Rusty Writer

I’ve been away from the internet for more than a week dealing with a family emergency.  That emergency has been rife with sorrow, exhaustion, and frustration.  But I’m home for a week before I’ll be going back to Ohio again for round two.

In all that time away I didn’t have a chance to write a single word.  For a writer, not being able to write is torture.  It wasn’t just not being able to write, it was having that part of my brain completely pushed back to the periphery while I dealt with more pressing things.

And this is what happened to my brain

On the 9 hour drive back home though, my writer brain kicked back in again.  I came up with a pretty cool idea for the third book in my Sci-Fi series (the first two books have been drafted but I’ve been focusing on my Historical Romances and haven’t revised them at all yet) along with a few other tweaks for some of my Romances.  It was so incredibly relaxing to have that part of me kick back into gear.

So here I am home again … and I’m not entirely sure how to get the engines going again.

Writing is proving itself to be like an athletic skill.  My best friend is a dancer and she’s told me that when she gets out of practice she gets stiff and inflexible again and needs to work very hard for a long time to get back into the right kind of shape.  Writing is being like that for me right now.

It’s not that I’ve lost my skill, mind you.  I still think it’s there, as evidenced by my imaginings on the PA Turnpike yesterday.  But as I sat in the mechanics shop having my car tuned up this morning I reread a novel I started writing in January, Love in a Man’s World (which started out as my stab at comedic gay erotica but turned into an emotionally compelling dystopian future story set in a world where men outnumber women 10-1) with that old feeling of “wow, how am I going to write this well ever again?”

Do you ever feel that way?  Have you ever taken a significant amount of time off from writing, voluntarily or involuntarily, then tried to come back to it and found yourself overwhelmed?

That’s where I am right now.  Compounding the problem is that as much as I would like to continue with the very last bit of editing my latest Romance, Our Little Secrets, I know that I will be heading out to Ohio again at the end of the week and once again I won’t have time to even think about writing.

So here are my questions to you, oh writer-y friends….  How do you get back into the swing of writing when you’ve had to take some time off?  And what should I spend this week working on, Our Little Secrets, Love in a Man’s World, something else (like The Courageous Heart, the third book in my Medieval trilogy that I started in February but put down again), or should I give myself a break entirely?

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3 thoughts on “Rusty Writer

  1. I’ve read that breaks can sometimes yield unexpected benefits for writers. It’s almost like letting ground lie fallow after years of crops draining it. The time off allows the writer to enrich the soil, even if it’s stressful time off dealing with life. The key is to keep writing immediately after the break and make yourself do it regularly. Perhaps you could choose a practice project of some kind for the first week or two after you get back. In other words, choose something where you don’t necessarily care about quality as much as you would a serious, to-be-published piece.

    Of course, I’m not a published novelist yet and don’t follow this advice very well after my own absences. The point is, breaks, so long as we work to make them impermanent immediately, can actually make us better writers, apparently.

    I’m sorry about what you’re going through now *hugs* Hang in there. Even if you are home for now and able to write, it doesn’t mean your brain is back from the stress.

    • Yeah, I do feel as though I’ve gained some perspective from the break. I actually contemplated the whole fallow field analogy as I was driving yesterday. I definitely think it will help when I’m able to get back to revising Our Little Secrets. 🙂

      And thanks for the show of support!

  2. Sometimes time off is all we need to kickstart those creative juices. Sitting down at my computer inspires me—or maybe it’s a Pavlovian thing. 😉 When I feel like getting a good warmup in first, I find connecting with creative friends and hiking helpful. Nothing like a good daydream! Hope you’re feeling lots better, Merry.

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