Getting back to work

Joe’s Post #143

Getting back from a writing retreat or a workshop, or even a conference, is a lot like coming back from a vacation with a bad case of the runs. It’s not like you don’t want to get on with life, but sh*t just keeps cropping up.

orange is the new blackBack at home, there’s all sorts of distractions, from Orange is the New Black to a regular life full of ball hockey practices, dishes and yelling at the dog for barking at the cat who’s hissing at the frogs, to bills and fights with Canada Revenue Services.

So while it’s easy to find time to write when you’re on a retreat, or at a workshop, it’s hard to keep that momentum going.

In the last week, I wrote 30 pages. Better than most weeks in 2015, that’s for sure, but far below what I should be doing. And that got me thinking.

How do you keep up the momentum?


For me, it routine is still my best hope, but I can write for 2 hours a day in the morning and produce 2 hours of crap. So that may not be everything.

keyFinding inspiration is the key. I mean, that’s what those other events are for, right?

Can you find it from other writers? Sure. So you need to be part of a group. A fun group that loves to write.

Can you find it from books on writing? Maybe, but it’s just as easy to get bogged down in editorial mode and that could mean you’ll be writing and rewriting and rewriting the same 30 pages over and over.

Can you find it from novels? Ah, that’s the ticket. At least for me. Nothing inspires like a good book.

Can you find it alone? Hmmm. Maybe, but inspiring myself is kind of like trying to cut my own hair. It usually ends in tears and a trip to the doctor to reattach an ear.

So how do you stay motivated?


2 thoughts on “Getting back to work

  1. I have had lots of missed opportunities to write during the past year. I live a very active life too. Good to have you share, Joe. Currently, I set a goal to have my novel done by the end of this year. It makes me feel the heat of the deadline approaching, and pushes my thoughts forward a little. I get sidetracked in the good fullness of daily living, frankly, and it is otherwise easy to set the writing aside. best wishes.

  2. You just asked the zillion dollar question Joe. (Gee, haven’t we opined on this before?) If only there were a simple, definitive answer, but I’m afraid it’s the journey that just needs constant vigilance and course corrections. Inspiration? Certainly, we always need that. Discipline? Goes without saying. Routine? Many say it works for them, I’m not so great at establishing one — or does that go back to Discipline? Here’s another one: Priorities. A tough one, for sure.

    In the really big picture, would you put your writing ahead of, say, your closest relationships on your priority list? Or your most urgent tasks (the ones you’re already behind on, like, say paying bills)? Or the things that Must Happen Right Now (e.g., scheduled events, dinner, can’t-be-missed show)? Most would say no. But how about in the smaller picture … a week, a day, a morning? I feel, for me, that until I can stop saying “I’ll write AS SOON AS I [insert very important thing here] …” I will continue to fail achieving the Discipline, the Routine, the Priority — whatever you want to call it — to firmly re-establish my writing practice.

    Okay, let’s think of it this way: July 5 you owe me 30 pages. And vice versa!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s