Getting Back Your Writing Groove

Writing regularly makes a blank page welcoming, a call to come and sit down, do what I love. But when I get sidetracked by life, or fear, or failure, or the dreaded “wanting to write” more than I write, I lose my groove. The blank page of a new document or the first page of a new notebook when my groove is —gasp—AWOL is like gripping my toes over the edge of a dock, staring at the cold lake waiting.

So I jump. Feel the initial wave of fear, then cold, joints and muscles momentarily stiff, tense with the immersion. Then I move, kick, begin to swim and now I’m no longer on the dock, no longer hesitant, no longer facing a new notebook with one hundred sheets of blank paper, or the blinking curser with unlimited blank pages.

Ink fills the page. Words fill the page.

It comforts. Tomorrow, the water will be less cold.

Six ways to get back your writing groove:

  1. Smack down the fear of beginning. Say, “it’s just words.” Junk is okay.
  2. Get thee to thy desk; derrière in chair summons your groove.
  3. Take a book you love and copy a paragraph you particularly like three times. You only use it to warm up. It’s just practicing your scales; getting your fingers moving. An author you love inspires you to write.
  4. Jump in. Write a six word sentence. Ignore the cold. Write a longer one. Keep going.
  5. Write 250 words (about a page) before checking your email. If the rest of the day is a wash, you will have written a page. Feel the comfort.
  6. Remember why you are doing this. You are a writer. Splash about. When you’ve written something, anything, dry off, repeat 1-5 tomorrow. Smile.

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What do you do to find your writing groove when you've lost it?