Advice For Writers Starting Up Again

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    J.A. Marlow
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    Do any of you have any advice to writers who haven’t been writing for a while and want to get back to it? What are some starting strategies that have worked for you in the past?

    If anyone posts a blog post under their Writing Groove profile on the subject, let me know and I’ll highlight it on the main page. :)

    J.A. Marlow
    The String Weavers, Salmon Run, Redpoint One series.

    Writer alter-ego of Dreamers Cove

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    The best advice I’ve gotten (and periodically used) is to set aside 10-15 minutes a day to write. Even if all you write is “I am supposed to be writing” after a while, your mind gets bored and offers something more entertaining.

    She remakes mechanical devices, and he dreams of becoming a steamship captain in The Steamship Chronicles. Book 1 is free in eBook.

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    I look at one of my worlds, or one of my characters, and write a flash fiction (500 words or less) story.
    No genre issues, no developing new character issues. Just use one place in my established world and one incident in the past of the existing character. I tell my muse to let loose. And I set my timer for 10 minutes, relax and enjoy the experience.
    The first 10 minutes are slow, but then I pick up speed and just write. Mostly I get rubbish, but one or two gems are kept for use in my next story in that world. :-)
    Once I finish the flash fiction story, I read through a current project, just to remember what the story was about and how it was going, then start a new scene.
    Sometimes I have to go back and make adjustments but it gets me interested in the next scene, and the next. In no time, I am back in the groove, butt on chair, and writing.
    My best habit, thankfully, is writing in the mornings, 5:00 – 6:00am start for a few hours, then the next day adding another hour until it becomes routine for 3-4 hours each morning.
    I stop well before lunch time to attend house keeping, shopping, etc, but back to it the next morning.

    At the moment, I am stuck on the setting of a new scene, so wasting time on forums. :-)
    Took me about 7 hours yesterday researching barque sail names, speed to sail 40 miles, etc, and writing the first scene (about 3000 words) so today I will probably pay some bills, and shop while working out the island customs, culture, etc then get back into it.

    Good luck with your writing.

    • Topics - 23
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    I’ve found the hardest thing to do is to get back in the habit of it. Like others have said here, if I tell myself, “Just ten minutes,” it gets things going and I find myself wanting to do another ten, then another, then another…

    Beyond that, I’d also second looking at old stories to see if any jump up with hands waving. Maybe also start a card file, a la Fieldstone Method*, and write down story ideas or things that resonate on 3×5 cards.

    When I got back into writing, I put Heinlein’s Rules above my computer screen, with Rule #1 underlined.

    * Jerry Weinberg, author of Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, says he always keeps a small stack of blank 3×5 cards and a couple of pens with him to write down ideas. I’ve been finding a lot of SF short story ideas through use of this method. I like it better than using notebooks.

    Author of a romance between Loki and Sigyn, a dragon shapeshifter series, and a romantic fantasy with forbidden magic and a mysterious minstrel. (More at

    Also writes space opera/sociological science fiction under the name Z.A. Waterstone. (

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    Do nanowrimo :) I also enjoy Justin’s daily prompts when I want to just write something to get the process moving.

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    I go through bad writing slumps every time I finish a novel project. For someone who is so used to writing every day for a bare minimum of least an hour a day, having such a slump where I do nothing is seriously distressing. Sometimes the harder I try to force it, the worse it gets. Then comes the guilt about not writing.

    I usually get out of longer slumps by writing small. Flash fiction. Short blog posts. Recently, I wrote a flash fiction that many of my readers said should be a longer story. I took that and ran with it, telling myself it’d be a story story. Then a novella. It’s now novel sized. It’s kinda’ like re-teaching yourself to run 5Ks by starting to run just down the block.

    I also try to write in a genre I’m less familiar with, or less comfortable with. Sometimes stretching my brain in other ways helps jog it back into a steadier routine.

    I look up submissions themed prompts and see if there’s something that gets the juices flowing. Then if all else fails I have a story I can send somewhere.

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