Writing After a Lengthy Hiatus

DeadPlant

Are you someone who used to write regularly, maybe even had work published, but – for whatever reason – stopped writing?

The why and how doesn’t matter. Contracts go south. Readership wanes. Your interests and goals as an author shift. Then there are family matters that can’t be ignored. Health issues interfere. You didn’t mean to let it go, but…

Eventually it dawns on you that you haven’t written in days, weeks, months, years. And now you – for whatever reason – want to begin again.

Except when you sit at the keyboard, or pick up your pen, the results are discouraging. Our command over focus and discipline have fled. Our butts resist the chair. We feel impatient with rough drafts. The words and ideas that once flowed, barely trickle. You worry that your creativity will never return.

Don’t believe that.

Yes, your creative muscles have likely atrophied, but they can be rejuvenated. You wouldn’t expect to run five miles after months of couch surfing, right? So be fair and expect it to feel awkward and unnatural at first. With repetition and determination, you’ll regain lost ground.

Here’s seven tips to kickstart your creative engine after it’s been offline for a while.

1) Think on paper.
Not sure where to begin? Make lists. What projects could you work on? Pick one and brainstorm a list of benefits to doing it. Feel free to imagine a new career versus reviving the old one. Think of what’s possible, knowing what you know now.

2) Start small and build.
If you are feeling resistance, then set a timer for three minutes and write. Don’t worry about quality or even the topic. This is about getting accustomed to starting again. And yes, three minutes is nothing, but it’s more than you wrote the day before, right? Remember the power of compounding action. If you increase writing time by 3 minutes a day, you’ll be writing for a 90 minute stretch in a month.

3) Break it down.
Don’t think in terms of writing the whole book or the entire screenplay. Concentrate on a single scene. Or one character’s goals. Outline the story. Set small, achievable tasks, like: write 500 words, or one page.

4) Think in new places.
Go somewhere different to write. This is especially important if you’ve been avoiding the particular room where you used to create. If weather permits, sit outside. Go to the park, or a coffee shop, or the library. Heck, drive to the mall and sit in the food court. The point is to get away from the usual distractions and discouragements.

5) Fall back in love with your creativity.
Do you need to rekindle your passion for writing? Or for a specific story? If you made early notes, review those. Recall the elements that swept you away. At one time your desire to create burned as bright as a star. Remember that feeling, then write.

6) Read books on craft.
There’s something magical about reading (or rereading) Anne Lamott’s, Bird By Bird. Or Stephen King’s, On Writing. When was the last time you read magazines on writing – Writers Digest, RT Book Reviews, or The Writer? And yes, reading great fiction is a study of the craft. I’m always inspired to write when I read something magnificent.

7) Connect with other writers.
Having a group or tribe of like-minded writers can be inspiring while providing camaraderie and accountability. Can’t find a group? Start one. Check with your librarian or consider a post on Meetup.com.

It can feel daunting to start writing after an extended period. Consider it more proof that once a writer, always a writer. Writers may pause for a while, but they can’t quit. So prime the pump and anticipate hiccups.

Author as Entrepreneur

Authors today have more options than ever before, but those freedoms require different skills and new responsibilities.

Blogger Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn, offers great insight on the topic. Below are two of her recent articles:

Creative Entrepreneur: Business Models for Authors

The Business Of Being An Author Entrepreneur

Disney’s Magic

One of my personal heroes is Walt Disney. So no surprise that I counted down days to the release of the movie Saving Mr. Banks.  And while no animated animals lost their mothers in Saving Mr. Banks, I still found myself crying near the end, when Walt traveled to Mrs. Travers’ home in London. Tom Hanks, delivering this line, undid me.

banks

 

THIS is what I do. This is why I write. This is why I read. Yes, I knew it before seeing the movie, but now I have the perfect quote to explain it. #grateful

New Article in CONVERSATIONS Magazine

My latest column for “READ. THINK. SOAR: Nonfiction You Can Use” is posted on CONVERSATIONS Magazine’s website. It also appears in the August/September issue.

In “READ. THINK. SOAR,” – I preview nonfiction success and personal development titles.

This time around, I’m discussing Stephen R. Covey’s bestselling classic “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

You can read the article here: http://conversationsmag.blogspot.com/2013/08/read-think-soar-non-fiction-you-can-use.html

Happy reading!

7 habits

 

 

QUIET BEFORE WRITING…

peace4
Life is noisy.

Most days, I begin the morning with meditation. Some days, I don’t. And on the days I don’t, the noise escalates and takes over.

Yesterday I discovered that meditation works equally well in the afternoon. I knew it would, and yet I resisted. Because meditation was my morning thing.

Silly, yes. Profound, yes.

Eager to see what other resistances I can shatter today.

Words to Write By

meme_dillard

New Article in CONVERSATIONS Magazine

My first column for “READ. THINK. SOAR: Nonfiction You Can Use” is posted on CONVERSATIONS Magazine’s website. The May/June issue features Maya Angelou on the cover.

In “READ. THINK. SOAR.”, I’ll preview nonfiction success and personal development titles.

For this debut column, I’m previewing Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles. You can read the article here: http://conversationsmag.blogspot.com/2013/06/read-think-soar-nonfiction-you-can-use.html?spref=fb
Enjoy!

SuccessPrinciples

 

 

 

Welcome to the new site!

welcome_matThat Awkward Moment When Your Blog First Goes LIVE…

You raze the old to raise the new.”
Justina Chen, North of Beautiful

Hello and welcome to BodaciousWords.com! I’m Kathy Holzapfel and this is my new, one-stop shop for my various creative ventures.

Some of you know me from the novels I’ve published as Lauren Bach and Cate Noble. And some of you know me as that lady with the unusual last name: I write nonfiction and who-knows-what-next as Kathy Holzapfel.

Right now, I’m soft launching this website, trying to make certain it’s operational. So feel free to poke around and give me some feedback. I’m glad you’re here and I look forward to connecting more frequently.

Cate Noble featured at Barnes & Noble’s Mystery Book Club!

All during February, Barnes & Noble’s Mystery Book Club is featuring romantic suspense.

I’m thrilled to be the featured author on Monday, February 21st.  I’d love to have you drop by, comment, or just look around.  Here’s the link:  http://bit.ly/eXmI8P

The rest of the week features other Kensington Books’ authors.  Check out the special thread that’s all about Kensington:  http://bit.ly/ewbLkn

Happy reading!

 

 

 

DEADLY GAMES…Book Three

deadlygamesClose friends…a band of brothers…caught in a firestorm of betrayal and passion.

Two years ago, three CIA operatives perished in a horrific explosion that occurred at an undisclosed location outside the US. Or at least that’s what their families and friends were told.

Now it seems one of them survived. But what about the others? And what about the insidious rumors that one of their own sold them out?

First, there was DEAD RIGHT

Then, DEADLY SEDUCTION

And now comes…DEADLY GAMES

CIA operative Rocco Taylor always knew his enemies would come after him. And now the worst of them have come back with a vengeance, putting him at lethal odds with the Agency… by daring to go after the only woman he ever loved.

Except…Gena Armstrong doesn’t want a hero. She’s survived things Rocco can only imagine, which has left her even more capable and resourceful than when Rocco made the colossal mistake of letting her go. Keeping Gena safe now means facing the past, even as it reignites a passion more dangerous than the conspiracy they’re facing.