Diving inWhen I’ve had a few days (or more) go by without working on my book, I sometimes have trouble getting back into it. I write about this topic a lot because I always get a lot of questions about it in my classes and also because it’s always good to remind myself when I need some help.

  1. Re-read the last thing you wrote. But only go back a page or two so you aren’t spending all of your time “catching up.” This usually jump starts me enough that I can start writing the next section. Or, even better, read the last page or two the night before you plan to write so it’s fresh in your mind and you can dive right into that scene or page the next day.
  2. Brainstorm a scene you are particularly excited about. It may or may not be in chronological order, but pick a scene you’ve been dying to work on and begin writing it. When I do this, I get excited about the book and that spills over into all of my scenes (though in reality, we should be excited about ALL of our scenes, at least in varying degrees. If we aren’t, there may be something wrong with them <g>)
  3. Make a note to remind yourself where you left off. I usually know when I won’t be able to get back to a manuscript for a day or two, but even if I think I will start up again the next day, I now make a short note where I left off with some direction on where I’m going. For example, I might say, “Sheridan confronts her mother about walking out.” This is even better because I’ve indicated a scene that will have inherent conflict – not only something I love to write, but is usually easier to write.

Reminder to self: Conflict or tension should be present in every scene at some level.

What strategies do you use to get yourself back into a manuscript after some time has passed?