Writing Habits

7 Tips to Start Writing Again

After the upheaval of the holiday season, most of us will be back into “real life” by now. As you may know, it can be hard to get back into the many things that get paused during December: healthy eating, self-discipline, hard work at the office, and the concept of moderation! You may also have taken a break from your writing practice. If so, you are not alone. 

But now we’re back to real life, and we also want you to get back in the writing saddle. In the post below, Leslie shares seven tips to start writing again. These are the things she learned as she worked through this challenge herself in 2014.

7 Tips to Start Writing Again with Writership


Back in the Saddle

Interruptions in our writing life are challenging and inevitable. Author and agent Nathan Bransford calls breaks “kryptonite Achilles heal termite ridden ankle breaking weakening things.” Writing stoppages mess with our momentum. Sometimes we choose to take a break, but often they are often forced upon us. It’s part of life, and we work with those circumstances as best we can. 

In this post, I’ve shared some of what I’ve learned about getting back in the writing saddle. Whether you’ve been away from writing altogether or you’ve had to shift from an exciting project to one that is less so, these tips can support you to get you writing again.


1. Know yourself.

While researching this piece, I found a wide range of advice, much of which was contradictory. How do you know which advice to follow and what to ignore? Get to know yourself. When I’ve had a break from a project, I like to start with writing practice without a topic, just to get my fingers moving. David Morrell’s regular practice is to start writing about his project conversationally, as if his computer were a person hearing his words. You may need to dive right into the meat of a challenging scene. If you don’t know what works best for you, experiment. Try something and keep track of how it went. Find what works best for you. 


2. Create a plan and stick to it as much as humanly possible. 

Keep your goals reasonable: don’t aim to write for two hours a day if you’ve only written twice a week for the last month. Making your goals doable will help you keep going. Alter them and course correct if need be, but try to stay the course before you do. Resistance often strikes in moments like these. Reach out to an accountability partner or group to help you stay on task. String together your successes and reward yourself.


3. Temper your expectations. 

The first day or week back can be wildly successful or really disappointing. In Write Every Day, Cathy Yardley noted that, even though she had written several novels while holding down a day job, she couldn’t write as much in a day after she returned to writing when her child was born. She needed to rebuild her writing practice and see what was doable. Understand that it may take time to get back to your former word counts.


4. Know that resistance often arises when you return to a project. 

Fears and doubts creep in. For me it gets worse the longer I’ve been away from a project. Bring all your best tricks to the table. Read my post about resistance here for tips to get around it. Above all, ignore the voice encouraging you to walk away; keep writing. 


5. Review your work only to get reacquainted with your project. 

It is not the time to craft the perfect sentence on page two. Editing takes time, and you want to get those words down. Unless it is your primary objective, leave editing for another day.


6. Incorporate self-care. 

Set yourself up for success by eating well, drinking plenty of water, sleeping, and taking breaks for movement. You will get back in writing form more quickly if you care for your body and mind.


7. Above all, enjoy the act of writing! 

You are a writer, and you are doing what you love. Revel in the process. Build the muscles and habit of writing again by filling those pages. 

How do you re-enter writing after a break? How do you get back into the swing of things? We invite you to share your experience and tips in the comments below.


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Cast Your Net with Writership, 25 Exercises to Inspire Your Fiction  by Leslie Watts.


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10 Tips to Keep Writing Through the Holidays

Are the holidays playing havoc with your writing routine? Is Christmas ruining your creativity? If you’re feeling too busy or too stressed to write, this post is for you. It’s also a great read for anyone who feels guilty for putting their writing before Christmas shopping and cookie baking. Leslie’s ten tips to keep you writing through the holidays will, we hope, help make this holiday season your most productive yet! 

10 Tips to Keep Writing Through the Holidays with Writership


We’re smack in the middle of the holiday season right now, which is prime time for writers to become derailed. I’m not against a little holiday revelry, but I do understand that for me veering too far from my routine makes it hard to get back to it. If this is true for you, or the holidays tend to get you off track, try some of these tips to help you keep on writing through the holidays and well into 2017.

1. Know yourself.

Think about where you get tripped up. Avoid those things as much as possible. . Of course, you can’t always avoid distractions, so create a plan just in case. Whether it’s a quick walk or a ten-minute writing session, know what helps you regain your focus. Be sure you continue to do what you know helps you stay on track. For example, knowing what I want to work on first thing in the morning helps me to get started and avoid distraction, so before I quit working for the day, I take a five minutes to make a list of priorities for the next day. 


2. Remember your writing goals.

You have your writing goals posted prominently where you can see them, right? (If not, check out this post on writing goals.) Sometimes the sheet I have my goals on can blend into the background. If you haven’t checked in with them in a while, take a moment to do so today. Are they still a good fit? If so, think about what made you pursue them in the first place. Focus on that to help you stay motivated when holiday parties call your name.


3. Stick to your regular routine as much as possible.

There are added commitments and events during the holidays. It’s hard to keep our routines going when we’re away from our usual triggers and may be over-indulging in our rewards. (Check this post on building your writing habit if you don’t have one yet.) Keep doing all the things you can to support your writing as much as you can. You’ll thank yourself when the holidays are over.


4. Schedule your writing time.

Figure out what you need to do to stay on track with your writing goals and schedule that in. If another activity that you must attend to takes the place of your writing time, find another time so that your writing doesn’t suffer. 


5. Lean on your accountability partner or group.

Let your supportive people know what’s hard for you and what you’re hoping to achieve. You can say, “Hey, if you see me on Facebook, tell me to get back to work,” or “I’m going to text you my word count every-other day.”


6. Make use of the time you have.

As Steven Pressfield says, “Work in the cracks.” Get up a little early; go to bed a little later. Use your lunch hour. Ask your spouse to take over the kids for an hour. Bring writing implements with you wherever you go. Spend time thinking about your characters while you drive. Do what you can to make the most of time that isn’t otherwise occupied.


7. Don’t give in to discouragement.

If you miss a milestone, allow yourself a few minutes to feel disappointed, and then get back to it. Don’t waste time beating yourself up about something you didn’t do. Do what you can right now.


8. Say no when you need to.

Recently, a friend was lamenting the fact that there isn’t enough time to do all the things she wants to do during the holidays. I suggested that she pick the things that are important to her and drop all the rest. It’s hard to say no to all that is on offer this time of year. But if we don’t, we have little time left for what is truly important. Prioritize what’s important and say no to everything else. 


9. Prioritize self-care.

Among your priorities should be getting enough sleep, eating well, and moving your body. A healthy and well-rested body and mind supports your creative efforts. When stress goes up, we need to maintain the core activities that help us stay afloat. 


10. Continue under all circumstances.

This comes from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. Something will always compete for your attention, whether it has to do with the holidays, a day job, or [insert challenging life circumstances here]. If writing is one of your big dreams and it’s important to you, then continue no matter what else is happening in any small way you can.


How do you keep writing during the holidays? In what areas do you struggle? We invite you to share in the comments below.


Join Our Crew

If you liked this post and want more from Writership, join our crew. You’ll receive our newsletter and a free copy of Cast Your Net with Writership, a collection of 25 exercises to inspire your fiction.

Name *
Cast Your Net with Writership,   25 Exercises to Inspire Your Fiction  by Leslie Watts


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