Writing: Returning to a Project After an Absence

A cup of the main character’s favorite tea.

Full-time writer, part-time writer, I don’t think it matters.  At some point you will end up putting a project aside and then having to get back into it.  To put it simply, it ain’t easy.

It has only been about two weeks since I worked on my novel.  But that’s two weeks without dabbling around in this setting or in this character’s voice.  For four days I gave the project the side-eye.  This was going to be tricky.  Maybe I just wouldn’t bother.  Fortunately I have an accountability group.  “Yay, you met your deadline.  Now you can write fiction.”

oh yay the enthusiasm overwhelms me

No really.  It does.  Not.

But Tuesday I was determined to write at least a page.  I just had to regain my feel for the story and the setting.  Fortunately, I have extensive Pinterest boards devoted to my settings.  I’ve pinned the heroine’s house and her wardrobe.  Her sidekicks?  I’ve pinned their houses too.  The scene I’m writing is the beginning of chapter 2.  I think. That could change.  But I do know it is in the main character’s kitchen. So I looked at those images and the rest of that house.  I also knew which two characters are involved.  They are two very different women so I checked both their boards.

I still didn’t feel quite ready to go.  Normally, I only read about a paragraph of what I’ve already written to get back into the story.  This time I read 2000 words, more or less.  I caught myself wanting to stop and edit chapter 1 which is why I don’t let myself read a whole lot before I start writing.  But wanting to fix led to wanting to write.

I planned to write a page of chapter 2.  I wrote an additional paragraph on chapter 1 and before I was quite sure what had happened I had written two whole pages for chapter 2.  We know more about the main character’s mom.  We have a bit of backstory on sidekick #2.

Other things that you can do to get back into a story –

Go back to what inspired it.  Song, movie or poem?  Re-experience it.

Are you writing historic fiction?  Look at photos from the time period.  Listen to the music.

Snack on something your character loves.  Cook her favorite dish.

Somehow, immerse yourself in the story world.  The deeper you go, the more you’ll find yourself think, that isn’t how it works in my story.  And soon, you’ll feel the need to write.

–SueBE