Are you wondering how to get back into writing after staring at a blank page for hours?
It’s been a while since you’ve written anything.
Months, maybe even years.
You used to enjoy it, but now it feels like a chore. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) seems daunting, if not impossible.
The words don’t come easily, and you feel like you’re forcing yourself to write a novel that isn’t very good.
Many writers experience this phenomenon when they try to return to writing after taking a long break.
What’s even more difficult than starting a new writing project is trying to pick up where you left off for an existing one.
When you start again, you should be prepared that perhaps your writing skills aren’t as sharp as they once were. So, it may take a while for them to return to the same level.
I was in the exact same situation. Around the time Covid started, I was extremely burnt out due to working with very demanding freelance clients, and I took a break from writing for over a year.
Actually, I wasn’t sure that I would even ever write again.
But I just needed a break to focus on my mental health.
When I decided to start writing again, it was a real struggle, even just to write 500 or 1000 words.
It took at least double or triple as long as my previous writing speed and was some of the worst content I had written in a very long time.
This is perfectly normal. In fact, it applies to almost everything in life.
People get rusty, but it is like riding a bike, you just need to hop back on, and it will all come back to you as you go.
“Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now.”Ernest Hemingway
Just be patient, and don’t be too hard on yourself. But, most importantly, don’t get frustrated and give up!
Also, don’t be down on yourself for stopping. You can’t change the past.
Instead, focus on the present and how you can keep going.
You only fail if you stop writing.
Most likely, you’re unsure how to start again and where to begin.
But don’t worry – we’re here to help!
In this article, we’ll take a look at seven different ways that you can start writing after a long break again.
Let’s get started.
How To Get Started Writing Again
Here are nine different ways how to get back into writing. Try a few different ways and see which works best for you.
While this may sound like a cliche, reading as much as you can of other writers’ work is one of the best ways to get back into writing.
Reading will help jumpstart your creativity, inspire you, and give you that killer idea you have been trying to find.
It’s also a great way to improve your writing skills. The more you read, the better you’ll become at writing.
So make sure to set aside time each day to read, whether for pleasure or to improve your writing.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”Stephen King
Reading is essential for writers, as it helps to improve your writing craft and gives you ideas for things to write about. It’s something that you should make time for every day.
It also allows you to take a break from your current work and return to it with a fresh perspective.
So if you’re looking for ways to start to write again, add reading to your daily routine.
Creating a writing routine is one of the most important things to do to get back into writing. Whether for a set amount of time, a specific page count, or a word count, you should set a realistic goal that you can achieve without putting pressure on yourself.
If you’re juggling a family or day job, try to schedule writing time where you can have a total focus. Establishing a routine makes it much easier to write instead of making excuses.
Start with something small and manageable so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Even if it is only for 15 or 30 minutes or 500 words, once you’ve achieved your daily goal, you can always write more if you want to.
But the important thing is to make writing a daily habit again.
Over time, you will build up a routine, and writing will become easier.
If you’re a night owl, then don’t try to force yourself to wake up early in the morning to write. Instead, fit writing into your lifestyle instead of changing your lifestyle to write.
Also, if you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just start the next day again and keep going.
Remember, the goal is to build a writing habit, not to write a certain number of words every time you write.
If you’re struggling to think of things to write about, prompts can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing.
A prompt is simply a topic or idea that you can write about. Writing prompts can be anything from a word or phrase to an image or object.
Many writers find that prompts are a great way to start a new piece of creative writing. Even if your story changes over time, using a prompt can spark that initial creativity to conquer writer’s block and get rid of that dreaded blank page.
So if you’re struggling to think of things to write about, try using prompts to help you get started.
4. Start with writing a journal
Each day write a journal entry. How much you write isn’t what matters, just that you are writing. Don’t think you have to fill pages and pages. Even a few sentences are enough.
You can use a physical journal to write your thoughts or a journaling app such as Day One.
Write about anything that comes to mind – what you did that day or how you feel. Write about your future plans or goals, or even your thoughts on current events.
The most important thing is to help you get back into writing regularly. Once you start again, it will become easier and more enjoyable with each passing day.
You will also improve your writing skills the more you write.
And who knows – you might even surprise yourself with how much you still enjoy it!
You can also try creating a digital scrapbook. You can add images of people and places that you find to create an inspiration board to use for your future story.
By revisiting your older writing projects, you may find a work-in-progress or an idea you had completely forgotten about that may be worth continuing with.
Maybe some time away will give you new ideas that reignite your passion for the project.
But, on the other hand, it may help you see why you stopped in the first place and give you a new perspective. If that happens, it may still give you an idea for a completely new book instead.
Reading your old writing can also remind you that you can write!
6. Join a writing group or online forum to get feedback and support
Writing doesn’t always have to mean working alone with no human interaction.
Perhaps you had no support from anyone in the past, or you were told that you should give up writing and ‘get a real job.’
Getting rid of negative influences from your life and replacing them with a supportive and positive community can help make a huge difference in getting back into writing.
If you want to write, you shouldn’t let anyone stop you.
Or maybe you just want to make writing a more social activity and have other people help keep you motivated and on track.
Whatever your reason, one way to find like-minded people and receive feedback and support is to join a writing group or online forum.
You’ll meet other writers working on their projects in a writing group. You can share your work with the group and get feedback from other writers. In most cities and local communities, in-person writing groups meet regularly.
Joining an online forum is another excellent way to get feedback and support. There are many forums dedicated to writing where you can post your work and get feedback from other writers. The largest is probably on Reddit, which has a writing community of over 2 million people.
