The Ebony Quill

Thoughts, reflections, and whimsies as I experience life

Getting back into writing

On Saturday evening, I decided I had to go back to writing my novel.  Looking at the computer warily, I felt scared.  What if the words didn’t flow?  What if I ran out of ideas?  What if I realized my writing was terrible and became too discouraged to continue?  Basically, what if I couldn’t do it?  Then I remembered a line from Stephen King’s On Writing: “The scariest moment is always just before you start.  After that, things can only get better.”  So I took a deep breath, opened up the Word document, opened my notebook to my confusing, sprawling outline, and started.

I won’t lie–it was hard.  On Saturday, I just wrote whatever came to my mind, happy to have written 1,000 words.  On Sunday, however, after working on the novel intermittently throughout the day, I realized there was a gaping hole in the plot.  Something just didn’t make sense.  Frustrated, I just stopped where I was and went to bed, thinking about how much of a failure I was, and imagined the whole story falling apart.  (It’s funny how hard we are on ourselves sometimes when things don’t work out.)  This morning, feeling more composed and bit more optimistic, I ran through the sequence of events, trying to figure out where I went wrong.  Suddenly, the solution to my problem appeared, clear and fully formed.  I patched up the hole and smoothed the corners, rewriting the paragraphs until they felt right.  (I’m not sure how other people work on their drafts, but I have to keep rewriting something until the words sound right and feel right.  After I have reached that point of satisfaction, I refuse reread and continuously edit until the second draft, because I know how dangerous this process is and how it will inhibit the progress of my novel.  But I am trying, slowly and steadily, to stop editing and just keep moving.)

Do you have a special process you go through when you write?  Is it hard for you to restart after being away from your work for a while?


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4 thoughts on “Getting back into writing

  1. I’m so happy that you’re working on your novel again. It is tough to get back into; after all, there was something that made you stop. I’ve been focusing lately on trusting myself to write the story, as sometimes I feel like I’m not ready/good enough for what I intend. When that happens, I sit down with a notebook and write some questions about my novel, and that helps me come up with the answers I need to keep going.
    Best of luck to you!

  2. I skip through various parts of my WIP, and then connect it all together as I go. As long as I’m writing something, I don’t focus on it being perfect the first time around. I usually start with the beginning several chapters, then the end, then the middle.

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