Not sure if anyone is tracking my progress on the fiction page linked below, but I have been starting back up again after having over a month where I did little writing. Very little.
And for me it was for no reason other than my attention was diverted to other stuff. But many times all of us stop writing for various reasons from health to family to world events.
But then we come back and that’s when things get interesting. I did an entire lecture on starting and restarting. But let me tell you here, quickly, how I am doing this.
— My focus is no pressure on the writing. I’ll get to it if and when I get to it. That lack of pressure has allowed me to actually want to get back to writing.
— Keep the writing fun. I picked a project I had started once a couple months back, but instead of trying to catch up with that, I just tossed away what I had and started over. That made the book feel fresh to me.
— Don’t get in a hurry to hit page counts. I have done that and fascinating enough, I now want to do more on the book. The book is becoming fun and I want to read more of it, so I need to write more so I can figure out what happens. And the page counts will climb naturally as that happens. That’s fun.
— I also picked a far distant future sf book to write. Far, far away from world events so I didn’t let any of that stuff in and distract me. That helps as well in times like this.
— I never once doubted I would get back writing. This may be hard for some of you to do, but honestly writing is not something you forget how to do.
I have stopped and started so many thousands of times over the years, I have no doubt I can get started after being stopped. But for those of you who haven’t had that track record, just realize your creative voice doesn’t forget how to do this if you get the critical voice out of the way.
The key really is getting the voice that is telling you that you can’t do something out of your head. Negative thoughts are always critical voice and nothing is ever written creatively in critical voice.
So put a sign over your writing computer that says, “Go play!” Take the pressure off and have fun.
I know I am once again. Onward.
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I can’t tell you enough how much I needed this post right now. It’s almost scary how my writing life parallels yours sometimes. I took your excellent lecture on Starting and Restarting, but as often happens, with this post you hit yet another nail solidly on the head. Thank you for this.
As I said in a previous comment, I just got back to my novel last Monday and I realized I couldn’t just pick off where I left off. There was no writing yesterday as I was gone all day. I knew this in advance so that was okay and Friday will be the same. But that’s okay. This novel was already past 40,000 words. It doesn’t feel anywhere near done. It’s only beginning. I’m only doing one word count for now. I usually do two but this other non writing related project is still not done and I need to get that out of the way. That has been a bit of a dragged out affair and very distracting. So, I’m getting back to my writing slowly. My mind is still not wrapped around the writing and the fun is there but I learned I will never leave a novel half undone like that again and then go back to it months later. That doesn’t work for me but I’m sure I will get into this one again and will have no problem finishing it. I also hope once I get back into this that I don’t have any long absences from the writing again. I know life can bite you but we’ll deal with those as they happen.
This is great — thanks, Dean!
Another way to get restarted is to write something under a different name, in a different genre. As a ghostwriter, I have zero attachment to the outcome of the projects I work on, and it really helps to provide motivation. I’m trying to take the same attitude in my own writing.
Jason, so the question is “What makes the stories you write under your own name more special?” Once you answer that, you’ll figure out where the critical voice is sneaking in and stopping you. (grin)
I have the same attachment to every word I write, ghost or not. None of my writing is more special or less special than any other part of my writing. The key is to kill the critical voice aspects that are stopping you and in things like you mentioned, usually have to do with a fear from the outside.
D J Mills
Yes, same thing here. Life interrupted and my attention is on other things now before it gets too hot to work outside, but slowly making time to write a few days a week. Also going over my notes from Depth, Adv Depth, or Char & Dialog. Slowly getting back up to speed with my writing.
Thank you for the boost and for the gift of your perspective, Dean! The near-future solution is neat, and is probably why I’m working on either a recent historical, or a UF that has little to do with our everyday issues.