Sometimes just having someone to talk with who has been in a similar situation is all you need to keep going.
7. Find Inspiration From Real Life
Your life is much more interesting than you may have imagined. There are also story ideas all around you, as long as you pay attention to them.
Do you have an interesting, larger-than-life family member, friend, teacher, or work colleague?
Well, you can use their traits and stories to create your own characters – just be sure to change their names and details about them.
You can also use specific details from your hometown to create a fictional world for your story.
Wherever you live, you can also do some people watching, either in your town or in a busy city. The best place to do so is at a cafe.
Watch the people who come in and those who walk by.
- Who are they?
- What have they been doing today?
- What are their mannerisms?
- How are they feeling? Why?
- What did they order?
- Where are they going?
- What is their job?
- What are their passions, hopes, and dreams?
- What are their problems?
By asking yourself similar questions, you can create realistic characters from people you observe.
Order a coffee or a smoothie, take a notebook with you and take some notes. You may never know when inspiration strikes!
If you’re feeling rusty, it can help to take a class or participate in a writing workshop.
This can give you the structure and accountability you need to get back into writing regularly.
Classes include theory and practical exercises for writers, making them ideal for getting back into writing fiction or a novel.
There are often free options available through your local library or community center.
You can also take an online creative writing course with online learning platforms such as Udemy or SkillShare.
MasterClass also has a vast selection of classes taught by some of the most successful writers of the past 50 years, such as Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Aaron Sorkin, Dan Brown, and James Patterson.
There are also many great interviews on YouTube with writers such as George R.R. Martin and Stephen King. The interviews are very inspiring and can help spark your imagination once again.
And who knows – if you take a course, you might even make some new friends who are passionate about writing, too!
If you’re struggling and are dealing with writer’s block, content writing is a great way to get started after a long break.
Compared to fiction, it is a lot easier to find content writing work, either as a freelance writer or for a startup or digital marketing agency remotely.
Content writing is creating content for the web for digital marketing purposes. It includes blog posts, articles, video or podcast scripts, and website pages. Content writing also covers how-to articles that teach someone how to do something.
It can be great to start writing again and improve your skills and grammar while getting paid. You can also start your own blog, which can grow and create passive income over time.
It is possible to turn it into a side hustle or a full-time income. Then over time, once inspiration returns, you could focus on writing your novel on the side.
The best way to get started is just to begin.
The best way to start writing again is simply to start.
It might sound ridiculous. But it is true.
I used to tell myself I am a writer who doesn’t write.
Those words used to haunt me and make me feel worthless.
Now, I just tell myself I am a writer.
After I returned after a long break, I struggled to write even a few hundred words, which was horrible.
Now, I write almost every single day between 1000 to 2000+ words.
Some days I wake up unmotivated and struggle to even write a single sentence.
So instead of forcing myself to write, I use those days to do ‘admin tasks’ – creating graphics, doing keyword research, catching up on emails, or whatever it may be.
I save these tasks for days when I just don’t feel motivated. That way, I can still feel productive instead of being too hard on myself.
Right now, I am focusing on blogging – something I had told myself I wanted to start since 2016 but always made an excuse.
Well, I finally started in early 2022 and have kept going no matter how much doubt I had along the way.
I’m also doing freelance client work part-time.
On the side, I’m preparing to write my debut fiction novel during NaNoWriMo.
If I can do it, you can do it too.
It doesn’t matter how good or bad your writing is. Just get something down on paper (or screen).
Once you’ve started, it will be easier to keep going.
Remember that you don’t have to show it to anyone, and you can always go back and edit it later.
Try out some of the above ways how to get back into writing, and find the best ones that work for you.
After a long break, it can be challenging to start writing again. It will likely take a while to you reach your previous skill and productivity levels. First, however, you can try reading as much as possible, create writing habits and set a daily goal. Also, use writing prompts, start a journal, revisit your old projects, and find inspiration from real life. Next, you can try to join a writing group, take a course, or try content writing. Lastly, just start writing!
You can try different things to get back into the flow of writing, such as removing all distractions, listening to instrumental music, exercising, and keeping hydrated. You can also try creating an inspiring workplace, going to a cafe, setting a timer, and writing for a set amount of time.
If the excitement from writing has disappeared, you aren’t alone. Luckily, there are different ways to get excited about writing again. First, think about why you wanted to be a writer in the first place and try to remember how excited you used to be when you had a writing session. Also, try connecting with other writers by joining a writing group in person or online. You may find it is more fun when you do it in a social setting, rather than being alone.
Also, find what you are passionate about. Anything, whatever it is, isn’t important. Try writing about it, even if it is just for fun. You may find that you just aren’t excited about what you are currently working on, but changing the topic does the trick.
Taking a break is a good idea when you can’t write anymore. Whether that is a few days, a few months, or longer. You may be burnt out and just need some time to recharge. First, ask yourself whether you still want to write. If so, why?
Spend time focusing on yourself, start going for walks or exercising, or take up a new hobby. Perhaps you are putting too much pressure on yourself to write. On the other hand, after making new creative outlets to express yourself, you may want to start writing again and be inspired to do so.
Skyler Benson is a full-time blogger. Join Skyler on SkylerBenson.com and learn how to start an online business and create a life of freedom. Before starting this blog, Skyler worked online as a freelance content writer. He worked with digital marketing agencies and B2B companies for four years. Skyler reviews the best software for your online business and teaches you how to write better and start your freelancing career.