March 30

How to Start Writing After a Long Break


It’s happened to all of us. You set a writing goal you felt was realistic—maybe 500 or 1,000 words per day—but somehow, life got in the way. Someone got sick, there might have been a death in the family, or maybe you’re simply exhausted from working too many hours at your day job. Anything can happen in life to throw you off track, but one thing is still true—you have a dream of being a successful author and finishing that first book! So, what can you do?

1—Steal time to write, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

When I still worked a day job, I saw every break as an opportunity to work on my future. Since I’m one of those people who likes to be early for things, I’d generally get to work at least 15 to 30 minutes early. So, I’d sit in the parking garage early in the morning and write as many words as I could. Even if you only have five minutes to write down your ideas, that’s still quality time you’re dedicating to writing. Lunch breaks also provide an excellent opportunity to write. You can also think about waking up 30 minutes earlier or going to bed 30 minutes later. 

2—Be as flexible as you can.

If you’re used to writing in the same place, this might be challenging, but if you can train yourself to be flexible, you’ll be able to get much more writing done. Smartphones have made it easier and easier for us to do just about anything we need to anywhere we want. They’re essentially mini-computers we’re keeping in our pockets. There are plenty of free and premium apps out there that will allow you to work on your manuscript, and many of them will sync with the work you do on your home computer. (Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word Online will allow you to do this.) Even if you don’t have access to a smartphone, writing away from home is as easy as carrying a small journal or notebook with you wherever you go. 

3—Toss away your deadlines.

We firmly believe that it’s more important to get your book done right than it is to get it done by a specific date. You should have an ideal deadline in mind as you write, but keep it flexible. However, if your projected publication date coincides with an event that’s central to the theme of your book (for instance, if you’re writing a Christmas book, it wouldn’t make sense to publish it in August), ignoring your deadline could be detrimental to your book launch strategy. If you absolutely cannot finish your book in time to publish on that upcoming date, it may have to wait another year. That could give you an opportunity to work on your next book while you’re waiting. The important thing is that this book is written well.

4—Work on managing your time better.

Take inventory of what you do when you have downtime. Do you watch a lot of television or spend hours scrolling through your Facebook News Feed? If so, consider taking half of that time spent on leisure activities and convert it to dedicated writing time. Along this journey of becoming an author, you’ll have to sacrifice many things to live your dream. But I promise those things will still be there when your book is finished. You can even use those activities as rewards for when you’ve actually finished writing the first draft of your book.

5—Find an accountability partner.

We live in a time where we can hardly throw a rock without hitting either a published author or an aspiring author, and you can use that to your advantage. Find a writing partner who’s willing to become your accountability partner so that you have at least one person in your circle that’s pushing you toward your dream. Set up a specific day and/or time to check in with each other so you can both push each other to become the best version of yourselves. And if you’re having a particularly challenging writing session, message or call them on the phone for some extra motivation. This is one of the great advantages of Author Academy Elite: accountability is baked in with the Igniting Souls Tribe—a global community that offers encouragement and shared motivation. 

6—Beat writer’s block by mixing things up.

The previous tips are all well and good unless you feel you simply can’t pick that project back up where you stopped. Whenever that happens to me, I start all over from the first word that’s written. I read through my manuscript as though I’m revising my rough draft, and as I’m revising it along the way, I’m also becoming more acquainted with what I’d already created. Then, from there, I create a revised outline that helps push me through to the end of the project. 

At some point when we’re writing, everyone experiences some version of writer’s block, but it’s what we do with those roadblocks that defines us as writers. Do you let them stop you, or do you let them motivate you to finish stronger? If you need to, change your writing routine drastically to trick your mind into realizing that it’s not blocked at all. Move to a different chapter or part of your book to change things up. But whatever you decide to do, allow it to change you for the better while still pushing you toward accomplishing the main thing—finishing your book.

What do you do when you experience writer’s block? We’d love to hear about your creative techniques in the comments below. And if you have any other writer friends who need a boost, please share this post on your social media!


unhack, writing

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  1. Best advice: in the whole article “you need to trick your mind!” This is powerful and a game changer for writers. I’m going to add this to my training with my writing clients. Brilliant. Thank you.

  2. All of these steps work wonders! I’ll comment on my favorite ones.

    “Steal time to write” and “Be flexible” actually work wonders! I always have a notebook handy (pocket-sized ones are 4 for a dollar at Walmart), and when the muse comes upon me, I pull out a pen and write. I recommend this to all my writer friends, especially the ones with other full-time jobs.
    That also helps with “Beat writer’s block,” because solutions often come at the oddest moments. Take a pen, write down your solution, and put it into action when you’re back at your computer.

    This advice is wonderful because it’s simple and powerful! Anyone can do it!

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