When Life Keeps You From Writing

By: Ebonye Gussine Wilkins

Man, it’s been a tough summer. It’s kept me from writing, and that bothers me. I had set myself on a pretty strict schedule (read: a ridiculous, unrealistic schedule considering my primary obligations) and it was just impossible to keep up with. Life just got in the way, and my writing suffered. I went from writing 1,000 words in one sitting, to maybe 500 words in a sitting. I think it’s been four weeks since I last worked on Bobbing and Weaving.

writer's block
Calvin explains writer’s block. Original Link: http://visualquill.com/images/Blog/writer’s%20block.jpg

It is really unfortunate, because I had just gotten past a rare bout of writer’s block. I finally figured out which direction the story should go in. I was ready to go. I had 18,000 words completed and I was one-third of the way to my goal. But I haven’t written in weeks, and it will likely show when I start writing again. I wanted to avoid the sophomore slump, especially since Somewhat Close To Normal took ten years to get from the first chapter to a published work. I didn’t want it to take that long again. I was convinced that I could hammer out a complete first draft in an entire summer. What kills me is that I knew I could. I had the drive. I am the kind of writer that takes one chapter at a time. I do not over-think it. I have developmental editors and copy editors who will tell me if something isn’t right. So I just spend my time writing, as revisions can always come later.

But I am rusty. I hate writing gaps like this because then it is extra work catching all the continuity errors. You have to remember what mindset you were in when you first wrote something, and then continue that train of thought. Being rusty doesn’t bother me that much, but I know it bothers most writers.

Well, when you get rusty (especially when life keeps you from writing) my advice is to continue anyway. Get back to writing, even if you think your writing isn’t very good. It isn’t about your writing being perfect every step of the way. It is about getting back to writing, no matter if it’s been a month or a year.

It’s the same excuse that people (*cough, cough* myself) use about exercising. It has been too long and I am out of shape. That is no reason not to start. Once you get the muscles working again, they will build strength again, and it will get easier the more you practice and the more time goes by. Writing is no different. You will eventually find your groove again, and your writing will return to what you want it to be.

What do you do to get back on the writing track? Let us know in the comments.

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