1. raccoonwrites

    raccoonwrites New Member

    Aug 16, 2016
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    Tips for getting back into writing after long break?

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by raccoonwrites, Aug 16, 2016.


    I recently signed up here in a bid to, as my question suggests, get back into writing after a long break, and was wondering if anyone has any tips?

    As a teenager, I wrote almost every day, but somewhere between going to university, getting a BA and an MA, traveling, and working really hard on the journalism thing (I'm a journalist as my 'day-job' now so it kind of paid off), I let it get to the point where, except a couple of creative writing projects for school, a few poems and fragments of dialogue or prose, I haven't finished a substantial piece of creative writing in a really long time. I've been writing odd things, but honestly no more than once a month for maybe three or four years.

    I write super regularly anyway as a journalist, and because its my job its just instinct now, so hoping trying to write stories and poems regularly will use a lot of the same skills.

    TLDR - What do you guys do to write regularly? How do you get into a routine? How can I finally sit down at my computer and write, say, a whole short story for the first time in years?

    All advice much appreciated :)
  2. Aaron Smith

    Aaron Smith Banned Contributor

    Jun 2, 2013
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    I write when I feel like it. You just have to find out what works for you.
  3. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    Find something you're really excited to write about. Being in journalism, you might come across interesting stories anyway - use them as inspiration - how do you think X got there? What do you think would have happened if Y hadn't been there, if Z found out this info earlier? etc.

    And the rest - sheer discipline really. If you don't wanna write, no one can make you. When I was actively writing, I wrote almost everyday because I told myself so - I said, "I WILL write. I WILL finish." I never "hoped" to finish, I never "wanted" to finish. There was never an "if" about it. I simply will. It's just a decision really. Now whether your work is of publishable quality isn't a matter of will and just because it's done doesn't make it any good - but if simply writing and getting a draft done is your goal, then really that's all you need. The simplest thing, really, but also probably the hardest.

    It's also good to spend time living your life - take joy in your work, take joy in your family and friends, spend quality time with people you love and doing other things you love, be it a walk through the park or a coffee at your favourite cafe or a good movie or staring at baby pictures. Allow yourself time to relax and to take inspiration from things around you. Allow yourself breaks from writing so that you can breathe a little - spend time thinking of your story. Sitting down and thinking is also productive and necessary work.

    Experiment - find what works for you in terms of pacing, how you schedule your writing into your daily life, how you construct a story etc.

    And don't make the mistake I made - never lose your inner child when it comes to making stories. Don't say, "This doesn't make sense, scrap it!" Just run with it for now, have fun. Have lots of fun. Have so much fun that you wouldn't see anything as wasted no matter the quality of the result. Don't be too harsh on yourself.
  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Jul 7, 2016
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    I wrote my first novel between journalism school and my first reporting job. After that, there was never any time for things like that. My goals shifted and I worked hard in the profession. Journalism is a tough industry. Reporting is a tough job. It's very demanding. It can easily take over your life. So, why now are you looking to write poetry and short stories? Are you looking to get out of journalism but still write? Most journalists I know who have written books or take on outside writing projects tend to do something close to their reporting. Something they've already (at least somewhat) proven to be know something about. The fact that you are looking in such a completely opposite direction probably means you're just sick of journalism. I think that's okay. I get that. It was about a year after leaving journalism that I started writing creatively. I think the only reason I could stick with it long enough to get as good as I have (which probably isn't that good) is because I was a journalist for so long. If deadline writing hasn't taught you how to just write, I don't think anything will.
  5. Brindy

    Brindy Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2016
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    Somerset, UK
    I often wondered if having an interest (writing) turn into a job with deadlines would take the joy out of it. Do you have any reason for wanting to get the joy back into it now, or just a yearning to discover whether you still can?

    I think the key is to have a purpose. Find that and you may find the motivation.
  6. MarcT

    MarcT Active Member

    Aug 16, 2016
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    Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    Much of the battle is motivation, but when you get that spark, that light bulb moment and you think 'Yes, this might just work...', the motivation will follow.
    I´m lazy by nature if something doesn't grab me by the throat, but when it does I literally throw myself into it, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else.
    I would imagine that being a journalist, you're fine tuned to hone in on a subject, much like a bloodhound would do. From my point of view, you probably have a distinct advantage over many of us in that respect.
    Best of luck and just write, whatever it is.
  7. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Supporter Contributor

    Jul 11, 2010
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    Near Sedro Woolley, Washington
    Hi, @raccoonwrites, and welcome to the forum! Please read our New Member Quick Start - it'll get you going around here.

    I took the liberty of moving this thread to the New Member Introduction area. It's really an intro thread, so that's where it belongs.

    As for your question, I think a good first step is joining this forum. It motivates you! The more you participate here, the more inspired you'll be to write. At least, it works for me. :)
  8. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

    Mar 6, 2016
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    I'd start with a journal. Take a half an hour to describe your day, what you thought about, what you saw, what you might like to do tomorrow. Turn off the editor and just let it flow. If a fragment of a fictional plot or a character pops up, go with it for a few paragraphs and see what happens.
    minstrel likes this.

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