whenever I start reading one of his books, I have to put it down and write my own. If there’s an author who inspires you in a similar way, borrow inspiration.
Give yourself deadlines.
Buy a planner, if you don’t already own one, or use an online calendar. Assign yourself daily word count goals and commit to them. It’s amazing how having a deadline helps you, even if it’s self-imposed.
Call upon an accountability partner.
I’m a self-starter, so I didn’t accountability would benefit me. After joining a mastermind group in which we set weekly goals, I’ve noticed an increase in my productivity. Color me surprised.
Go on a writing retreat (or create one at home).
Getting away for a couple of days—or weeks—can help you refocus after an interruption. If you worry that you might be lonely, then take someone along. I suggest inviting a writing friend. Only another writer can understand what you’re up against.
If you opt to retreat at home but live with others, communicate ahead of time so you’ll have the support you need. Set aside an area to which you can retreat for solitude and peace. Make sure everyone in the house knows not to bother you in that space. I have an office in a closet under the stairs. When I hide there, my family forgets to look for me. If you can, find a place like that.
Over to You.
I hope these suggestions help you gain traction with your writing. If this post has helped you, comment to let me know. I’d love to hear about your writing adventures.