Monday 13 January 2014

Post-Christmas Grind: Getting Back into Your Writing Routine

No matter how good your intentions, sticking to a well-honed writing routine over Christmas is virtually impossible. Putting aside all of the time commitments involved in buying and wrapping presents, visiting friends and family, and preparing all that food, even if you do manage to sneak in some writing time, you’ll no doubt be met with cries of “Oh you’re not writing, are you? But it’s Christmas.”

Writers are lucky in that their chosen line of work is not only fun, it also offers a high degree of escapism, but sadly, many non-writers still think we’re chained to our laptops. Of course, the problem you face after any interruption to a routine is finding a way back into it. Christmas offers a particularly large interruption due to the length of time it seems to last, and the fact that you’ll be trying to get back into other routines, not just those involving writing. Still, it must be done, so here are five suggestions of things you can do to get back into the swing of things!

Write ANYTHING for Ten Minutes

Yes, this one is fairly self-explanatory. Choose anything as a prompt, or just simply write about what you got for Christmas. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, just make sure it’s constant for ten minutes. Don’t worry about what you’re writing, just write without pauses. Use a timer, or a website like Write or Die to keep you on track. It’s amazing how much simply writing to get the words out will get you back into the habit of writing.

Use a Current Project As a Prompt

If you’re in the middle of a longer project, try writing a flash or short story about a character other than the protagonist. If you don’t have something on the go, write about a character from a story you’ve already finished.

Use Movies to Inspire You

Chances are, you may have watched some great movies over the Christmas period. Write a missing scene, prologue or ending from a movie of your choice. Prose is fine, though if you want to write it in screenplay format that could keep you on your toes! It’s always beneficial to try writing in a different form to the one you’re used to.

Revisit Old Ideas

If you keep a notebook (and you should), flick through and browse those ideas you’ve jotted down in the past years. If none of them strike you as being good fodder for a flash, short story or even a novel, then choose a sentence at random and those that as a prompt for a story, poem or even a blog post.

Let the World Inspire You

Re-read something you’ve actually finished. Remember why you wrote it, and how much you enjoyed finishing it. Go for a walk and let your brain absorb everything around you – you might even do this just before you go out to check out the sales. Get back to your writing area feeling refreshed and ready to write!

Make sure you make a concerted effort to get back into your writing routine, but don’t push yourself too hard or your brain will rebel against you. Try one (or all, if you’re feeling brave) of these suggestions and see how it goes. We're two weeks into 2014 and it would be a good way to establish a routine for the coming year if you got back into one now!


Tony Noland said...

“Oh you’re not writing, are you? But it’s Christmas.”

Too true.

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