Have you abandoned some creative project that still retains a lot of juice? Return to it with optimism, an open heart, and a firm belief in renewed possibility! 

Ask yourself, What writing projects have I started, but did not finish or have not worked on in a while? Most writers have a project—or two or three—that has been sitting in the vast memory space of our computers, left untouched for too long. Pick the one that calls to you the most. If you start with a project you feel strongly about, you’re much more likely to stick with it. Once you have that project in mind, sit down and start back at it. Even though that can be harder than it seems, that is what it always comes down to—starting again.

Writing with laptop and penWhen returning to a writing project, understand that you have to be appropriately motivated. Avoid going into the project rehashing all the reasons you quit in the first place. Instead, remember why you wanted to start this particular piece; remember what that felt like. Have those reasons changed or are they stronger than ever? Be optimistic about what is to come, be proud of the fact that you found your way back to your writing, and allow yourself to be inspired by new things.

You may find that you need to go back through what you already wrote and make significant changes—because people change.

You are not the same person you were when you first worked on the project.

Your likes and dislikes may have changed, so something you wrote months ago may not be what you want to say now. You will always be growing as a writer.

With each word you write, you become more experienced in your own process.

Take the time to look back as objectively as possible on what you have already written and acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. I know it can be hard to self-criticize, but look at your work as if another person created it.

What advice would you give that writer?

How have they succeeded in their writing and what may need more attention? Then step back inside yourself and take to heart all the advice you have just received.

At this point, you have two options. You can either review your piece and make the needed changes, or you could do a sort of mind-purge. Focusing on your project, start writing anything and everything that comes to mind. If the reason you previously dropped your project has anything to do with writer’s block, then writing in an informal manner such as this greatly increases your chance of finding inspiration.

At this point, your project can still be anything you want to make it be, so don’t let yourself feel stuck.

Being aware that you are not forced to continue on the same path you originally started on may help any anxiety you may have had about the project.

Be realistic about your restart. Even though completing the project might be your ultimate goal, do not strive for a completed piece of work in the first, second, or even third sitting.

Know that your first day back at a previously abandoned writing project is about showing up.

That is what you are striving for first. After you have gotten back into your writing rhythm, you will find the success you seek.  

With permission from Dr. Eric Maisel, The 97 Best Creativity Tips Ever! (2011) was the inspiration for this post.

Bonnie Snow
Bonnie Snow was an intern with Around the Writer’s Table, working toward a graduate certificate in publishing and editing while in her senior year at Florida State University. She is inspired by the editing field’s penchant for helping others see their dreams realized. It’s important to Bonnie that the art of editing come, not only from refining writers’ works, but also in understanding the vision that authors wish to impress upon others and fully supporting them in their fulfillment of their purpose and passion.

Gina Edwards is a retreat leader, a certified creativity coach, and a book editor. She is also a writer, so she’s intimately familiar with the challenges and elation that come with being one.

She supports all writers—published and aspiring—who want to write as an act of courageous and necessary self-expression.

Walking the writer’s path hand-in-hand with her clients and students, she helps them establish a writing practice and define a creative life on their own terms.


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