It happens to almost every writer. You take a break from writing, with every intention of coming back to it after a few days or weeks. And then life happens, and that break turns into months or even years. Of course, even if you haven’t written a single word in years, there is nothing stopping you from writing again, especially in this day and age, where you can choose from a variety of different writing and publishing opportunities. So, whether you’ve taken a break from writing because of personal or professional matters, writer’s block, or you’ve simply gotten lazy, you always have the option of picking up where you left off.
So what’s the problem? Well, once you actually sit down and start to write, you will soon realize that it’s not as easy as it looks, and that your writing is not as good as it used to be. You may even question if you still have what it takes to be a writer, despite being fairly confident in your writing skills before the break. Getting over this slump is crucial, which is why we have prepared a list of tips which can help you pull it off.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Once you start writing, the perfectionist in you will inevitably start to eat at you, and you will think that your work is absolutely terrible. But, it’s important to remember that writing is like a muscle, and it needs to be worked out in order to be effective. So, this is essentially your first day at the gym after not having exercised for years, which means you should lower your expectations. If the stuff you’ve written on your first day is not brilliant, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. If it’s taking you ages to complete a single page, fine. Take as much time as you need, because writing is not a race.
Keep at It
At first, churning out words will feel slow and clunky, but the best thing you can do is to just keep writing, even if it seems like your writing isn’t any good. A good idea would be to set a smaller milestone for yourself and write until you have reached it. For example, you can set your milestone at one full page, 500 or 1000 words, a full chapter, in case you are writing a book, or a full hour of continuous writing. It is entirely up to you, but the important thing to remember is that you mustn’t quit. As pointed out in the previous paragraph, don’t beat yourself up, because the goal is not to be awesome right away after not writing for a long period of time. The goal is to just start doing it.
One of the best ways to get back to writing is to start reading works of other authors which you appreciate. After all, your love for the written word is what got you interested in writing in the first place, so why not try the same approach again? Refresh your memory with books and other literary works which have inspired you time and time again. Plus, because every book is different, it can enable you to get into a certain mood, which you can then apply to your own writing to create a specific tone.
Turn It into a Ritual
Doing something you enjoy will certainly put you in a good mood, which is why you could use that as part of your writing process. It can be anything from your favorite meal, a song you enjoy, or a literary work you are particularly fond of. For example, you can put on a fresh cup of coffee, move your desk in front of the window where there is more light and a nicer view, sit down in front of your laptop and just write. Or you go can go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air and take in the scenery, and then tackle your writing task for the day. Pretty soon, whenever you do any of these things, your brain will switch to “writing mode”.
Accept the Changes
Just like you may find that you are a different person than you were several years ago, you may also realize that your writing style has changed during the hiatus, as well. Some writers see this is as a problem, because they are used to producing work which has a certain feel to it, or because their readers expect it from them. But, you can also view it as an opportunity to break away from all the expectations and limitations and start fresh. Even better, you can get rid of all the poor habits and stylistic choices you have made in the past, and become a better writer. Your writing style would have changed anyway, without you even noticing. The change just seems so drastic because you took a break.
Keep Up the Momentum
If you have managed to break through the block and enjoy several productive writing days, don’t stop and rest on your laurels. The best thing you can do is to keep on writing, while your creative juices are still flowing. Even if you don’t feel particularly inspired, try to write at least something each day. After you have completed a significant chunk of your next book, or written posts for your blog several weeks in advance, you can take some time off to rest on your laurels. Unless you feel particularly inspired, in which case you should continue to write until you have put all of your ideas down on paper, or a file on your computer. The more you exercise your writing skills, the easier it will become for you over time.
Getting back into writing shape after a long break is by no means an easy job, but if you decide to persevere, you will find that you haven’t lost your writing talent, or your touch. It just might take a while before they can rise to the surface yet again. Follow these tips and rest assured they will.
Eva Wislow is a writer and career advisor at CareersBooster resume writing services. She loves helping people to achieve job satisfaction. Eva cannot imagine her life without writing and yoga. Connect with Eva on Twitter.