Well, it happened again. You took a writing break, because you really felt like you needed one. Time away from your story to recharge and think about where you wanted to go with it next.
Except, every time you’ve tried to go back to that story and start again, you haven’t been able to.
Almost like, the minute you set your story aside, all your ideas, all your motivation to keep working on it, vanished.
It’s important to take breaks while writing—days, even weeks. But how do you do that without throwing yourself completely off track?
Here are a few possible solutions.
Solution 1: Be honest with yourself: why did you stop in the first place?
Did you lose interest in the story? Get distracted by a new project? Did life just become a volcanic eruption of busyness that forced you to abandon your writing for more pressing matters?
Identifying why you stopped, and why you have stopped in the past if it has happened more than once, might be able to help you figure out how to keep yourself going next time. If you’re trying to do too much, maybe some rearranging of your priorities is in order. Maybe you’re not taking the right kinds of “creativity breaks.”
Solution 2: Give yourself an incentive to restart, and take it slow
Saying, “I’ll start again tomorrow” isn’t going to get you very far on the productivity track. It’s hard to go a long period of time without writing and then trying to jump back into it. Maybe you need an incentive, something to motivate you to return to your craft even when you don’t want to.
Tell yourself you’re not allowed to do [insert thing that distracts you the most here] until you spend some time writing. Or plan a longer-term reward for the upcoming weekend, if it’s Monday and you want to spend the week easing yourself slowly back into the groove. If you can’t jump right in right away, don’t panic. It’s like running for the first time in six months. It’s not going to be quite as easy the first few tries.
Solution 3: Write daily in very small “doses”
If you stopped writing because you burned yourself out and needed a break, you might be doing it wrong. As simple and impossible as it might initially sound, the best defense against stopping and not being able to start again is to never stop.
You do still need to take breaks from writing, or you’re going to mentally drain yourself. Try writing a set amount of words per day, then treat the rest of that day as your “break.” When you wake up the next day, having given your creative brain a rest, you’ll be much more likely to feel recharged and able to do the same thing again—and again, and again.
Don’t forget: if a story is really important to you, even if it takes awhile, it will come back to you. Don’t worry too much and don’t be too hard on yourself. If you have to just start writing, even if it’s not the best, you’ll find your way back to where you were before you stopped.
Take care of yourself, and go write some words tonight.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.