Getting Back In

Is there some kind of guidebook for getting back into a project you’ve set down for a while? Because my process feels a lot like redoing great vast chunks of it just to remind myself what the hell I was doing 6 months ago when I thought the thing sounded like a good idea.

As I try to get myself back to putting things on a page that are not written in some nonhuman language, the current worst part is penetrating the ever-widening wall of fear that springs up between you and something you haven’t looked at in a few hours.  The days where I can alt-tab to Scrivener and see that, yes, there are words from a story I half-abandoned are far enough apart.  Don’t ask me how often I manage to verify those words form English sentences.

But, hey, I hit a milestone, right? Today I’m avoiding looking at it by writing a rubbish blog post. Progress, people.

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4 Responses to Getting Back In

  1. Ian says:

    Ah, but the post is not rubbish… or maybe it is, but that’s not the point. The point is to write. If you are a writer, then by definition you must write. The only way to get back into the project is to open Scrivener and write. Or not… open up WordPress and write some posts. Keep writing them, and gradually you may open Scrivener instead nad find your flow again.

    Even better, write everything in Scrivener. You get the point. Good luck, and welcome back to the land of “English”.

    Be well.

  2. I think the process *is* reworking great vast hunks of the material. Frustrating as that is.

    There’s a video on YouTube of John Cleese talking about creativity [1]. He tells a story about losing a draft of a beloved article, then rewriting it, then much later finding the original. He compared the two, and discovered that the rewrite was unquestionably better.

    Also, we change. In “Lost in La Mancha,” Terry Gilliam talked about scripts he has for projects that filled him with verve and vigor years ago, but that he couldn’t imagine making now. So you have to re-connect the material with what you have today.


  3. saalon says:

    @Ian: Yeah, one of the main reasons I’m back to the blog is that it is, at least, the output of words onto a public page. Over the past few years, I was rarely writing something substantial if I wasn’t also giving inconsequential thoughts voice.

    @Brent: But it’s hard! And totally, completely correct.

  4. Oh, MAN is it hard.

    And the hardest part, I think, is having no idea if it’s any good until you’re finished. It’s not like a car, where you can see if you’re still in your lane and progressing towards your goal. When writing, your goal may not even exist once you get to the end.

    Strange. And one of the primary reasons that there are so many half-finished novels sitting silently on hard drives around the world.

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