Sometimes life gets incredibly busy or overwhelming, or your writer’s block seems like it’s 100 feet tall and made of impenetrable steel. Whether it’s planned or it just happens, you end up taking a break from your writing. At Writer’s Relief, we understand you might need to step away from the keyboard for a while. Your hiatus may be two weeks or two months (or even two years), but the great thing about writing is that you can always pick up that pen again! However, now that you’re ready to write, it may seem difficult to get back into your creative routine. Here are our best tips on how to shake off the dust and get back to writing after a break.
Tips To Help You Get Back To Writing After A Break
Determine why you stopped writing. When you’re ready to return to writing after a break, it’s important to understand why you stopped. Knowing what caused you to put writing aside can help you determine what adjustments you need to make now in order to be successful.
Set new goals (or readjust your original goals). Goals can be great motivators for writers who want to keep themselves on task. If you had goals before but found yourself missing your self-imposed deadlines, it’s time to determine if the goals you set were realistic. Unrealistic writing goals are the quickest way to set yourself up for failure and potentially trigger a long, unintended break from writing.
For example, your original goal might have been to write ten pages a week, but the best you could do was seven. If you miss deadlines and get frustrated, you’re more likely to give up and walk away—and less likely to come back to writing. Now that you’re ready to get started again, readjust your goals and set yourself up for success! If seven pages is more realistic for your lifestyle—or five, or even three—then make that your new, achievable goal.
Choose a good location. You want to feel comfortable writing again—and we mean that literally! Having a pleasant space that’s conducive to writing makes it easier to keep coming back to the work. Make sure your space, whether it’s in your home, a café, or the local library, offers an environment that makes you want to write.
Create a writing playlist. Having a go-to writing-specific playlist means you won’t waste time surfing through songs instead of writing—you’ll just hit the play button and dive in! And be sure to choose the right music: You want the playlist to be a source of inspiration, not a distraction.
Give your creativity a boost. Perhaps you stopped writing because you were creatively tapped out. Or your creativity may have been humming along fine, but now you feel rusty after a long break. Either way, giving your brain a creative boost before getting back into writing will be helpful. Try some non-writing activities to start and ease yourself into a creative mindset. You might also listen to inspiration-boosting podcasts!
You can also entice your muse back to the table by adding some novelty to your writing process. Use a different writing program or a new pen, or buy a nice journal for your notes. Drink your writer fuel (aka coffee or tea) from a different mug, or listen to your curated playlist from a wireless headset. Choose something you’ll be excited to use!
Start slow—don’t overdo it. You may be tempted to jump in and start with an hours-long writing session—but that’s not sustainable. Rather than burning out too quickly, start out writing for smaller amounts of time and work your way back up to those big writing sessions. If you’re worried about losing steam if you don’t act immediately, carry a notebook or make notes in your cell phone to keep track of any sparks of inspiration.
Writing is like a muscle, so if you’ve been inactive, it’s important that you first stretch! Writing exercises are a great way to begin your butt-in-chair sessions. Using writing exercises and prompts are a low-stakes way to write without stressing about what you’re writing. You’ll avoid staring at a blank page for an hour, with the added bonus of brushing up on various techniques.
Using these tips will help you reestablish a routine and get back to writing. And once you’ve written, proofread, and edited your short story, poems, novel, or memoir, we can boost your odds of getting published! The experts at Writer’s Relief will pinpoint the best markets for your work—we do all the busywork so you can stay focused on writing. Learn more and send your writing sample to our Review Board today!
Question: What was your longest writing break, and what made you start writing again?