taking up the pencil again

Getting back in the saddle after a long hiatus.

It’s tough, gang.

I-Can’t-Do-It Gremlins move in to an idle workshop. Sit down at a dusty keyboard and they whisper paralyzing thoughts in your ear:

What can you do?


  • Be patient with yourself. Your writing muscles are a little rusty. If you usually write 1,000 words a day, after a break, you might only squeeze out 400 words for the first several sessions. So what? Just do what you can do.
  • Be hard on yourself. Make yourself write. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, which as we all know, never comes. Sit in front of that screen until you’ve plunked down some words. They don’t have to be good, they just have to be words.
  • Get yourself back in the habit of thinking about writing, even when you’re not writing. Carry around your idea notebook to catch random snatches of conversation, picture book premises, blog ideas, plot twists. (Or use your smartphone app.)
  • Connect with your writing buddies–in person and online. Critique groups, book signings, write-ins, workshops, even lunch or the #amwriting hashtag on Twitter can keep you fired up about your goals.



About Lisha Cauthen

Lisha Cauthen writes YA novels for guys that girls like to read too.

Posted on January 4, 2012, in writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Well, I’ve been patient with myself (methinks for perhaps a teensy bit too long), think about writing when not writing and regularly connect with writing buddies; now to buckle down and get hard on myself. Stay tuned. 🙂
    ~~Judy H.

  2. I’m just returning to editing right now. Although you’ve written about writing here, much of what you’ve written applies to editing, too–especially in my case, where I’m virtually rewriting a novel I wrote in a couple of weeks. Seven years ago.

    My most recent novel is so, so very clean by comparison to this. This? It requires so much work! I’ve kept telling myself, “Tomorrow. I’ll get serious about this tomorrow.” This morning, though, I did my second morning of edits. Tomorrow I’ll do my third. And then I’ll just keep on going, because that’s the only way I’ll ever know for sure what happens.

    I wish I’d decided the same about four months ago!

  3. Good tips, Lisha. A little patience, a little tough love.

  4. Get TOUGH, Judy! You can do it!

    Deborah, be proud of every step forward. They add up.

    Dana! Let me know when the package gets there. I’m curious.

  5. Go for it, Judy! I’ve been in research mode and will be for awhile longer, I think. I consider it “refilling the tank” mode, too as I really depleted my creativity stock while writing the last book. So I’m reading and reading and reading and writing about what I’m reading, then reading and reading….

  6. Just prime the pump a bit. And get ready to have some fun.

  7. Fun? I AM SUFFERING OVER HERE, MOUSE. Can I call you “Mouse”?

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