First thing I want to say is that no matter who you are, writing each and every day can seem like a really difficult thing to accomplish. And for many many many people, it is. Whether it is your job, your family, or just life in general (I’m looking at you Elf on the Shelf), it can sometimes be really difficult to stay on top of writing every day, especially for those of us who don’t consider writing our full-time job. However, you can (and probably should) take a break every once in awhile. For some, just getting through the day, or a week, or more can take all of our energy and focus, leaving us nothing left for writing. You know yourself best, so although “Write everyday” is passed around like candy in the writing community, feel free to not listen to it when you need to. For those of you who do manage to write every day, there might still be something for you in this post. You see, no matter how long you step away from your story, whether it is a few hours or a few months, getting back into it can be overwhelming and daunting at times.
This year, I used NaNoWriMo as a way to hit 50k, but also to finish my thesis for my Master’s program. It was exhausting to say the very least. So, when November ended, I took a break. A whole week off of writing anything besides blog posts and Instagram captions. And now I’m faced with that hard turning point where I need to get started writing again, and it is not always easy. So, here are three things that I’m doing to help me get started again.
1. Leave yourself a note
Okay, so this one is actually for before you take your break, but it is a pretty helpful one if you can get into the habit of doing it. Whenever you are about to stop for the day or just for a few minutes, leave yourself a note about where you wanted to go next. This can be just a few lines, a sentence, or even bullet points. The point is, that you are thinking ahead and don’t want to lose your momentum in your story.
When you come back to write the next time, these little notes can make it so much easier to remember where you were at when life (or fatigue) pulled you away from your story. This is also a really cool way so that you aren’t forced to go back and reread a ton and you won’t be staring at a blank screen, waiting for something to hit. One secondary tip for this one would be to just start typing. So, add to a bullet point you made before. Or adjust the wording of what you wrote. Or maybe you just want to delete it and write up a few new ideas that you want to incorporate. Whatever it is, at least your hands are moving and before you know it, you’re back in it.
2. Make your space comfortable
The goal of getting back to your notebook or computer is to be there for awhile, so making the space you choose to write in enjoyable for the long-run is probably a good idea.
For me, that usually means getting some kind of beverage (coffee, tea, wine, whatever), my computer, and my headphones. The headphones are for blocking out my environment (both the coffee shop variety as well as the screaming, running children one I call “home”). The beverage is there to make sure I stay even when I’m stewing on words in my mind. It’s nice to have something to grab (that isn’t my phone), take a sip of, and sit back and enjoy while I’m figuring out where I want to take my story next. That and they’re yummy. Snacks are also a great way to make me stay at my writing spot, especially when they are chocolate.
3. Start small
So, maybe you’ve got your notes from last session, your nice beverage and playlist, and you still can’t figure out where to start. Start small. Grab a 3×5” notecard or even a sticky note, and start there.
Writing on something that isn’t technically attached to your story is a mental “win” sometimes. We get so caught up in making sure we don’t do anything “wrong” or at the very least dont’ damage what we’ve already written that we fail to ever start. Secondly, writing in a different way/style might help your brain get kickstarted into writing mode. And if it’s horrible and you hate it, throw it out! Getting the wrong words out is just as important as writing the right ones.