Getting Back Into the Swing of Things: How to get back to work after you’ve been gone awhile

So, it’s me again, though it’s been such a long time since I’ve been here. Life happens, as they say. And, sometimes when life happens – as it has to me – it takes you away from your writing desk and keyboard. Eventually, though, there comes a time when as writers we:

a) once more feel the drive to write dragging us back in a hurry, or

b) we know we’ve been away too long, and life just isn’t what it used to be without writing.

Of course, like anything, once you’ve been away for awhile it isn’t as easy as it once was. To me, getting back to the keyboard and wanting to be as productive as I was pre-break is as hard as going back into the gym after months and expecting you’ll be able to run as long, lift as much weight, or have the same endurance. More than likely, you’ll be feeling a bit flabby, out of breath, and very frustrated.

Take heart. Like getting back to the gym, it will take time to get back to where you were in your writing as well. In some ways, it’s like starting all over again. And perhaps, I’ve come to think, this isn’t such a bad thing. After all, if you’re starting all over again, what better time to rid yourself of poor habits, or engrain some really good habits? Perhaps too it’s time to reconsider things like your methods, your process, why you write at all.

So, I went back to a book I found inspiring some time ago, and still do:

Becoming a Writer, by Dorthea Brande (The link takes you to a page with chapter by chapter summaries, but I highly recommend actually reading the book – it’s a classic for a reason.)

The book got me thinking more positively again, as I tried to remember how it was I could “get into the groove” when I’m writing, how to get excited and become more productive again. I realized many of the things I was doing (like watching far too much television and recorded series on DVD) were NOT helping, and not so much because they were a waste of time (which they are) but because I was using up my words, using up my creativity watching someone else’s creativity. I needed to remember what inspires me to write, what gets me excited about writing.

Life has happened to me, which took me away from writing. And in some ways, things will never be the same as they were before. But that doesn’t still mean I can’t be a happy, productive writer.  I just need to go back to the beginning, start over in some ways, and build back to where I was back around this time last year. Like suddenly realizing I’ve gained back all the weight I lost at the gym, it will be a hard ride getting back to where I was, but worth it. Join me as I continue to reform and remind myself of my writing method, create new and better methods, and above all, keep writing.

Has “life happened” to you? Have you experienced a major change in your life or situation that has interfered with your writing? Please, share below.