For whatever reason – illness, a move or job change, family crises, or other circumstances beyond our control – most of us fall out of the writing habit at one time or another. And getting back into the groove can be tough. Confession: Right now, I'm having a little trouble with it myself. Okay, a lot of trouble.
A few Decembers ago, I was chasing my tail, trying to steal writing time from the holiday-related hoopla on my calendar. But with all the cleaning and decorating, shopping and party planning, baking and visiting I wanted/needed to do, I felt really guilty every time I sat down to write. So I made what, at the time, felt like a drastic move: After more than 10 years of keeping my nose firmly pressed to the grindstone, I gave myself permission to take December off from writing. Wow, was I a happier camper that holiday season (and those since). I could immerse myself in holiday prep/events without that constant nagging feeling that there was something else I should be doing (don't we drive ourselves crazy sometimes?!)
January-March have traditionally been my favorite writing months. And that month-long December break spring-boarded me into them, big time. I was raring to go. Outta my way! Lemme at the keyboard! I have a story to get to!
*sound of squealing brakes*
Not this year. Granted, it's only January 4, so I'm not panicking. But sadly, I'm just not feeling an urgency to get back to my writing. Maybe it's because the mg novel project I was enthused about a year ago got pushed to the back burner by a couple of work-for-hire projects. I've definitely lost momentum on that one. And it's a story I need to get back to, because I have a terrible if-I-don't-write-it-somebody-else-will feeling. But after a year of thinking about it only sporadically, I now have so many questions about my plans for the whole project that I'm doubting my ability to even pull off writing the thing. Ugh. That's not a great place to be.
So how am I going to regain that enthusiasm, retrain myself to get back into the writing habit? I've searched the internet for wisdom, and everything I've read boils down to these 3 steps:
1. Stop fretting. Worrying about not writing is a time waster and certainly won't free you to create.
2. Schedule writing time. I'm about as sharp as I'm going to get in the mornings. So right after my time on the treadmill, a quick shower, and breakfast, I'm heading to my office, where I will plop my rear into the chair and begin. I'll answer e-mails, check out the few blogs I follow (and maybe work on my own next post), then reread what I wrote the day before, which always jumps starts my mind.
3. Give yourself permission to write (excuse me, Mother) crap. I don't know how, after writing for more than 16 years, I can STILL sometimes forget that writing is a process. Nobody sits down and bangs out The Perfect Story on the first try. Revision has always been my favorite part of writing. If I have to remind myself of that every day by taping a big note to my computer screen, I will.
My next post won't be until later in the month, but I'll let you know how I'm doing. Looking forward to a productive month!
*rubs the troll*
Have you entered our current book giveaway? You won't want to miss this one. Read the entry details in Carmela's Wednesday's post.