Reconnect with your Writing


Vision 74


Reconnect with your Writing


Lazette Gifford

Joyously Prolific Blog

Copyright © 2014, Lazette Gifford, All Rights Reserved



It's the start of a new year and many of you are probably thinking this is the time to get back into the act of writing for 2014. It isn't like you couldn't do this at any time of the year, but there is that extra little nudge as a new year starts that can add some impetus to getting back on track.

However, sometimes it's not so easy to simply decide to get back to writing and actually do it.


Don't try to do too much at first. Sometimes it's better to ease into the writing rather than leap in as though you had never taken a hiatus from the work. You may have been writing a thousand words a day half a year ago (or more) when you stopped, but that doesn't mean you can easily do the same again. Besides, the reason you dropped writing might well be related to trying to write too much.

If you write 250 words to 300 words a day, you will have a novel by the end of one year. That is basically one page of writing a day. Even if you are writing short stories, this is an excellent number to aim at because you do not actually need to count words, you simply note how much of a page you have written. However, make certain you have formatted the work properly -- 1.5 to 2 times line spacing, 12pt, about 1 inch margins all around. Realize that dialogue uses more space for less words than blocks of text (like these).

And I do mean every day. This might not be practical for some people, but making a solid commitment to a writing schedule is a good way to keep at it. Reward yourself for making weekly goals, if that helps. Make sure you have a time that is as free of distractions as possible. You won't need long for 300 or so words once you get used to it.


Do you want to restart something you dropped or begin something new? Perhaps you ought to consider completely restarting whatever it is you dropped. Did you get bored with the story? Did you lose your path and simply didn't know where to go from here?

If you left something unfinished try to analyze why you didn't write any more on the storyline, even if you have no intention of doing more on that particular story. There's a good reason for this: If you carefully look at why the story failed, and why you stopped writing because of it, you are less likely to make that same mistake again.

I've seen a number of writers make it past the opening of a novel and stall. They start a new one and get to about the same place and drop that story, too. There's an obvious reason, but somehow they never make the connection. They have not thought through the repercussions of what they created for the inciting actions of the story.

For many, this translates into a dread of the mythical middle of the novel. Mythical? Yes -- because a book really isn't divided into opening, middle and ending. A novel (and shorter works for that matter) flows from the first steps to the end, building throughout the story. What happens in the first twenty pages affects what happens in the forty pages that follows and so on. There is no sudden dividing point.

However. . . .

Off the start of the novel, you are going to spend some time introducing your various characters and the world in which they live, along with moving the plot along. At the end, you are going to bring all the trouble of the plot down to a final, this can't be put off, confrontation. The middle allows for not only expansion of the plot, but gives a little area in which your characters can make mistakes and correct them. Your characters can have a crisis of faith in their abilities or their cause. They can do any number of things that takes them off-course and ups the tension, but which has to be sorted out by the final confrontation. And don't consider this simply for your main characters. There is no reason why minor characters can't lose their way, forcing a Main Character off his or her path to go and lead the sheep back to the fold.

If you are restarting something you abandoned, there are three things you can try:

1. Read the entire manuscript from beginning to where you stopped and then continue writing.

2. Read the last ten to twenty pages and then leap in and continue.

3. Take what you have written and write an outline based on that work, then continue the outline so that you don't get stuck again.


Make certain you are going into this with a good attitude.

Writers often don't consider attitude when they sit down to write. If you sit down with a scowl, determined to get the job of writing those words done so you can go on to other things . . . well, I bet you see the problem.

You have to want to write. You have to want to write the story you are working on, as well. In some cases (especially if you have a contract), you might not have a choice. If the last problem is not the case, then you have no reason to face writing as though you are being dragged down into the office job from hell.

If you don't like writing, don't do it.

But if you do like writing, don't make yourself miserable just because you think that's how 'real' writers work. It's not true. For every writer who says he or she has to cut open their wrists and bleed words, there are a few dozen who can't wait to get a pen or keyboard in hand so that they can release the words building up in their heads.

Attitude is going to make a huge difference in how you approach your work. If you make this into a 'job' like working in an office, then it not only affects how much you look forward to it (like not at all -- I had office jobs, I know that feeling) to how much enthusiasm shows in your writing.

If you do not love what you are writing, how can you expect anyone else to? If you do not look forward to writing, how can you love what you write?

Yes, there are those who don't enjoy writing, but like the idea of having written something. Do you really want to go through the process hating it? Can you see yourself still writing ten years from now if you hate sitting down and doing so?

It is possible to write excellent work and still hate doing it, much the same as it is possible for a bricklayer to make a gorgeous wall, but that doesn't mean he's going to want to do all that work again. For him, it's a job. You don't want writing to be nothing more than another job.


So remember: Goals, planning and attitude are the three things which can help you get back into the flow of writing. Start small, pay attention (and look ahead) at what your story needs and enjoy the process. You'll have a much better chance of not only reaching 'The End' but of being happy to start the next story as well.