Monday, October 14, 2013

The Zombie Writer: How to Come Back From the Dead

by Rebecca J. Carlson

With Halloween on the way I thought I'd keep up the theme from Jonene's last post and talk about how to come back from the dead.

It happens to all of us. Maybe we finished a big writing project and decided to take a little break that became longer... and longer. Maybe we moved to a new house. Got a new job. Had a new baby. Or maybe after a book release life was just an utter whirlwind of self-promotion. For whatever reason there are times in life when we suddenly realize we haven't written anything new in, like, forever.

So we sit down and try to pick up right where we left off. And realize that there's just no pulse.

How do you revive the writer in you?

Here's a few things that have worked for me when coming back from long breaks:

0. START! Write one word. One sentence. Something. Then you can get up and go do something else. While you're away, your thoughts will wander back to that one word or one sentence, and you'll think of what comes next. Go write that down too. See? You're STILL ALIVE!

1. Take it easy at first. Don't get frustrated if you need more breaks than you used to. Writing for six hours a day when you're used to zero isn't going to work any better than running five miles when you're out of shape. You can do it, but there's going to be some serious pain involved. Start slow and gradually work up to the writing routine you want to have.

2. Rather than tackling a big, important project, warm up with some writing prompts, free-writes, or that short story you've always wanted to try your hand at. Have fun with it.

3. Get other people involved with your writing. Talk to other writers and share your writing goals. Like having a jogging partner, this can really help keep you on track.

4. Think about the writing projects you're working on and see if you know anyone you can interview to get good details for your settings, characters, or plots. These people will ask you how the writing is going, and you'd better be able to honestly say you've been working at it.

5. Clear some clutter out of your life so you have more room for writing. If you just can't do that, try keeping a notebook or a computer file always open and ready for you to jot down a few sentences whenever you have time.

What's helped you climb out from six feet under?

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Rebecca. Just doing something is progress. Signing up for NaNo is madness, but it gets you going, too. Nothing like watching your progress bar, sharing the adventure with friends, and churning out the pages to wake up the dead writer in you!


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