When I work on a book or article daily, it is easy to get back into it. The voice and style are accessible and handy. But this week I’m trying to get back into two projects. As you know, last week we were in the Smoky Mountains. I came home to a request for more information from one editor and a rewrite request from another. By the time I dealt with those two weeks had passed before I worked on either of these books. Here are five five-minute methods to get back into a story after an absence.
Read what you have. If you’ve written several chapters for a longer book or several spreads for a picture book, reread what you’ve already written. Don’t read silently. Read it aloud so that you can literally hear the voice.
Revisit your inspiration. What inspired you to write this piece in the first place? Perhaps it is something you were inspired to write after hearing a news story on NPR. Listen to this piece again. Or reread the news article that made you want to cover this topic. For me this is often enough to renew my enthusiasm and get me going again.
Visit the time or place. If you are writing a piece set in a specific time period. Get back into that period. Listen to music. Maybe you can find a recording of a news cast or other period material. Visit Youtube and see if someone has posted a video of your location. Get a feel once again for the time and place of your story.
What’s been going on? Ask your character what it has been like waiting for you to get back. Why does she want you to get going again? I know this sounds hokey but this technique always brings new insight into my story and makes me want to dive back in.
Engage in a writing or rewriting ritual. Do you have something you do every time you sit down to write? Mine isn’t a writing ritual but when I do hard copy rewrites, I set things up in the dining room. I have my print out, an automatic pencil or nice pen, my licorice candle, and a cup of coffee. I have no clue why this works, but it tends to get me going when nothing else does.
The next time you are trying to get over a long absence from a project, see if one of these techniques doesn’t get you started again.