|This is Jasper, the little gnome that keeps my carrots company.|
While there are a few still to come, most of those are over now.
And then we all went on vacations and now we have to take care of our mini humans that are no longer holed up in a brick building for 10 hours a day.
And most of us aren't writing.
Somewhere in the excitement and bustle of the start of summer, we've forgotten to set aside time to sit down and get some words on paper. And as a result, a good chunk of us haven't written a word in weeks. Weeks. Sometimes MONTHS!
So if you're one of those who hasn't written in forever, what do you do?
1. Don't feel bad. We all go through rough spots. Things get busy, stuff happens, the well runs dry, the muse is on vacation, insert relevant phrase here. It happens. It happens. Instead of feeling wretched and lazy, congratulate yourself on recognizing your shortcomings. You now know that there is a problem, and you can fix it.
2. Set aside some time. You can keep saying that you'll get back to it when you have a free moment all you want, but until you actually MAKE a free moment, there won't be one. We're busy. The washing will always need doing, the lawn will always have to be mowed, and the novel will have to be written. If you make time to wash and mow, you can make time to write.
3. Read a good book. Sometimes fixing this writing sludge is as easy as picking up a good book and instilling that sense of awe and wonder that fills you and makes you want to write like that again. Heck, read a bad book; tell yourself that you can do better than that, and then do it.
4. Read over your own stuff. If that half-finished manuscript has been open on your desktop all day and you just can't face that next blank page; don't. Go back a couple of chapters, go back to the beginning if you have to, and fall in love with it again. Get back into the mood and groove of your writing. Visit your characters as if they are old friends and you want to know what they've been up to for the last month. Hopefully they'll tell you, and you can start writing again.
5. When you do start writing, don't force it. If all you can do is 100 words, that's 100 words you didn't have before. Try again later. Celebrate those 100 words. Rejoice if you can get 500 words. If you can get to 1000, allow yourself five minutes on Twitter to celebrate with your writer friends. Set a timer though. And then get back to work.
Take small steps. After a four week or longer draught, you're not going to be back to writing 2500 words a day. Build up those muscles slowly so you don't burn out and hopefully soon you'll be back on your way to a finished manuscript!
You can do it!