5 Tips for Getting Back in the Groove

Spring Break! Those two words take me back to memories of school—and a few days’ freedom from it. What do you think when you hear those words? Sunshine? Beaches? Sleeping in?

100_0008This year, our Spring Break involved four days of camping, hiking, and biking in the desert of Moab, Utah, where it rained and snowed and didn’t fit the typical Spring Break imaginings. No high-speed internet, no cell phone coverage, no electricity…just lots of time to explore, read, play card games, and hang out. And it was wonderful.

But now here I am, back at my desk, trying to figure out what the heck I was working on when I left. I’ve written before of the importance of keeping your writing momentum—but everyone has those times when, for whatever reason, you’ve had to take a break from the page. How do you get back in the groove?

  1. Refamiliarize: Re-read your work in progress (WIP), plot outline, setting notes, character bible—whatever writing you’ve done on the project, re-read and re-group. Fill your subconscious with story details and watch what happens!
  2. Immerse: Find a block of time with minimal distractions, a time when you can take all the time you need to wrap your head around your project and start writing again.
  3. Or Start Small: If diving back into your WIP gives you a panic attack, try re-entering the work with small assignments. Freewrite a scene or a bit of backstory, or set a small #writegoal with Twitter friends for encouragement and accountability.
  4. Avoid Excuses: It’s hard to take time to write after a break. I know—I’m studiously ignoring the laundry that still needs to be put away. But I also know it can wait. I know that if I worked a desk job, I’d put in my work hours before tackling housework; my writing time deserves the same respect!
  5. Think Nike: Just Do It! Sometimes it’s hard to get started on projects, but remember: every word you write is a word that takes you nearer to your destination. The sooner you start moving again, the sooner you’ll rediscover your groove.

Happy writing, everyone!

:) Cheryl


*Lily, rock-climbing poodle extraordinaire. Note the dog booties: the rock’s sandpaper surface wears out the pads on a dog that runs as much as this one. The booties helped—although she ran holes in them, too!

Spring Fever!

I love this time of year, when daffodils are playing tag with crocuses and the weather hints at warmer days ahead. I keep heading outside to write—until the wind blows, anyway, because although sixty degrees F is warm in the sun, it is NOT warm in the wind.


Add in Spring Break for the kids, and life’s looking pretty good. But—I fear I will be absent for a bit longer, because of a pressing need to have fun with my family :0).

Until next week, Happy Spring, everyone!


Ten Reasons to Practice Freewriting

Many writers I know think of freewriting as writer-style therapy—a way to get worries out of your head and onto the page. However, freewriting has so many more applications. The Faculty Leadership for Writing Initiative at the University of Nebreska-Lincoln defines it as “an invention strategy where students write for a certain amount of time for the purpose of generating ideas…”


Great. But what does “generating ideas” really mean? The truth is that I don’t *want* new story ideas when I’m supposed to be editing my current work-in-progress. New story ideas = distractions, so if that’s your view of freewriting, you’ll probably shove it on the shelf until you’re ready for a new project (or a new therapy session…) And that would be a shame, because freewriting has a lot to offer writers at all stages and skill levels.

Here are ten ways freewriting can help you grow as a writer—and provide tangible progress on a wide variety of writing projects.

  1. Access your subconscious: Like meditation or dreams, freewriting allows your mind to wander creatively—while you capture the process on paper.
  2. Silence your internal critic: Try this “Just Do It!” exercise at the CUNY writing web site. Practice makes it easier to ignore your internal nay-sayer.
  3. Clear your head for creating: when you “brain dump” the worries and stresses that clutter your mind, you make space for creativity.
  4. Discover answers to plot questions
  5. Find your character’s voice
  6. Discover what your character thinks, hopes, dreams, and fears. Discover what motivates her thoughts and actions.
  7. Explore the memory of an experience you’ve had, especially an emotional experience: This provides material for you to draw upon when your character experiences something similar.
  8. Explore an experience you *haven’t* had: freewrite about how you imagine something would feel—something your character will experience—in order to get inside your character’s head.
  9. Keep up your writing momentum: in contrast to polished prose, freewriting can take place in bits and pieces of time when you might be too busy for “real” writing.
  10. Practice writing faster: it’s a skill you can develop.
  11. Sidestep writer’s block (okay that’s more than ten, but I couldn’t decide on which one to cut….)

Convinced to take freewriting off the shelf, dust it off, and give it a try? I’ll post resources and how-to’s this weekend.

What about you? Do you use freewriting in your writing process? If so, how?

:-) Cheryl

Twitter Resources


As promised, here are a few of my favorite Twitter resources:

There are many, many more, but these are a good place to start. Happy writing and Tweeting!

:) Cheryl