“It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.”
Jerome K. Jerome
Distraction and disruption — who can deny their reality? They count among the greatest banes of the writing life and it’s a rare wordsmith who is immune from them. Over the past few weeks, a mix of social and emotional demands short-circuited progress on my novel revision. While this was frustrating at times, it also gave me a refreshing break. I’ve finally restored the writing rhythm that was working well for me before, but getting back on track has been a rocky road. Here are a few lessons learned that may prove helpful if you find your own rhythm interrupted:
View disruption as temporary: When your daily regimen begins disintegrating, whatever the reason, it’s easy to go global about it and feel that you’ve sacrificed all forward motion forever: “I’ll never finish this book,” or “I’ve missed another short story deadline, I’ll never get published.” Just remember: It ain’t necessarily so. Forget the drama and just view the disruption as a “blip on the radar screen” — a minor speed bump, not a car crash.
Forget from 0 to 60: When you decide the time is right to regain your momentum, give yourself a few days of transition. Don’t expect yourself to go full throttle if you’ve been idling or turned of the gas. Get back into your groove by degrees — and before you know it, you’ll be going full steam ahead.
Visualize yourself working steadily: Revisit your moments of enjoyment when your work was perking along and you were feeling on top of it and fully engaged. Let yourself dwell on how much you accomplished and how great it made you feel. See yourself working intensely and happily. Recapturing the joy and pleasure you derived from a fruitful writing technique is probably the best motivator you can use to make it your own again.
So think “blip on the radar screen,” ease on down the road, renew your sense of satisfaction, and write on!