Happy New Year, everyone! It’s time to get out of that magical land between Christmas and New Year when you’re full of chocolate and cheese and don’t know what day it is.
2020 brings the chance to start afresh, kick off some resolutions, and get back into the writing game.
If, like me, you took an extended amount of time off, getting back to your keyboard can be a real struggle. If the thought of sitting down to write instead of indulging in your holiday habits of doing nothing, eating, and binge-watching season 2 of You, you might need the following tips…
Getting Back On The Writing Track After The Holidays
While it might be tempting to dive back into doing everything at once, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself or build back up the burnout that required you to take a break in the first place. Start small by writing one page or editing five pages and see how you go.
Ease Into It
Just like when you get to the end of a WIP and it’s time to start a new one, getting back into writing when you haven’t done it for a while makes you think you have no idea how to write.
You can’t help but convince yourself everything you achieved was a fluke and you can’t do it again. Just the thought of having to put words into sentences that make sense, page after page, chapter after chapter is enough to make you afraid of turning your computer on. This is when easing back into writing is the key.
You don’t need to start again with a six-hour session. You don’t need to spend your first week back with the goal of editing half your book. Decide on one goal, the tiniest one you have, and do that.
You should find it’s enough to remind you that you do know how to write and that you can do this.
Start Your Habit Again
When you’re in the habit of writing daily or most days, and you stop doing that for an expended period, it can be a little hard to kick that habit back into gear. Try the things you did to create that habit in the first place, such as writing first thing in the morning, or writing for 15 minutes at a time/a day, until it’s your new normal again.
Set Up A Schedule
Some days the only reason I get anything written is because I’m up with the #6amAusWriters on Twitter. That’s now part of my schedule, and the first thing I started doing again when I came back from my break (and is the reason this blog post exists). Schedule your writing session into your day and start showing up for it.
Study Your Handover Notes
If you didn’t leave yourself handover notes, create them now. If you did, get perusing. They are your road map to what you were doing before you took your break, and what you need to do now that you’re back.
Sometimes we can feel bad about taking time off from writing or get anxious at the thought we’ve wasted opportunities doing other things, but it’s time to stop doing that. Forgive yourself for not spending every second at your keyboard. A good writer is a rested writer. You and your words will be better for any type of break.
Set New Deadlines
The final tip for getting back on track is to set some deadlines. If you’ve been following the other tips and easing back into everything, your first deadline should be for a date when you’re committed to writing at your usual speed. It might be three days from now, a week, or from next month onward. Set the deadline and commit to it.
The next deadline depends on what you’re working on. If you’re writing, pick a date to have your draft finished. Editing? Same deal. If you’re working toward a launch of your book, author website, newsletter, or finally starting up your writer-brand social media accounts, mark deadlines for those on your calendar too, and begin your work toward them. Good luck!
What are your tips for getting back into writing again after a break? Share them in the comments!
— K.M. Allan
Subscribe to my newsletter here and get a new writing tip infograph every month!