How can I start writing after a break?

Two boys on a cobbled street with backs to camera. Smaller boy with yellow tshirt on has arms outstretched.

This morning I felt it. That staring-at-a-blank-screen feeling.

How to get the first words down on the page? Whether it’s after an illness, a planned holiday or an unexpected life event, we all have times when it can be hard to get writing again after a break.

For me it was a month of renovation upheaval and way too long with no kitchen (please never make me eat a takeaway again).

This followed by the endless summer holidays. While I’ve kept client editing work and coaching ticking over, my own writing has been on the back burner.

Heading text reads: Get your writing mojo back after a break. Photgraph of two boys on a cobled street with backs to camera. Shorter boy behind in yellow tshirt with arms outstretched.

We took the kids  to the town hilltop in Italy where I had my first teaching job. There, we caught up with my old housemate, who now runs a delightful winery with his wife. Like me, Laura and Ali combine running a new(ish) business with parenting three kids.

Our boys dove into Italian card games, relished dinner at the kids’ table and discovered that Italian children have a THREE month summer holiday. Not only that, they get to ride mopeds when they’re 14… Talk about feeling short changed!

I did spend a few espresso-fueled mornings scribbling at the local ‘bar’ (I’m the early riser in our family). These notes might become anecdotes for other projects one day, but at the moment they’re just scribbles in my notebook and were more about just enjoying the feeling of writing in a different environment (no way I could make my own coffee because the shop only sells fresh milk on Thursdays).

But my main interaction with words over the summer was consuming copious amounts of fiction and dredging up what remains of my rusty Italian.

So the question is, how do you get back into writing after you haven’t written seriously for a while?

First, be kind to yourself.

Recognise that life has seasons and that your writing will find its time.

The moments you spend away from the keyboard are as crucial as the moments you spend writing.

Why not start with a little sketch of something that happened recently. An observation? A reflection? Just to remind yourself that writing can be a joy. You don’t have to share it with anyone (but if you want to, I’d love to see it!).

How I’m getting back into writing:

I’ll be resuming my weekly sessions with my writing buddy

I met my writing buddy Sarah in a writing workshop a few years ago. We like to catch up about life, writing, business (and usually the motherload), before we get down to a few writing sprints. Meeting Sarah helps me turn up for my writing (and look forward to it), and keeps me motivated to write in between our sessions. (Sarah’s a mediation teacher and I always feel lighter after our sessions even though we’re just chatting and writing!)

I’ll be remembering that changing my writing environment can be a good motivator

I write best at home (when it’s just me!), but I do find that being in a different environment can be great for the idea generation stage (favourite notebook required of course). So as well as arriving early to cafe meetups with friends, I’ll be checking out my new cafe up the road (which I’m pleased to note opens at 7am).

And I’ll be diving into two fun projects

And now I’ve written all that down, I’m starting to feel motivated again!

What are your main writing projects for the next few months?

And how do you start writing after a break?

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Published by Dr Lizzy Tanguay

Editor | Writing Coach | Applied Linguist

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