Monday, February 10, 2014

Writing After A Long Break : 6 Tips To Get Back In the Groove

Hi everyone! Hope you are having an awesome Monday. The break was amazing. Not only can I finally report that I am healthy, but I can also report exciting NEW things in the writing department.

I am so excited to be working on my current project. It's a paranormal thriller that's best summed up as X-men meets Bourne Identity. SO dang much fun to write. I truly can't wait to bring it to all of you.

Which brings me to this post...Writing after a long break.

I haven't written new material since October. That is nearly four LOOOOONNNNNNGGGG months. Too long. And guess what I've discovered -

Once I am out of the habit of writing, it is very difficult to jump back in.

Let me state that again, because I feel like it is really THAT important: Once you are out of the habit of writing, it is really hard to jump back in. Sure, once the story starts flowing it feels fantastic. But the break has broken your habit; it's made you susceptible to all of the distraction. You know, Facebook, Twitter, TV, Google chat, Flappy Bird. Everything. And you will feel like you are fighting off the distraction genie until you are back in the habit of writing - a minimum of 21 days.

So, what do you do? How do you force yourself to get back in the groove.

For me, it took a combination of a few things which I've listed below:

  1. Remind Yourself of Your Writing Goals: Hopefully at the beginning of the year/month/week you set some goals regarding writing. If not, do that. Then do something to keep those goals at the forefront of your mind. For me, I outlined my publishing timeline for the year and keep a countdown clock to help me stay focused.
  2. Visualize Yourself Writing: I am a huge believer in the power of creative visualization. One of my favorites involves me, writing without getting blocked, creating the stories I really want to tell. Every morning, evening and before a writing session I spend a few moments with this visualization. And dude - it helps! My blockages are fewer. My ideas of exploding!
  3. Find A Partner in Crime: When I struggle the most, I need writing partners to push me along. The best are the ones that will keep me focused on my goal and reward my efforts with a little chatting time. They are as good as any to-do list app out there!
  4. Turn Off Your Social Media Sites: Whatever is your distraction of choice - the internet, social media, your phone, the TV, chores, etc - whatever it is, you have to discipline yourself to stay away except for designated times. Apps like 30/30 and others can help you schedule this playtime. No matter how you support your efforts, the key is to stay away from the distractions so you can concentrate.
  5. When in Doubt, Try Things Like Write or Die: I LOVE the new Write or Die app. Not only punitive now, the app provides motivation, creativity boosts and rewards, in addition to the punishment most of us think of with this app. For me, Write or Die helps me focus for a brief amount of time, often with amazing results. Using short bursts of writing time, I can crank out 2K or more in an hour of drafting.
  6. Stick with the Routine For a Minimum of Three Weeks: I'm not going to lie to you, There will be days when you are trying to establish this habit when you will be MISERABLE! You won't want to write, you will guilt yourself into taking some time off, etc. Trust me, don't succumb to temptation. Instead, go back through items 1-5 and force yourself to stick with it. You'll be back into a habit of writing in no time!
The long break definitely played havoc with my writing goals. But the tips above have helped make this month more productive than ever. Maybe they will help you!

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