What I’m writing – Getting back to it

I am NOT doing Camp NaNoWriMo. There. I said it. Not doing it. It does mean I have all this free April-time though.

What I’ve learned is that I now have time to go back and revisit some of the stuff I haven’t finished.

One of the most prominent pieces I haven’t finished is my fantasy book. It began with an idea for what will become the middle novel and I started it as part of April’s nanowrimo last year and just “never found the time” to finish the first draft. (By never found the time I mean I have procrastinated about it for far too long then lost enthusiasm, then never really recovered properly.)

So now I’m using the time I have this month to get back into writing about Edward and the dragons. Here are my top five tips for coming back to a project you haven’t touched for a while:

1) Don’t be afraid to read what you’ve written before.

I think there is a lot of apprehension in reading a part-written ms you haven’t touched for a long time. You might even be at the self-confidence crisis phase and that’s why you put it down in the first place. The key is to start again. Take a deep breath and pick it up and read it. Don’t edit it, don’t be critical, just read it. Remember the ideas you had and how they filled you with joy when you first had them, remember where you were going with things.

2) take notes.

While you’re reading, jot down some reminders. Those little ends you left on purpose, writing them down. Moments that make you think “WOW, I wrote this amazing wonder?” Write those down too, you’ll need this to remind you that when you relax, everything becomes roses and you do have a talent for this.

3) Fantasize

Don’t be afraid to let your mind wonder back to the time when you were writing the novel. Reminisce, capture those feelings, put on some music, a smell, make sure you sit in the same place. Anything to get you in the right mindset to write this novel.

4) Write it.

Sit at the computer, or with your chosen method and start writing. So what if the first 1000 words are forced rubbish? It’s 100 words closer to the end. It’s edging nearer to that all illusive (in some cases) The End.

5) Avoid procrastination.

Do what you have to do to stop giving yourself excuses not to write the damn thing. There is a complete book there somewhere, you just have to get past this bit, this second of self-doubt, this bit you don’t know how to write and get there. If you’re stuck on a scene, drop it and write something else, even if you left it mid-sentence

THE FIRST DRAFT IS ALWAYS SHIT.

You shouldn’t be afraid of the power of writing the shit.

Writing Bubble

10 thoughts on “What I’m writing – Getting back to it

  1. Good points and love the one about the shitty first draft – just reading mine through now and can agree with it! xxx

  2. This is such solid advice Chrissie! I wish I had read it when I first picked up my novel – after 5 years!! Everything you write here makes sense. And reminds me, I have been neglecting my edit…

  3. Great list! I’ve been wondering about returning to my novel (that has been languishing on my laptop since last year) and wondering where to begin so this is really helpful! Glad you’re getting somewhere even without (or because of the lack of) NaNo. xx

    1. There have been a few blocks written and the intro for a new thing, plus some brain dumping, so even though this week has felt unproductive, it’s been better than previous weeks.
      I may even join in #theprompt xx

  4. Great tips Maddy. I have a rhyming children’s book that is 75% written and for the last two years has been sitting on my PC. I looked at it recently and and was really happy with it but I’m stuck on the ending. I really want to get it finished but I think I need a week to just write and totally ‘get in the zone’ without distractions. Maybe I’ll try and do it on holiday around the pool in the summer! xx

    1. Sounds like a great holiday – Sun, swimming pool and writing! I always find that the closer I get to the end, the less I want to end something so in my casez a week wouldn’t be long enough haha x

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