Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you find a rhythm in your writing. You get into a groove and begin to make some real progress in a direction that seems to feel right. Everything seems to be perking along. And then, somehow or another, something disrupts that rhythm. It could be something external — family obligations, the holidays, a crisis, or other work-related demands. Or it could be that you just can’t sustain the rhythm indefinitely no matter how hard you try. Or you could decide to disrupt it yourself for one reason or another.
Whatever the cause, here are some things I’ve learned about rhythm disruption that might prove helpful if you’re facing this reality:
• When it happens, don’t resist it: When you do, it just creates regret and anxiety, neither of which are useful creative impulses. Accept that you’re in a holding pattern.
• Instead of resisting, embrace it: Breaking rhythm can actually have a positive impact on your work. It can give you a chance to step back and take an objective look at the work you’ve created recently and assess whether it’s really taking you where you want to go.
• View it as a form of channel changing: Instead of seeing a break in rhythm as a disruption — a violent cutting off — of a work pattern that was well established, try thinking of it in terms of switching channels on a radio. In other words, nothing has really been cut off, it’s just been changed to another station — one that will prove equally enjoyable and productive. And write on!