19.01.2012

Last Seen.... How to get Back to Writing after the Holidays

Fotolia_671397_S It’s that time of year, in Australia at least, when the summer holidays are drawing to close. It’s also the time to make juicy New Year resolutions (more on that next week). I certainly have a few. One is to keep up with my blog… whatever else is going on in my life ☺

I’ve certainly struggled over the past week to get my brain back into gear and crack on with my novel. Yes, it’s still not finished. Here are some things I’ve found helpful.

  • If you’re itching to get back to writing, but, like one friend, still have the kids at home… Try this.

Before you start a mundane cleaning task, consciously think about what you want to write. Fold the washing AND think how to advance the story. As ideas come, jot them down; send the kids outside and write for 15 minutes.

I know it doesn’t sound much, but it all adds up. It will help the project percolate in your subconscious, making it easier when you do get back to writing.

  • If you’re at your desk and don’t know where to start, re-read the last thing you wrote. After a break, you’ll often be positively surprised. Enjoy re-acquainting yourself with your work.

Give yourself a bite-sized task:

  1. Edit one page.

  2. Re-write two paragraphs.

  3. Write a fresh introduction.

Expect your brain to be woolly on the first day and know it will get easier.

  • If you’re starting a new project, make a list of tasks or do a quick mind-map. Some writers like to start several word documents with a title on each page. This helps them get over that fear of staring at a blank screen.

  • If you’re still stuck, read one of your favourite travel memoir writers. Then, copy out, word for word, a paragraph you love. Look at the rhythm of the sentence, how the verbs function. Get back in touch with the nuts and bolts of writing.

Then, try this exercise.

Find an object related to your travels. Spend six minutes writing intuitively about it. Random words, thoughts, whatever. Don’t censor yourself.

For the next fifteen minutes, use the object to write a scene related to travel.

Describe the object in detail. Pick it up and hold it. How does it make you feel?

Write down as much of its history as you know. What memories does it store? Where did it come from? How did it come into your possession?

In this second section use the object as a way to trigger reflection and anchor your memories.

Inspired? Want to write more?

My first five-week travel memoir course in Sydney starts on 31st January & I have a weekend workshop on 4 & 5th February. Both are at the Sydney Writers Centre. Hope to see you there!


Comments

Joanna Maxwell — 20 January at 09:00AM

Claire, nice to read this very timely advice. Certainly made me realise how much I am NOT writing just now! Thanks...

Claire Scobie — 20 January at 04:13PM

Thanks Joanna, great to hear from you. Hope it inspires you to get scribbling. I really enjoyed your latest two blogs at workincolour about reflecting on 2011 and planning for 2012. They both got me planning and vision mapping!

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