Challenge,  On Writing

Step Two… Ramp Up

Starting From Zero Seldom Works…

For any of us, no matter how much practice and years we have under our fingers. And I know, I have tried to just start writing at full speed. Many times, actually. Most of the time it fails in frustration or at best turns into a ramp-up I should have done earlier.

How much time does it take to ramp into writing, get comfortable, after taking some time off? Got a hunch that number changes with each person, but honestly, two or three days at most for me and most other writers I know.

For me, I sit down (after I have everything organized… another topic) and just write a short story in a couple of days, not pushing it.

Then on the third day I write another one. And by the fourth day, I am ready to fire at full speed for me.

I would not let this ramping process take more than five or six days at most. Starting now for January 1st is perfect.

What are you trying to accomplish with this ramping-up process?

1… Get comfortable at your writing computer again. If you don’t have a dedicated writing computer work to get one.

2… Get the creative voice working which is why you don’t ramp up on a major project, but say a short story. Keep the project from being something that will matter, keep the critical voice out of the picture.

3… Get back to speed on the writing. It will be bumpy and slow, expect that and just work through it.

4… The ultimate goal is on your start date to be ready to just write and enjoy the process and not worry about the rust.

So if you have taken some time away from writing this holiday, use the next days until the first of the year to ramp up. You will be stunned at how much better you will feel when you start writing next year.


Reminder… Targeted Workshop Sale Going on. See last two posts.


  • Jason M

    Thanks, Dean. I needed this.
    Liferolls and travel and overwhelming number of freelance work projects have kept me away from my many writing projects.
    Restarting now in the manner you described.
    (Goal: 8 books this year. There will be more liferolls coming in the summer, so fingers crossed.)

    • dwsmith

      Yup, but not on the Titanium side yet. (grin) PT is working me hard two or three times a week, going to start putting in more distance regularly on the walking. And back typing with two hands. So progress into the new year. Thanks for asking. I follow your exploits on Facebook. After being in the desert for six years now, can’t imagine the rain anymore. (Actually, can imagine it, don’t want to think about it.) Hang in there.

  • Linda Niehoff

    Here’s a related question. I’m wondering if there’s a way to ramp down from a challenge without losing momentum and still keep the writing going. I’ve kept a short story a week going for 140+ weeks. I’m starting to feel a little burdened by the deadline and also feeling the need to stretch out more length-wise and not worry that Sunday’s coming and I’d better be done! I’m incredibly proud of having kept the streak this long but I feel a change coming. And yet stopping it also feels a little like failing – even though I have no intention of quitting writing. I love short stories so much! But I’d like to not know in advance what I’m writing. Or feel pressure to be done by a certain day even if it’s going long. But I’m afraid that quitting the challenge will feel like I’m quitting writing and I’ll bog down.

    I’ve written through some major life changes including several serious health issues with close family members as well as the death of my father-in-law recently. Writing was truly a haven through all of that – which is the only way my streak remained intact. I’d like to keep the writing feeling that way (like a haven) but am terrified that ending the streak will feel like failing but that keeping it going will lead to burn out. Any wise words? Like how to know when to quit a streak and how to change course without losing momentum? Or maybe just consider this a request for a future blog post 🙂