[Q & A] How To Start Writing Again

Q. How do I start writing again after a long time?

person writing, with balled up paper
Copyright: dedivan1923 / 123RF Stock Photo

A.

Keep your expectations low. Don’t expect to produce a masterpiece, or even a coherent story.

Set goals like “freewriting three mornings a week for 20 minutes” and then build on that by doing exercises like working to writing prompts, or writing about your memories. Try to capture the feel and image of the place.

Then, once you’ve built a habit of expressing yourself, you can work on building your understand of story craft (how to tell a good story and keep people interested; how to develop compelling characters and keep them interesting throughout a whole story; how to use dialogue effectively).

Then, I would recommend finding a writing group nearby that you can meet IN PERSON (yes, I know. But it helps). You might have to kiss a few frogs, but eventually you’ll find writing friends who will buoy you when you are feeling insecure, who will read your drafts and tell you what you’re doing right as well as what needs work. They will keep you going when things get tough.

And most importantly: get comfortable with writing messy first drafts. If you can’t do that, you’ll never finish anything. And if you never finish anything, you’ll never be able to revise anything. And if you never do that, you’ll never be able to show it to anyone.

And that would be a shame.

You are a unique individual with experiences and a perspective that has never existed before, and will never exist again.

The world needs your stories.

What do you think? Do you have any advice for our questioner?