Friday, August 18

How to Write Again after a Break

How to Write Again after a Break


You may have noticed I took an unscheduled leave of absence. Sorry about that. I was ticking something off my bucket list: being involved with the making of a movie!

And by “being involved” I mean that I wanted to do something that would give me a fly-on-the-wall perspective, something that would allow me to watch and think about what was going on. Being an extra (or ‘background actor’) gave me that opportunity!

Unfortunately, because of the pesky NDAs I signed, I can’t say more about it than that. If you ever have a chance to be an extra or background actor in a show, go for it! Of course, make sure it’s a legitimate offer, but if it is you’ll meet some VERY interesting people—your fellow background actors!

Okay, enough about that!

What I want to talk abut today is getting back in the groove. In my case, the writing groove which REALLY hasn’t been easy.

I know I’m procrastinating if my office is tidy—a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its place tidy. That, and I start to make journals. Currently, I’ve made enough journals to last me for at least a year!

And I suppose that even writing that, drawing this out, is a form of procrastination.

Oh! And brewing Kombucha.

Okay, so, my point: that even though it is taking a while to get back into the swing of things, since I have a pattern, a structure, (dare I say) a PROCESS, I have something to fit myself back into.

So I guess that’s what I’m writing about today, fitting back into old patterns and, in so doing, re-invigorating them.

Nothing Stays the Same


Heraclitus said that one can never step into the same river twice. The point being that the essence of nature is change. Not only do we change but the world also changes around us.

Perhaps the trick is figuring out how to change and still keep the things about ourselves we like. Or perhaps those are the bits, like Stephen King’s darlings, that need to be given up. I can never tell.

Sound difficult? It is! Especially if it’s radical change, the kind that shreds our lives. The kind that breaks us into a billion pieces, sets those pieces on fire and then smears them with napalm and incinerates them.

Anyway.

When we go through change AND come out on the other side we can put our characters through the same hell—er, “learning process”—and our story will be much more believable.

My feeling is that once I experience a particular something, a particular experience, it’s easier to write about believably. And since the hero’s arc is all about—or should be about—change; Intense, deep, destructive, life-shattering change—our writing is that much stronger.

And so there’s that. I guess my life has gone through quite a bit of change lately. There’s a temptation, an impulse, to walk away.

One thing I’ve found that does work for me is this: I sit my ass down in a chair and don’t let myself leave until I write something. By the way, the not leaving part is metaphorical. Bathroom breaks are fine and you get to eat but NOT cook anything. (Believe me I know what a delicious, scrumptious, diet-killing ribbit hole cooking can be.)

Which isn’t to say writers can’t be happy! But there is a reason so many of us have been friendless dreamers who live alone and drink WAY too much. I’m not trying to drive folks away from the profession, but just sayin’.

Back to the point.

The Beauty, The Utility, of Having a Schedule


Here’s my point: If you have a schedule then, even if you break that schedule, even if you shatter it into a million, billion little pieces, you’ll still have something, a structure, to come back to. Yes, things will be different, nothing is ever the same, but it will make possible what would otherwise be impossible.

And then the trick is to do it again.

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