How do you start writing again after a four month hiatus?
Well first, you can’t dwell on the questionality of taking an entire four months off from writing. I knew it wasn’t a good idea in June when I set my pen down and that point was hammered home as I picked it up this morning and found I had forgotten how to use it. Isn’t writing like riding a bike, once you learn you never forget? Right? Possibly, but that doesn’t account for the squeaks, the rust, the wobbly tires, and the voice in the head doubting the entire endeavor. Can I still do this? Will I end in a ditch on my head with a mouth full of dirt?
In a lot of ways picking up the bike after a spell is easier than picking up the pen. Physical vs mental exercises. We walk every day, using nary a though in our head to keep our balance, place one foot in front of the other and move across a room, a driveway, an entire block or more. Walking uses the same skill set as riding a bike. But writing? Writing is the opposite of walking or riding a bike, yes when we are in our own writerly world, the hands fly across the page or the keys with ease, never failing, but it’s the conscious use of the creative centers of the brain that make it such a challenging endeavor and so different than any other activity. It’s the accessing of those creative synapses that is so hard to recreate for the first time after a hiatus. The accessing and the translating of creative thought into physical expression – writing. Believe me, any writer will tell you how fast those skills go rusty. Sometimes overnight. But four months. It’s like I have to learn to write all over again. And my book, forget it, I don’t even know where to start on that.
Last June, I left my book in a fugue state. I had just paid for a professional critique of my story idea and it came back red. At one point while reading through the extensive comments, all I could do was laugh. I thought I had turned in A+ material, and it threw me into a tailspin to find out I hadn’t. Reading is subjective and writing is an art form, but there are still key qualities that make a story really good, and while I write because I have stories to tell and I love where writing takes me in my mind, I also would love to do it full time, and that means having enough commercial success to pay the bills, So C- just won’t cut it.
Maybe I should just keep my day job. (Of course my day job heard me think that and doubled my workload during the summer).
So how do you get back on the writing wagon after falling off and being left for the scavengers? Here are the proper steps.
- Sit you ass back in that chair, in front of that blank page.
- Pick up the pen.
- Write some more
- And write some more still.
- And keep writing.
- And when you think you’re finished, write just a bit more.
Writing is a lot like riding a bike, you never actually forget how, you just have to get past that big first step, that self-doubt filled valley of fire and brimstone, with warning signs posted every four inches, warning against traversing the terrain -You can’t do this; Turn back now before it’s too late; Imminent death awaits.
- Remember that what is inside your head is your best friend and your worst enemy and Valleys of fire and brimstone are ripe with possibility.