Misplaced Your Writing Groove? A Lesson in Getting Your Groove Back

Have you ever taken a substantial block of time away from your writing? Maybe a lengthy break away from your blog? Or has a family crisis interrupted the latest draft of your manuscript, and getting back to it seems impossible?

The last 20+ months for me have been what seems like a never-ending break from not only my writing but also blogging and social media, not to mention life in general. How do I recapture my momentum in those areas? How will I manage to return to what I was as a writer pre-January 24, 2016?

Initially, it didn’t seem so serious. Then the chronic pain hit with an intensity I couldn’t rise above. My pain management doctor, doing what he thought best, prescribed an opioid (more on this crisis in another post later). Literally, my head space didn’t cooperate when I wanted to write. It was as if I’d lost the ability to focus on taking my thoughts and putting them down in written form.

Now I am somewhat improved and working toward regaining physical stamina and strength daily. I also want to return to doing what I love most–writing, whether it’s on my memoir or a blog post or a simple Tweet. Some days these tasks are still hard. Too much brain time can be as tiring as physical activity.

Doctors tell me that the amount of inactivity requires an equal or greater amount of rehab to regain the physical strength and stamina. A reduction in mental activity over time will likely require similar rehab to regain flexibility and creativity.

What am I going to do? What could you do if confronted with this kind of downtime?

Let’s take a look at some options I’m attempting to use in my daily attempts at writing:

  • Accept that your writing habit has been disruptedLike a runner who doesn’t run for three weeks, you are out of shape and so is your writing. That runner will run at least three weeks before regaining his stride and pace. Initially, your writing will seem inadequate or inept. Don’t be hard on yourself. Writing is going to seem harder. Ease back into it. Don’t try to pick up where you left off. This is going to take time.
  • Make drastic changes in your expectations. If you have been writing a certain amount of time (i.e., two hours, 60 minutes, etc.) each day, scale this back to a segment of time that seems stupidly easy. Say three to five minutes. The same applies to those who write a certain number of words per day. You will want to follow the same exercise. Set goals that allow you to hit the ball out of the park.

  • This is the hard part of this new goal. Take slow, easy steps in increasing your time or word count. Don’t move too quickly. Stick with your new goals for at least 10 days. This will ensure you experience feelings of success and motivation. Both are necessary to feel good about your writing.
  • Increase your goal, either timed or word count, slowly. This will likely feel painfully
    S-L-O-W. After the first 10 days increase by 50%. At the next 10-day mark add another 25%, and lastly, after yet another 10 days add the last 25%.
  • Understand that whatever you can write is better than not writing at all. So write daily. I am reminded of Ernest Hemingway’s quote below. If all you can write is one true sentence, then accept that as your success for the day.

These are the five principles I’m putting into practice. I’m tired of struggling to find blog post topics and content. I’m tired of thinking about picking up my manuscript and beginning to rework it. I want to be actively engaged as a blogger and a writer.

I’ll keep you posted on my success in finding my writing groove, and I will share more suggestions of how I’m going about it.

Have you ever faced similar struggles? How did you cope with them and make a comeback in your writing? Sharing here may help someone else. 

Everything Happens for a Reason

THEY SAY EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.

Everything. I want to know why it happens. Especially this week. Last Saturday! January 24th! Today!

I thought my injuries sustained in a fall on some stairs on January 24th were healing. I left town with husband Bob last Friday for a two and a half day writing conference on the Oregon coast. Common sense kept my mind busy for days deciding whether or not to travel, but I was feeling better. As we travelled, I even mentioned how much better my hip and back were feeling.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon when the pain returned with a vengeance. A vengeance so deep and intense I became shaky and nauseous. My first thought was how thankful I was Bob had driven to the coast with me. My second thought: Why now? I called Bob at the condo where we stayed and asked him to pick me up. That officially ended the conference for me.

STILL NO REASON FOR WHY THIS HAPPENED.

Irritation, frustration, anger, and apprehension mixed to create emotional turmoil from this pain re-entering my life. Why was it back? How was I going to get this week’s work done? How soon would I be able to see my doctor? And what would I tell my readers and followers?

Nothing much has improved. I still have no answers, and I don’t see the doctor until Friday morning. But the bottom line is: Sometimes life just happens, and there is nothing we can do about it.

No attempt meant to extract sympathy from you, but I have one place comfortable for sitting and from there I’m writing and reading. I feel imprisoned. Last evening I threatened sleeping there because getting out of our bed is painful, but at the end of the day I needed a change of scenery.

This disruption in my day-to-day activities may keep me from posting as often as I would like as well as the newsletter, not to mention less activity on social media.

 

Google Images via My Broken Brain
Google Images via My Broken Brain

A TAKEAWAY.

The message I want to send above all else is that despite what life throws our way, expected or unexpected, there is a reason for it. We may never discover or know the reason behind it, but rest assured there is a reason.

Perhaps the resulting experience will teach us something. Maybe we’ll grow as a result of the unexpected that came along. Or it may be something we should have learned from previous experiences but didn’t.

Next time something surprises you don’t just ask why. Stop and ask yourself what you’re supposed to receive as a result of this unexpected occurrence. Then exercise awareness. You may be pleasantly surprised by what happens next.

How do you handle the unexpected? Do you believe there is a reason behind everything that happens in your life? Share with the rest of us in the comment section below.