I’m not sure how it happened. I was working away on the first draft of my latest novel… until I wasn’t. I had to fight and claw my way to get my writer’s groove back.
Let me save you the time and trouble. In this post, let’s talk about how to get back into writing once you’ve lost your writing groove.
A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to My Laptop
Typically, I write my entire first draft without getting feedback, with the “door closed,” as they say, a la Stephen King. However, this time it felt right to take new chapters each week to my critique group as I wrote them. I even made it to page 100 and celebrated that evening with a grande chai latte.
My family went out of town, so I missed that first Wednesday. No problem. The second week, I had several blog posts due, so I only read my nonfiction. Understandable.
The third week, my critique group didn’t meet because several members were out of town.
By the fourth week, fear set in and I felt lost.
I didn’t mean to stop writing. Has that ever happened for you?
Maybe you got sick and it threw off your writing. Maybe someone else got sick and you had to take care of them. Your work responsibilities might’ve overwhelmed you. Tragedy could’ve struck your family—death, divorce, a financial setback. Any of these obstacles can sidetrack your dreams, for weeks, months, or even years.
Let Go of the Guilt
Mentally beating up yourself with the ‘should’ stick doesn’t help the situation. Thoughts like:
- You should be further along with your story.
- You shouldn’t have fallen off the writing wagon.
- You should be more disciplined… less lazy, better organized, etc.
If this you, stop it right now. Quit because guilt is counterproductive to your writing, and to your life. Besides, harassing your muse is another form of procrastination.
How to Get Back Into Writing? Start Writing
It truly is that simple. And, that hard.
Give yourself permission to write the lousiest, crappiest, awful-est prose in the world. Over one weekend, I chained myself to my computer and cranked out 15,000 words. They are rough, ugly, pages that are far from ‘critique-ready’, but I got the bones of my story down. I hit page 212 yesterday.
As I typed, each word clashed against the page. My rhythm felt awkward and clunky, but I kept typing away.
Write nonstop, without criticizing or editing, whichever way best to you:
- For one full page.
- For fifteen minutes.
- For 250 words.
- For a full scene or chapter.
The trick is keep going no matter what. Forgive yourself, begin again, then keep writing until you get your groove back.
How do you get back into your writing (once you’ve lost your groove)? Let me know in the comments section.
Today, tell me a story about a writer who is doing well until he/she hits page 100, then life (not fear) throws him/her out of the writing groove. Does he/she get it back, or not? Please share in the comments, and give feedback to others, too. Thanks.