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I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wednesday Writing Advice: Pick Yourself Up

This is part of a weekly series on Writing Advice. Click on the tag below for more posts!

(Image borrowed from: dailypicksandflicks.com all rights and permissions remain)

Here's a fact: Writing is hard work. 

And another fact: Creative people, when left to their own devices, sometimes have trouble with maintaining consistency. I know I do. So there will be times when you start off a project with a huge amount of enthusiasm and write for a long time all in a row...and then you miss a day. And then you miss some more. 

At this point, it's usually when people drop a project and start something else. But if you really believe in what you're doing, you've got to get back on that bucking horse, and pick up where you left off. I don't think there's any special or magic way to make it easier to do--it's just something you have to do, so you do it. 

Cultivate stubbornness, it's the best thing you can do if you're at all like me, and inclined to idea-hop without finishing, because the next idea is always shinier. When you realize you haven't worked on your project in a while, just quietly shake yourself off and sit down, and write, even if it sucks, and keep coming back until you're done. Remember last week? All first drafts are lousy-- and this is a big part of why. It's hard to maintain that sort of attention over the length of time it takes to write a book, but in the end, you have a book, and real, honest-to-goodness book, and it's all yours. 

Also cultivate the habit of always thinking about what you'll do next, so that you can avoid some of that resistance to sitting back down. It helps if you really love your story and your characters; if you don't, there's a different sort of picking up you need to do: the sort where you reevaluate the project and decide whether you need to drop it officially and get back on the wagon by starting over, or starting a new project. But the point is to avoid the slow dying off--keep coming back until you know whether you need to do something else for real, or until it's done. 

That's it.

I think it's more than worth it. What do you think? How do you get back in the swing after some time away?

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