Monday, August 20, 2012

Jump Back Into Your Story

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

5442311420_28108a7781It happens to all of us.

If life hasn’t hijacked your writing schedule, then you’ve either been very lucky or else you haven’t been writing for very long.

Writing first thing in the day helps with this—but it’s not a sure-fire fix, either.

The important thing is not to let our falling behind completely shut us down.

I’m probably about 8 or 9 pages behind right now on my current project after a wild last week. I wrote every day, but I couldn’t make my daily goal.  What I’ll be doing this week:

Jumping back into our story:

Consider limited Re-reading: The worst part is losing the story thread.  I’ll usually read the last couple of pages and just forge ahead.  If I poke around too long in past pages, I start getting my editor hat on. For me, that kills the creative process.  But every writer is different.  And this is harder to do if you’re way behind.

Timer:  I’ll write as quickly as I can for 10 minutes.  I won’t worry about if it’s something that’s going to need to be cut later.  The important thing is making process on the story…mentally, that’s important.  The next day, the writing will be more focused.

Lists: At the very least, sit down and make a list for options for your next scene, options for your character’s development, options for the next big conflict. Get your mind back into the story again.

Silence your inner critic:  It’s not doing us any good.

Don’t try to catch up:  It’s not fun to meet your daily goal and then write more than that to satisfy your catch-up goal.  If I’m not close to a deadline (and right now I’m not), then I’m going to forget about those 8 or 9 pages I’m behind on.  Each day is an opportunity to meet that day’s goal. 

The important thing is to pick up our story again.  It might be that the only way of doing that means taking a small notebook on the go to jot down story notes.  I’m doing that today when I take my kids to their dentist appointment.  Just figure out a way to fit it in.

How do you jump back into your story after a break?

Image: Flickr: Hamad AL-Mohannna