Every writer needs a break every now and again. And with the general state of things in the year 2022, I’d be shocked if you weren’t super burnt out and in need of a vacation from writing. But when you’re ready to come back, you need to know how to start writing again after a long break.

old books and an open notebook on a desktop with the text "How to Start Writing Again After a Long Break"

Sure, it can be hard to build a writing habit if you haven’t sat at the keyboard for a while. But the cool thing about writing is that you can pick it back up whenever you want.

Yes, it’s work to start writing again. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Writing is always work. So, like, you’re not doing anything extra, really.

I mean, you will have the added work of getting back in the habit of writing, but once the habit is built, then it’s smooth sailing.

(Except for all the obstacles that come with writing, like burn out and plot holes and writer’s block.)

Anyway, if you’ve taken some time off writing, here are my tips for how to start writing again after a long break.

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How to Start Writing Again After a Long Break

Even if you feel like you’ve been away from writing for too long, you can still fall back into your old writing routine. These tips can make it easier for you to ease back into the writing habit.

001: Do some writing exercises.

Writing exercises are a great way to do some low-stakes writing and build up the writing muscles again. There are tons of exercises to start writing again out there, but I recommend some good ol’ fashioned free writing. You can simply grab a notebook and a good pen, set a timer, and write until the timer goes off. But if you need a little inspiration, I recommend pulling a tarot card first and letting that be the inspiration for that particular writing exercise. Or you can take a line from your favorite book and use it to start your writing.

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This also works for poetry too. Knowing how to get back into writing poetry can be as simple as free writing. Or, depending on the focus of your work, you could take an experience, journal it out, and then use that as the inspiration for the poetry writing session.

002: Write for fun.

If you take a break from writing and try to get back into it with a really important project, it’s going to be rough. That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself, and you need some wiggle room to find your rhythm again. Instead, give yourself some space to just enjoy writing. You probably started writing because you either enjoyed it or it came easily to you. And to get back into the writing habit, you need to get to back to enjoying it, or write something that’s easy for you. If you want to know how to start liking writing, there’s not a clear or direct answer. I have this post on how to enjoy writing, and I think it will help you have some fun with the written word.

And if you’re wondering how to get into writing for fun, just do it. Seriously. You can grab a notebook and pen, or a laptop and just write until you can’t anymore. Let whatever comes out come out, and when it’s no longer fun, just stop.

003: Create a writing ritual to set the mood.

Wondering how to start a writing session when you’ve been away from the keyboard for a really long time? Well, I think you should learn how to set the novel writing mood. Creating a ritual that’s part of a good writing routine is a way to signal to your brain to start writing. That can be something like making a cup of tea, lighting a candle, or setting a timer. Maybe you even create a special playlist just for when you’re writing.

Find something that’s easy to incorporate into your life. And make it effortless so you can do it without a hitch and get into your writing session. The more convoluted the ritual, or more finicky it is, the harder it will be for you to get into your writing session.

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004: Attend conferences and meetups.

I love attending writing conferences. I always feel fired up and excited when I leave. I love hearing about how other writers do what they do and how they advertise their work. And I will admit writing conferences can be expensive. But there are a ton that post video content online for free, or for a super discounted rate. So, if it’s been a while and you want to get back into writing, why not try lighting a fire under your ass with a little writing conference? Hearing what others are able to do with their writing time always inspires me.

But there are other ways to meet up and hear from writers. I have tons of writing event ideas that I’m sure aren’t original, and I want to hold some writing meetups someday when it’s a little safer to do so. But if you’re in an area where you feel it’s safe for in-person events, you may check out Meetup, as well as local Facebook groups of writers. There are tons of organizations that gather and share what they do with each other.

005: Schedule some writing sessions.

This is the simplest way to get back into writing. Schedule a writing session and make sure you show up for it. You have to be present for your writing life, and making time and honoring your promise to yourself are the best ways to actually sit down and write.

I know this suggestion isn’t exciting or fun, but it’s good advice. That’s kind of the thing with most good advice. It’s generally very mundane so we discount it. Also, it’s mundane because it’s so boring. This is probably the least exciting thing on this list. And I know it’s the best piece of advice.

006: Break up a project into tiny pieces.

You may be wondering how to start writing again after a long break when you have so much writing to do. And that’s fair. Writing mostly sucks in that you’re sitting still with your eyes on a screen and you’re not doing anything particularly fun. So the idea of writing a whole novel that way never really seems appealing. Instead, focus on a small portion of the novel. Maybe a chapter or a scene. Then finish one chapter or scene at a time until the novel is done.

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I know this is also one of those super basic-seeming bits of advice. But it’s important to remember that no one writes a book in one setting. And even the fastest writers still take days to write a novel. So break up your project in manageable chunks. If you’re coming back to writing after a long time away, your chunks will be smaller. But after you’ve been at it for a while, the chunks will get bigger.

007: Remember habits take time.

Writing isn’t something you just do if you haven’t built up the habit of it. It’s exhausting to think like a writer, and even more exhausting to sit still and write for hours. Anyone who knows how to write 10,000 words a day will tell you that it’s hard to get to that point, and it’s very, very tiring. Building the writing habit is what makes big word count days and finishing your novel project possible. And if you want to take a free email course on how to build your writing habit, you can do that right here.

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Ready to Jump Back Into Writing?

How do you come back to writing after a long time away? What’s your favorite little life hack to make writing easier to achieve every single day? Do you have a word count you try to hit every day?

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