#IWSG: Involuntary Writing Breaks

Hello, friends!  Welcome to this month’s meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop created by Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosted this month by Diedre Knight, Douglas Thomas Greening, Nick Wilford, and Diane Burton.  If you’re a writer and if you feel in any way insecure about your writing life, click here to learn more about this amazingly supportive group!

At some point, every blogger has to say “sorry for not blogging in a while.”  This is then followed by the usual list of excuses: illness, family stuff, trouble at work, etc.  Today, it’s my turn.  Sorry for not blogging in a while.  I got sick (bad mayonnaise, probably), then there was some family stuff, plus a whole lot of trouble at work.  As I result, I didn’t have much time for blogging, or for any kind of writing, all month long.

Sometimes life forces you to take a writing break.  It’s frustrating for two reasons.  First, there’s the involuntary nature of this sort of writing break.  And second, even when life does settle down again, it takes time to get back into the rhythm and flow of writing.  Today, I’d like to share a few of the tricks I use to help myself bounce back from an involuntary writing break.

Drawing My Muse: As regular readers of this blog know, my muse is very real to me.  She started out as just another character in a story, then she evolved into something more.  I like to have a picture of my muse nearby whenever I do my writing.  So when I’m trying to bounce back from an involuntary writing break, my first step is to draw a new picture of my muse.  Like this new picture:

Re-Reading My Story: If my involuntary writing break interrupted me in the middle of a writing project, odds are I cannot just pick up again right where I left off.  So I’ll go back, re-read however much writing I got done before the break, and try to immerse myself in that particular story world once more.  This may take some time.  I may end up spending a few days—or perhaps a week or more—editing and re-writing stuff rather than working on new material.  But eventually, I’ll remember what I was trying to do with my story, and I’ll be able to make forward progress once more.

Writing an IWSG Blog Post: And lastly, another great tool to help me bounce back from an involuntary writing break is to write one of these IWSG posts.  I’ve made a commitment, both to myself and to the group, to do this once every month.  It’s a strong enough commitment that it keeps my writing habits alive, even in stressful times, and it’s always helpful to hear from fellow writers, whether they have advice and encouragement to offer, or whether they merely want to commiserate over the struggles we all face from time to time.

So do you have any tricks or techniques that help you bounce back from an involuntary writing break?  Let me know!  Seriously, please tell me.  I think I have a pretty good writing recovery strategy in place, but I’m looking for ideas to make it even better.

38 thoughts on “#IWSG: Involuntary Writing Breaks

  1. I like this strategy! When I’m coming back from a writing break, I like to start with something small—haiku writing exercises, 100-word stories—to build my confidence back up again to take on the longer projects!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m deep in a fiction writing funk – nothing written for ages. Lots of reasons, some self-imposed, some otherwise. I was out driving yesterday, and found myself writing something in my head. I was almost flooded with relief that I hadn’t lost my writing way for good.

    My method is to keep on writing in whatever form I can fit in – that can be with these monthly blog posts, my general blog, my journal, even comments on other blog posts. Just something to keep the flow from completely drying up.

    Great new muse drawing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with your list. For me, my breaks are looong. Few years in fact but I honestly needed that time to get my head straight. Now that I’m back to a more regular routine it’s just posting on my blog that helps. Post there so have to have some content so go to my online group, interact, content galore. Then like yourself the ISWG is something I’ve decided to do regardless of what’s happening in my life. Cas and point last month I was in the middle of a high fever and I posted. Haha
    Glad to see you back on the wagon 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good strategy! A mentor once suggested I write about the very thing that kept me from writing – if only for myself. Let it out once and be done with it. IWSG posts are excellent writing exercises 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry to hear about your troubles. I’ve had a few myself lately. Never fun.

    No comment on fiction writing. I’m pretty hopeless in that department.

    But when it comes to pulling out of a blogging break, I’ve found it helps not to set the bar too high for breaking the silence. You don’t have to come back with a big splash. It’s okay to start again with small quick posts. That helps me in just getting back into the editor and starting something, which often feels like the biggest part of the battle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just getting started is always the hardest part for me. I feel the same way about setting the bar low at first. It makes it easier to get started, and I know from experience that once I get started I’ll be eager to keep going.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A timely post given my current situation. I hope you’re feeling better now and life is settling down for you. Re-reading is something I do as well, I just have to be careful not to fall into the edit, edit, and edit some more the current words instead of moving on to new ones.
    Wishing you progress as you come out of your involuntary break.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Re-reading my stories and writing blog posts are usually my ‘go-to’ as well. Due to chronic illness, I haven’t been doing much writing this year, that’s why I’m doing NaNoWriMo. I could do with the motivation! Welcome back, and I love that picture of your muse. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the things I like about Nanowrimo is that it can help jumpstart writers who may be in a slump. I’ve never done Nano myself, because it’s kind of incompatible with my own writing process, but I can totally see it helping a lot of people.


  8. I did wonder why I wasn’t seeing any posts. Nevertheless no need to apologise for being human… Life comes with challenges sometimes. After a bereavement in my family, I was barely posting once every two-three months…. It happens…. and only restarted this year… Wish you well.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I I try writing about something fun cheerful and contemporary to get back into the game. Even a one line or two about something inspirational can be quite powerful. So I browse the net and find a jpeg, all I have to do is imagine being there for real and the words flow.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The strategy I came up with is to only work on projects short enough that they don’t have to go on hiatus, which is why I am a weekly blogger whose posts take only a week to make.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good strategy. Although if I may say, you obviously put a lot of time into researching your blog posts. That’s a big commitment, even if your projects are always contained within a one week time frame. Just saying don’t sell yourself short.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is true. I tried writing full novels when I was a full time student with little time and frequent hiatuses. I’d spent like 4 years on one story then abandon it after realizing I’d lost interest in that world. So I guess the strategy is to not take 4 years on a single project.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I think you’ve listed some really good ways to get back into the writing routine. Usually when I feel the lack of motivation or even lack of enthusiasm to write or get back into a writing routine, I’ll either watch or read a biographical account of or an interview with an author whose work I really like reading. This reminds me that I’m falling behind and so motivates me to get back into the act. It also tells me that if that writer could do it, so can I.

    Thanks for the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

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