Monday, September 9, 2013

Returning from Summer Camp

With the way my summer shook down, I took a break from many of my usual things. I wish I could say cooking supper was one of those things, but the people in my house need to be fed on a regular basis, so that one didn't work out for me. But I did break from blogging for the most part, and the one thing I took a break from that surprised me was . . . writing.

I haven't written in three months. Three months.

This wasn't a planned break or even a necessary break; it just happened. And it's been okay. I think it will even turn out to be a good thing. We'll see.

The thing is, it's time to dive back into the project I'd been working on--a middle grade adventure with a touch of magical realism. And I'm ready. Those lazy days of summer I love so much are behind me. The sun sets much sooner so darkness falls much earlier. Autumn brings more schedule to my family's life, so even though we're busier now than we are in the summer, it's actually easier to carve out writing time.

The other thing is, since I haven't written for three months, this project and I feel like strangers. Well, maybe not strangers exactly, more like best friends who've been away at different summer camps and now we're together again and things feel a little weird. I've never left a writing project for three months before, so I'm hoping the weirdness fades quickly, and I think the best way to make sure that happens is to read my project. From the beginning to where I stopped writing in June.

But I'm open to advice. When you've taken a writing break, how do you hop back in?

19 comments:

  1. After a break from a manuscript I usually jump back in by reading it. You get the chance to remember where you were, plus you have fresh eyes to tell you where you need to go. Don't be afraid to take it slow. You've got to warm up those writing muscles. Hope your summer was fabulous despite the cooking. :)

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  2. Like Sara, I have to go back a read what I wrote. And I found that I didn't get much writing done this summer too. I wanted to take a blog break, but it was too busy. Next year for sure I'm cutting back. I'm glad school is starting too. It's actually easier because there's less driving, even with swim season.

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  3. Glad to see you are back to writing. Sometimes I will take a break, but usually no more than a week or so. Then I jump back in with great enthusiasm.

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  4. Only one summer? I had been stuck, barely writing anything, for over a year. Now, suddenly, I'm back at it and being productive! Yay! It feels so good. Glad you are back, too. Enjoy.

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  5. I agree with the others, you just go back and read what you already wrote. Hopefully it works out for you. If not don't stress about it. :)

    ~Akoss

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  6. I'm one of those people who has gone long times without writing, years even. I used to feel guilty about it, but not any more. It's just the way I am, because the flip side is, when I'm writing I'm pretty prolific.

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  7. I think diving in and getting reacquainted is the only way. I'm doing the same thing with my new book. We're not BFFs yet, but we'll get there. I'm confident! Good luck with getting back into the groove.

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  8. So excited to hear you are writing again, Barbara! Your project sounds wonderful, and I have a feeling you two will figure out just the right way to get reacquainted :) I am a bit biased though since I still find myself thinking about WILLOW TREE and hope I will one day get to read more from you. Been thinking of you this summer, my friend and hope that this will be a wonderful autumn season!

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  9. So your husband doesn't like to cook either, eh?

    Don't be hard on yourself. Taking a break once in a while can be healthy for you and for the writing project. Of course, you don't want to take too many breaks or too long a break (the mistake I made 20 years ago). Then you get rusty.

    Like these others, I say re-reading it with fresh eyes should make a world of difference. Then plunge right in and start writing.

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  10. I get myself psyched up for the next project (or the next phase in an old project). I have to have that excitement or it's hard to jump back in.

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  11. It is hard to take such a long break b/c we *points to self* forget things easily ;-) But sometimes it's good to clear your head and make room for the muse!!! Good to have you back!

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  12. Wow, three months? Sorry you've been away from writing for so long, but that kind of thing just happens sometimes. Keeping my fingers crossed that you and your project don't feel like strangers for too long! I think reading over your manuscript is a great idea. That's what I always used to do back when I wrote novels...

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  13. It sounds like your break gave you a boost of renewed energy! I can't remember when I've taken a break for that long from writing (but I have from individual projects, though). I bet it gave you a fresh perspective on your story! I usually get back into it by re-reading and then thinking about the plot and where I think the story is going. Maybe I'd revisit my notes (or a summary paragraph if I'd written one) to see where I thought the story was going.

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  14. Welcome back! I agree re-reading your pages will get you back in the mood. I'm so glad to have my writing time back too. It goes so fast tho!!

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  15. I like to re-read it, making notes as I go, and sometimes an outline helps too, even just a few simple bullets of ideas helps me get back in the groove. But sometimes its painful and requires just slogging through writing the first few awkward pages before the ideas and words start to flow again.

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  16. Welcome back! :) I find that reading what I've written and any notes that I have help me to dive right back in. It will definitely give you a new perspective being away for a bit. Usually that's a very good thing!

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  17. I've taken 3-months and longer breaks from a book many times. Yes, you are right on about starting with rereading.

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  18. Oh yes. I was really thrown off when I became pregnant with my baby (now 1) Boy time flies. It felt weird not writing, and it was scary getting going, but it felt really good. The best way is just what you said. Re-read and jump right in! Good luck!

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  19. There's something so motivating about the fall! It's like we're ALL back to school!

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