How To Pick Up The Pieces Of Your (Writing) Life

“Just as a good rain clears the air, a good writing day clears the psyche.”–Julia Cameron

For writers, a day spent writing is a day well spent. What happens, though, when those days are few to none?

As writers, many of us experience periods of time when we are either unable to write as much as we want or unable to write at all.

The reasons for these breaks are as varied as writers themselves. For some, it’s due to a dearth of ideas that stunt their progress, for others it’s because primary jobs take priority, and then there’s those of us for whom life gets in the way of our passion.

So, what happens to the writer whose writing life has fallen apart?

If Julia Cameron is correct in stating that a good writing day clears a writer’s psyche then a bad one or one in which no writing is done clouds and even damages a writer’s creative mind. After all, the inability to release inspired ideas, give voice to waiting characters, and put story lines into print often causes a writer to feel discouraged, and even defeated.

We must remember that being a writer isn’t defined just by the moments when we are writing. Being a writer is also characterized by our passion, our creativity, and our desire to put pen to page even after days, months, or even years of not being able to do so.

It can be, however, for many writers paralyzing to start again. So, I have compiled a list of ways to help you to pick up the pieces of your writing life.

Make A Plan: After not writing for awhile, you need a plan. Before one finger touches the keyboard, you must know the when, the where, and the how of starting again. Choose a date, allot consistent times, and pick your project.

Embrace the Hard Work: You will have to reread your work. Be it hundreds of pages of a fiction manuscript or ten pages of poetry, it will take time and energy. You will have to, in many ways, begin the entire process again.

Rediscover You As A Writer: You are still a writer even you aren’t writing. But it’s easy to forget that part of you when you aren’t engaged in the process. The best way for you to remind yourself is to write. After all, doing what you love and being connected to what defines a significant part of you will help you rediscover you as a writer.

Push Through The Pain: There will be moments when you will thrive, grateful to be again writing. Projects will again be picked up and words will fill pages. There will be, however, many more moments when you want to destroy your forgotten manuscript, burn your newly written pages, and shove the writer in you back into the corner. This is when you must push through the pain. Keep reading, keep writing, keep going.

Right Your Wrong Writing Ways: Think about why you stopped writing. Take this reason or reasons and consider, access, and face them. Now figure out how to right your wrong writing ways. You can’t solve a problem until you know what it is. So be it fears, criticism, self-doubt, or life—don’t let it stop you.

Make Room For The Writer: You can’t let all your reasons for not writing stop you from beginning again. Yes, writer’s block exists, jobs pay the bills and life is busy but there is always a way to make room for the writer. Find that way.

Accept The Famine with the Feasts: Even when you successfully prioritize, carve out time, and make room to write there will periods of time when the words flow and times when they don’t. Accept both the ebb and flow of ideas. Then make the most of both of these times—the time to create and the time to reflect.

Thank for reading. I look forward to your comments.


10 thoughts on “How To Pick Up The Pieces Of Your (Writing) Life

  1. When I’ve been away from writing for a while, I usually start with poetry. I write my feelings down in staccato, and just free myself to list my emotions without connecting them.

    1. Thank you, Amy. I really try to hold onto that idea that we are still writers even in the spaces when we aren’t writing, but it can also feel a bit fraudulent sometimes. I guess that is a part of what pushes us back to our craft.

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About Sherry Parnell