Monday, August 26, 2013

Get Back in the Groove After a Writing Break

I took a month off this summer to recharge my batteries (which really meant running my kids to the million-and-one activities and practices they had). Honestly, my batteries felt more drained when the "break" was over, but that's not necessarily a bad thing because it solidified how much writing means to me. I'm not truly happy unless I'm writing, revising, or plotting at least part of the day.

Hey, look! A squirrel!


So anyway, last week the kids went back to school. I dove back into a manuscript. The first day of writing--well, actually revising--was pretty rough.

First of all, it took me a good two hours of Facebook, e-mails, and text messages to get the courage to open the manuscript. Then, I spent a whopping forty-five minutes revising before my head threatened to explode. I realized I needed to dust off my "get back in the writing groove" methods.


1. Start with a short session.


I identified my project goals: revise the first three chapters in two weeks. Naturally, I thought hey, I'll spend all day--six hours--cutting and rearranging. Not a good idea. I ended up fixing the first scene and calling it quits.

2. Write notes.


Remind yourself of the baby steps the project requires rather than the big picture. In my case, I needed to cut one chapter, decide on a new chapter, and not lose the important stuff along the way. A fresh cheap notebook works wonders! Just jot away. I wrote story questions, reminders, and anything else I could think of.

3. Take frequent breaks.


Sure, it's best if we hunker down and focus, but the first couple days back are excruciating. Why add guilt and stress to the mix? Go ahead and check your e-mail every fifteen minutes. Scroll through your Twitter feed. Grab a snack. Sit on your porch. Be good to yourself. But get something done, no matter how trivial.

Remind yourself this is a transition. It's like anything else--the more we do it, the easier it gets. Starting is the hard part!

How do you get back in the groove after taking a break from a project?

Have a terrific Monday!


14 comments:

  1. Rewards! I love rewards - stuff just for me at Staples, for example. But when I'm trying to get back in the groove, a simple X on a calendar - signifying that I met my goal that day - works wonders.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These are both terrific! Rewards and a big X!! So smart!!

      Delete
  2. I have one more week before I get my groove on. But I plan not to plan too big of a goal initially.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You won't regret it! Too big goals only add to the pressure and insecurity. Keep it simple!

      Delete
  3. I like to have a clean writing space. If I feel organization around me, jumping into to a mess gives me confidence that I can turn it around. I also like to have a cup of tea or coffee near by. I lean back sip on it and study what I've written. It makes me feel laid back and less uptight.

    Loved these tips. Happy revising today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True for me too! I struggle to concentrate when surrounded by chaos. Tea or coffee always help. There's something about a warm beverage, isn't there?

      Delete
  4. Usually I set aside an hour or so to do something small, such as edit half a chapter or organize notes. Every little step gets the end product closer to reality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! And you set yourself up for success by doing this--good point!

      Delete
  5. Part of getting back in the groove involves some productive procrastination. I usually start cleaning my work space.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wishing you well as you return to your story world, Jill. I trust that before long you'll be back in the groove.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It might take several days, Keli! Yikes!!

      Delete

I love to hear from you!