There isn’t a challenge where you simply go and start typing. There are emotions upon emotions that factor into the idea of getting back into your writing. This is especially true when you have stopped for a long while. All those lovely blank journals you bought when you were writing that are, sadly, still blank. All the promises you had about “finding more time,” or “getting that idea down.” The truth is that you stopped for a reason, maybe one you aren’t ready to tell even yourself, or it is one which you are fully aware of, but won’t tell another person- because they just won’t understand.
If you want to start writing again do it. Just be forgiving– to yourself, to your family, to whomever you feel you might be letting down by writing or not writing. It’s time to start writing again.
Go back to the blank journal. Don’t worry that it is one where you would never go and write in it. Don’t worry it’s a list journal or any other type of journal. Forgiving yourself also means a bit of action to start a new chapter.
The biggest challenge for a writer who has taken an extended break in their writing, is to start somewhere. A blank journal helps, as you can choose to write stream of conscious thoughts or doodles or whatever strikes you as amazing, beautiful, crazy or whatever.
The point to this exercise is that you have started something new. Feels good doesn’t it? It should feel like you’ve accomplished something even if it’s only a page.
“Wait…. how about the blogs… or the manuscript… or the promotion?”
Excellent questions, but as some wise writers have said, it’s best to Start Where You Are don’t worry too much about where you were or where you want to be. Just get back into writing. It’s the steps along the path that matter, the journey to make your writing stronger. But you needed that break? You needed to walk away, and you are a different person than you were back when you stopped writing, and as hard as it is to admit, it is true.
That’s the beauty of this journey. You’re on to something which will challenge you, will be rewarding, and will feel familiar.
Another step in the journey is setting a time, a schedule. One can argue it’s setting a hard boundary in your life to nature yourself and your writing before making it fight for its life against nay sayers and outright hostile people. The ones who will argue you stopped writing for a reason, or if you didn’t earn income why are you writing again?
Set a boundary- it should be a simple one. A time based one. For example: you have a certain time each day, that you write. Or, if that is too rigid- and it’s your writing not someone else! It’s writing a page in the journal. Or doodle for twenty minutes each day. Whatever it is, whatever you choose to do, the most important element is having something you can set, a goal if you will.
If you can’t do it one day, go back. Forgive yourself. Set another goal.
Writers are observers. They can sit in a coffee shop and sip on their drink and observe people.
A good exercise for the non-writing writer is to go out somewhere and observe. If you were the type of writer who would sit and listen to people and conversations, it’s a fun opportunity to go back to old haunts and do the very thing you’ve done before, better still find a new place you can go to feel like a fly on the wall. You don’t know anyone and they don’t expect you there. You can see the new dynamics and feel as if there are boundless ways in which you can create something out of that.
If this idea is out of your writing comfort zone, try finding yourself a “place of your own” where you can grab your journal and doodle. The idea here is to look outside of yourself and find another point of view. The act of being away from a computer, or from where you felt you were comfortable. The desk, or the room. Where you once wrote.
“Writers can observe anywhere”
Part of what at makes it fun being a writer is that you can just simply change how you are looking at a place. Even a small change on a desk can help your outlook or change how you observe something. If you are an organized person, add a misplaced book, or pile of paper. If you’re the opposite, add a part of your desk where you clean it up, an oasis if you will. Whatever the change is take the time to observe how you feel about it. What sensations or feelings do you get when you see that change?
The key to coming back is by doing the things you once did, but do it slowly, and with forgiveness, and with hope that what you do, and what you have done will continue. It’s not a battle, and it’s not a fight it’s a journey. The joy will come back, or you will find that the act of writing is exactly that, something you can go to, like an old friend or a place where you can find a moment of peace in a busy world.