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How to start writing again

How do you start writing again after a hiatus? Where do you start, and how do you know you still have “it” in you?

These are some of the questions people ask when the desire to begin writing again starts to bubble to the surface. Like returning to the gym for the first time in a while, it can be challenging, and sometimes, you can end up back where you started.

I know February has come to an end, but the new year is still fresh. If you’ve set a writing goal this year and are finding it difficult to accomplish, you’ll learn a few tips to help you get back on track.

Determine to return to writing

The first thing you need to do is to determine to return to writing. You win first in your mind before your win becomes visible. The reason it’s important for you to determine to return to writing is that it will get hard sometimes. You may start off feeling excited but start to lose some steam as you hit some brick walls, such as fatigue or writer’s block. 

Determine from the get-go that you’re going to do this!

Start with a small project

Next, you need to start with a small project.

Too many times I see amateur writers trying to write a whole book when they haven’t exercised their skills with smaller projects. This often results in hefty manuscripts that become an editor’s nightmare. Am I saying amateur writers cannot write long-form content? No. So what’s the best way for an amateur writer to approach writing?

Start with a smaller word count. Start with 500 words, 1000 words, and then expand that as you build proficiency. 

The same is true if you’re writing again after a while. You need to retrain your writing muscles to deliver at new or previous levels. Doing this will ensure that you’re not demanding too much of yourself, giving yourself a mental strain and ultimately slipping into inertia. 

Pick a passion project

You also need to pick a passion project. What got you interested in writing again? That’s probably what you need to be writing. 

Picking a passion project will help to get your creative juices going and motivate you when you’re tempted to give up. It’s just like returning to the gym after a while—you have a goal you’re working toward (e.g., fitting into a wedding dress, attaining a healthy weight to combat a negative diagnosis, etc.) and that keeps you going.

Don’t waste time trying to write something that doesn’t excite you—except you have to, in which case, you might need to get a little passion project going to sustain your drive. A few years ago, I had to do writing projects I was not passionate about, and I often rewarded myself for writing what I didn’t enjoy by writing what I enjoyed. This is another way passion projects can help!

Join a community

Lastly, joining a community for accountability is a good way to keep you writing again. Becoming a part of a group with a common goal can inspire and keep you accountable. When choosing a writing group, make sure you join one that supports your writing goals. It might help to stay away from critique groups until you’ve produced your work. Getting criticism on something you’re still developing can be extremely counter-productive.

If you’re looking to join a writing group, you may want to check out The 30k Club, my recently launched support group for writers wanting to execute their writing goals. 

The 30k Club is a cohort of writers aiming to individually produce 30000 words in 60 days by writing a page per day and supporting one another. We share our struggles and triumphs on a collaborative platform and meet virtually to support one another and celebrate each other’s successes. It’s also free!

The first cohort starts on March 15, 2023, and you can register today.

Happy writing!

Image copyright: Matthias Groeneveld/Pexels

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Lola Opatayo is a creative writer, communications professional, and editor. Her work has been endowed with awards from the Iceland Writers Retreat and MacDowell. She is a recipient of the inaugural Equity Fellowship from Editors Canada and the 2020 Gerald Freund Fellowship. Lola is the founder of WordCaps, where she empowers small businesses and writers with writing strategies and resources.

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