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The Importance of Habit

WritingLast month I didn’t write anything new. May came in off the back of April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and it was a month of editing, plotting, book releases, and marketing. I wrote nothing new.

June came, and I duly sat down to write, to create, and I found myself empty.

Getting words out of me was like torture, it hurt, and I found myself stopping after just a couple of paragraphs, too frustrated and exhausted to continue. It felt like it might actually kill me. Slowly. One unwritten word by another.

I needed to rediscover the fire, the passion, the creativity that had, evidently, buried itself so deep inside me that I couldn’t find even a hint of it. After taking advice from my peers, I turned back to a tactic I’ve used before. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself, but, sometimes, you need someone else to tell you. It’s not always so simple to take your own advice.

I began reading what I’d already written during April, from the beginning, gently editing as I went. That’s where my mojo was. Not in the air, in the clouds, not in words I hadn’t even thought of yet, it was in the solidity of what was already penned. It took just two chapters. And then I was ready to go. The story came flowing.

So, that’s my lesson learnt. I can’t take a month off. I need to write, every day, even if it’s something that will never come to anything. Creativity can dry up, albeit temporarily, but it’s far better to keep it burning.

Insecure Writer's Support GroupThis post was written as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

23 thoughts on “The Importance of Habit”

  1. I love it! That’s actually how I prime myself when I get started writing for the day–read/edit over my last chapter. There’s nothing better than the fire that already exists, eh?

  2. This is so true. It’s easy to get out of the habit and sometimes hard and time-consuming to get back into it. I’m glad you remembered your own advice and managed to get back into the swing of things so quickly.

  3. I love the way you worded this! Yes, it is all too possible for creativity to burn down to the ashes and need a bit of rekindling to get it going again.
    Habits help.
    Hope June gets better and better!

  4. Maybe rereading one of my projects will help my slump. I’m writing everyday, but nothing meaningful because the love is gone. Not sure where it went, or when it’ll be back. Until then I pitter patter along. Glad you got your mojo back! Best of luck in your writing. 🙂

  5. I sometimes take time off when I feel my wheels “spinning” and my creativity taking me nowhere, but you’re right, writing everyday, or even just most days, can make such a difference, to where it never becomes something that has to be dusted off or started from scratch. It reminds me a bit of my sourdough starter. You feed it, week in and week out, even if you don’t plan to make anything from it…because otherwise, it molds and dies.

  6. I absolutely agree with your strategy. Even when I can’t write due to circumstances, I keep going back in my head to my fictional world– it is very hard to get back into the alternative world once you’ve let yourself fall out of it. 🙂

  7. I took a break after doing CampNaNoWriMo and I ended up stopping altogether. I think a break is ok if it’s a short one or you make sure afterwards you get back into writing. I’m taking a break from my novel at the moment and focusing on short stories. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my struggles to get back to it.

    1. Yeah, short breaks are fine, we all need them. Writing something else while you’re taking a break from one project is a great way to keep topping up your creativity pool.

  8. Funny how advice from others is often listened to more than when you tell yourself the same thing. I’ve had several days off for writing and trying to motivate myself to get back into it. I like your idea of going back and doing some gentle editing to get back in the groove of things.

  9. I agree with you about needing to write, every day!
    When I completed my 100words100days challenge I should have just continued.
    For me, the challenge confirmed that the more you write, the more ideas will be generated. Ideas pop up from out of nowhere. When you write regularly, your eyes are actually open to receiving ideas.

    1. I totally agree; being creative encourages your creativity. It’s a tired cliche, to liken it to exercising a muscle, but it’s a true one.

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