I don’t always want to write. There are some days when I get up and the last thing I want to do is sit down at my desk let alone actually hit the keyboard. The ideas seem to run away from me and the desire to tell a story is right up there with flaying my skin. So do you know what I do on those days when I’d rather be a plumber? I write anyway…..
There are a lot of supposed rules for writers but by far the most important not-to-be-ignored one is to write every day. Writing is like a muscle, if you don’t exercise it after a time it gets fat and lazy and doesn’t want to work at all; I know I’ve been there many times over the years. The discipline of writing is what makes the difference between being that guy who writes as a hobby and being that guy who gets published.
I went through a period in my early 30’s where I decided to try on a few other occupations because writing was just no fun anymore. I had lost sight of why I wrote in the first place so I stepped away. I worked some other jobs, got into human resource management thinking that it was “people” I was missing and after a year of realizing that I prefer the people in my head I came back to the desk. Coming back after a year was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I hadn’t realized that not writing every day was shoving my skills to the dark recesses of my brain where I would have to send out a search party in order to get them back. I literally had to force myself to write something every day in order to coax my muse out.
If you step away from your writing I guarantee that you too will find it difficult to return. Here are a few things I have heard from other writers in terms of finding your way back by writing every day. When the story doesn’t come easy you can:
Write in a journal – Journaling can help a writer get back on the horse. You are writing what is instead of having to create but you are still writing.
Try short stories – You don’t have to jump into a novel because that can be daunting. Start with a short story, like 1500 words; who knows your short story could lead to a novel.
Create characters – Start by just creating characters. There are lots of great examples of character building forms out on the web, download one and create people for future stories. Who knows, one of those characters might find a starring role in a new book.
Rewrite – Sometimes when I am blocked I will rewrite work I have done before. I pull an old story out of the drawer; rewrite some of it until the story catches up with me.
These are just some of the many ways you can jump back into bed with your writing. Don’t beat yourself up too badly for stepping away, it happens, but if you have stepped away know that there is a road back albeit sometimes long. Just remember that writing is something that has to be cared for. Your muse may not leave for good but he/she will make it hard to coax them out if you ignore her/him long enough so write….every….single….day.
© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.