Monday, January 6, 2014

Five ways to get back into the writing groove.

A lot of people take time off from writing during the Christmas season. If they're anything like me, it means that getting back into writing mode can be a bit tricky. So I thought I'd share some of the more efficient ways I use to get my writing groove back. 

Music. 


I play music reminding me of the stories I'm writing, even when I'm doing something else. These are also the soundtracks I use while writing, so hearing the songs again stirs some creative thoughts up. 

Writing prompts. 


It's great to be able to just write for the heck of it, without worrying about what you'll be able to use later. So if you haven't written in a while, starting off with some low-pressure writing might be exactly what you need to get going. 

Character interviews. 


Starting off just chatting with characters can give amazing inspiration in surprising directions. This also works extremely well when your story's starting to feel dull. 

Reread what you've written. 


Not recommended if you're an over-editor, but sometimes, all you need to get back into writing gear is to relive the awesomeness you've penned down before. Remember to look on the bright side and to ignore the nitpicky issues. 

Start off by writing something totally random. 


The hardest part about writing after a long time away is starting. Writing something random tends to open up the writing channels, letting you think what you actually write down. I once broke a six month writer's block by opening a chapter with: "The gunk stuck to his mouth like peanut butter. He hated peanut butter." Funnily enough, those sentences ended up in the final cut of The Vanished Knight. 

As you might see, all of those suggestions have to do with chilling out before you start. Forcing yourself works too, but it's much easier to want to write. It's always trickier to start when you're panicking about how to do it. And the how's and why's almost always come when you're not looking for them. 

I hope this helps! 

Anyone else have pointers for getting back into writing routine?

36 comments:

  1. Music always helps me. Sometimes I'll go back and read what I've written, but only in a manuscript I'm currently working on.

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  2. Music, getting out of the house, changing where you write, reading a good book, rereading a great book, sitting somewhere and having some good old people watching time...I find that things outside of writing always help me get back into writing the best, then when it comes time to write just start writing even if it is nonsensical, just start telling a story and it will come back like a lost friend. Good luck.

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  3. I use the re-reading method. It gives me a running start into the next section.

    Actually, I often write the 1st and even the 2nd chapter of the next novel in a series when I finish one, so that I'm not starting with a clean slate and I'm able to use the momentum of the first. It helps me start off with the right character voice and pacing. It's just easier than starting with a blank file, especially when you've been away from the storyline for quite some time. At least for me.

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  4. I love to go back and re-read. It puts me back in the story. Sometimes a scene further into the story sparks my interest, so I'll jump ahead and play connect the dots later.

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  5. Thanks for providing much needed impetus

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  6. Great tips! I am a re-reader when it comes to trying to find my writing groove!

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  7. Good luck with all your excellent ideas, I just keep telling myself that if I don't publish the next book, my children followers will give up on me, Misha.
    :0)

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  8. Very helpful, Misha. My intention for today is to get back into it big time. Thanks.

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  9. Good ideas. :) I'm just starting back up after a break, and a character interview might be just what I need. :)

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  10. I like your list. Like you, I find writing prompts helpful, even when I'm in a writing groove. Happy writing this year!

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  11. I use a lot of these methods—particularly music and rereading. And I do what L. Diane Wolfe described. Jump ahead and connect the story later on.

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  12. Winter isn't my time off, but when I travel I DO take a little downtime. After last summer and how hard it was to get back to it, I think I will try to ensure I finish any project (at least to an 'okay I can put this aside now' stage before I go. When I DO have to get back into it, rereading, sometimes a couple times, is all that works. And sometimes I need to skip ahead in the story a bit to find my traction (then come back and fill in later)

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  13. Rereading my own work always helps. It gets the wheels turning.

    Great list!

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  14. Music doesn't work for me, but rereading does as it instantly puts me back into the story. Happy Three Kings Day!

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  15. Rereading works for me, as well. Granted, it sometimes means considerable editing because I think of a dozen ways to make the story richer—but that's a good thing! In the grand scheme of things, word count matters little to me. I'm not a quantity girl.

    VR Barkowski

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  16. Perfect timing as I'm returning to polishing my MS today! I'll also borrow these suggestions as I get back to writing my next project. Thank you! Hope you have a fantastic week. :)

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  17. You give some great recommendations. I love rereading some of my earlier work and while I don't listen to music when writing, otherwise it has actually inspired some scenes and even a few characters.

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  18. I like to daydream about the stories until I build up enough steam to get writing.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  19. Luckily for me I rarely have trouble getting back into my writing - maybe that's because I rarely take a long break from it.

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  20. I know that I need to get back into my groove. I stopped mid-way through a chapter and haven't been back to it in days. Yesterday, I reread what was there and put it away. I am hoping that today I will feel inspired to jump back in. If not, I will have to try one of your other suggestions!

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  21. Great ideas, Misha. All I usually have to do is read a chapter and I'm chomping at the bit to jump back in. I guess that's how it works if you really love what you're working on, eh? Still, even when I love what I'm writing, music helps grease the wheels.

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  22. Writing prompts are one of my favorite ways to get my writing groove back. I find they also push me out of my comfort zone, which is always a good thing. Happy New Year!

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  23. Music is always a big help for me, as well as rereading. It helps me to get into the right mindset for my story and if I haven't written in a while, get back into the voice of the character.

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  24. These are all great ideas, and I'll try them because I'm trying to get back into the writing groove too. One thing that also helps me is reading Natalie Goldberg's books on writing; I have several of them. Her descriptions of writing practice also make me want to write.

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  25. Totally needed this post today, to help jump start an engine that's been stalled for a long time.

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  26. I really like the suggestion of writing something random. It's fun and can be inspirational coming up with some random writing genius :-)

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  27. Extremely good tips, Misha. I always start at random. The character interview idea is excellent. I'm definitely going to try that before I get back into my writing. I'm certain it will be a great help when developing the characters, too. Thanks for that.

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  28. Great suggestions! Toughest thing for me is just blocking the time to start writing.But once I get over that hurdle, re-reading the chapter I left off with is usually enough to get me back in the swing.

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  29. Your suggestions are great. I'm having a hard time getting back into writing. I want to start the next round of revisions, but I'm hesitant, scared. When I start I'll make mistakes, so I put it off. Sometimes you just have to realize you won't be perfect, take a deep breath, and dive in.

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  30. Great tips Misha! Reading is also helpful, though I tend to shy away from reading any genres I'm currently writing in.

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  31. Music and re-reading are some of my favorite ways to get back in the writing groove too!

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  32. Awesome post! It's amazing all the places inspiration comes from.

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  33. Music always inspires me to write. I love these suggestions. I'm fortunate I had the opportunity to write through the holidays this year, though.

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  34. I always find something you wrote a while ago gives you such a stir and sinks you straight back into the story :)

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  35. When I need to get back in the swing of things, I go old school and switch from the laptop to fountain pen an nice paper. Works every time

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