Restarting Never Gets Easy


Starting back up writing has been painful and slow this time around. I’m not even talking about having taken months, or even weeks, off. I’m talking not being able to build any serious momentum for most of the last six months.

It’s frustrating, but we hobbyists aren’t alone.

Over on Dean Wesley Smith‘s blog, he’s discussing how slow building a career in writing can be, how it was never expected to be something quick and easy in his days of traditional publishing. (He’s also talking about how many, who started in 2011, are now angry and defensive about him – someone with a FORTY YEAR CAREER in writing – saying it’s not likely to happen in a year or two now that the Gold Rush of 2009 is over.)

But, he also touches on how hard it can be for him, a writer who has routinely hit 750K to a million words a year, to start writing again after going off the bandwagon. He took a trip to Las Vegas recently to spend time with old friends. And since he’s been back, he hasn’t managed more than a thousand words or so a day, if that. Plenty of days without any, actually.

Now, he had legitimate reasons for a slow recovery. He got a flu on the plane. He’s been recovering from that, and if you’ve ever tried to get over the flu you know how hard that can be, how long that can take. But he’s also just not feeling the novel. He can’t do what he calls getting the book back in his head. He can’t find that groove for that novel.

He, of course, has every confidence he’ll do so. It just takes time. A painful (his word) process. Better to not stop than to try and restart. And so, while I’m not reveling in his struggle, it was nice to see I’m not that abnormal after all. I have a book I’m more than 11K words into, and I can’t seem to find my way to the writing desk to get anything done on it. Very frustrating. Demoralizing, really.

But some of it’s a choice too. I know I could’ve done words last night. I know it. Instead, I watch my son play video games (which I really love doing for some weird reason) and do searches on the game for him. Not the most productive use of my time. And this has gone on more nights than not since Christmas when we got him the game.

Well, the fight’s not over. I put myself behind the 8-ball this way though. Taking most of January off, after setting a goal of 300K new words this year, wasn’t a great idea.

Other factors come into play. Life has come in like gangbusters this month, after a sweet, peaceful December. I guess we’ll see if that keeps up. And if it does, how will I get around the obstacle?

Stay tuned!

Anyway, if you seem to be struggling to get off the ground as a writer this year, don’t feel bad. Even the pros with long-term careers have issues with restarting sometimes. Be encouraged, it will pass. Just be patient with yourself and get to the keyboard every chance you have.

All the best, and I’ll see you next time.

-jdt-

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2 thoughts on “Restarting Never Gets Easy

  1. Sometimes, it can be hard to take that next bite of the elephant when your stomach is full. I suppose one has to digest a bit first, and then go forward again. Things go in cycles. LTY

    Here’s to hoping THIS particular cycle ends really, REALLY soon. 🙂 LTY2!

  2. I like DWS’s point that as writers we’re not stuck in a story the way a reader is. The reader starts at the beginning, reads in a linear way to the end. We don’t have to do that when we’re writing. We can write any old where we please. Stuck at a point? Go write another part. Or cycle through and add description and depth. Add a different point of view. When it’s all done, the reader will think it’s brilliant, in a linear way.

    I love that too. But by GUM it’s a tough shift in mentality. Before DWS said it, I never actually considered doing things that way. And so far, I’ve not had to, but wow, it might just be what’s needed to move things along. Great reminder, thanks Sean!

    Maybe that’s a way back in? Try writing another part of the story?

    It won’t hurt to try, that’s for sure! Thanks for the suggestion/reminder! 🙂

    Of course it’s possible to end up with a hundred and eighty vignettes that way, and putting them together can be like one of those three-dimensional jigsaw puzzles of the Eiffel Tower.

    Haha! Sure can. But I’d rather have something that could potentially form a cohesive unit than be stuck with a beginning and nothing to follow. 🙂

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