I was out of town last week and I didn't do any writing. (Yes, you read blog posts while I was gone. I had them scheduled ahead of time.) I didn't even have my computer with me, which was shocking even to me. I never go anywhere without my computer (except to France, but I wrote on my Ipad while there).
I knew ahead of time that I would be in meetings and working on reports unrelated to writing while gone and so I didn't attempt to write. I was so busy (and then brain dead at the end of the day) that I didn't even think about my writing.
Which was fine. Then I returned home. And my brain refused to connect with any of my creative writing projects. It was as if they were just gone. The current novel I love? Couldn't remember what it was about. That short story I've been working on? Hmmm, remind me who the characters are again?
But, in the words of none other than the Dude himself, this aggression will not stand, man.
And so I set out to get back to my writing. Here's what I did:
I re-read my work. Fortunately for me, my critique group meets this week and I needed to send a chapter to them. So that became my entry point--re-reading the chapter I'd written before I left and doing some light editing on it. Oh, that's right. I remember what's going on here. From there, I got interested in how I'd envisioned the plot and I re-read my scene list. And made some small changes. And from there, I remembered a new character I'd thought up and wanted to create a dossier for--and whadda you know, I was writing.
As I re-read, I took notes. I love notes. Notes are my best friend. I think they should be yours, too. Notes prime the pump. They get story ideas going. They reconnect you to your work. Notes are amazing. Take lots of notes. They will lead you back to your writing. (It is worth pointing out that I take notes by hand and I think you should, too. This is part of why they work--because you're utilizing a different part of the brain than when you are on the computer. Or at least that's what it feels like.)
Finally, I did research. What writer doesn't love research? It can be the best procrastination device ever. But in this case it helped me get back to my writing by delivering some interesting litle tidbits that sparked ideas.
So that's how I got back to my writing this week. These are simple techniques you can use any time you've been away from your writing for awhile, or if you are experiencing the dreaded writer's block.
So, tell me--what do you do to get back to your writing after being away from it for awhile?