It’s hard to get back into fiction writing after being away from it for a while. It takes only a brief lull, a sudden shock, or a simple distraction to move our minds away from the flow of words in our chosen fictional worlds; then we’re lost, somewhere out here in what is called the world of reality.
Our families call to us, requiring attention. We’re asked to take part in community projects and events. We devote ourselves to housecleaning or cooking, caring for the people who mean the most to us. And where has our love for fiction writing gone? To the moon? To the stars, out past the Milky Way?
Getting back into that fictional world we were once busy creating can be difficult, but it must be done. Our novel is important, and that love for fiction writing dwells in our hearts even when we’re running from chore to chore, from errand to errand. We might lay our beloved manuscript aside for a day, a week, or a year, but it never totally leaves us. An unfinished manuscript weighs on our hearts. It nags us: “Finish me. I was good. I’m worth sharing with the world.”
There’s no rest for us until that manuscript receives the love and time it deserves.
The solution is simple and we all know what it is: write a little every day. Daily writing is the life bread of a fiction author. It keeps our fingers moving, our imaginations revved up and producing, and our writerly enthusiasm flowing. Daily writing is a vital element of what we fiction writers must do. Though the results of our daily sessions may become elements of our first drafts, maybe they won’t; still the time is never wasted because we learn so much about our capacities when we take time to exercise them daily. We must keep on writing, filling pages with new and voluminous words; and day by day the writing will get easier and we will be more productive and more satisfied with the pieces we produce.
If we’re stuck, we can get un-stuck by writing from the viewpoints of the characters we’ve abandoned. We can write out their oh-so-private diary entries and see what they really think of the world. We can interview our characters and get inside their heads and hearts. We can let them speak to us, or let them write letters to tell us what they want people to know about them, or what secrets they prefer to hide.
Perhaps our writing stalled because we were headed in the wrong direction and sub-consciously knew this. Maybe we need to learn things about our characters that will help us see them in a different light. We must talk to them and write about them every day. The better we know these characters, the more impact our manuscripts will have on the hearts of our readers.
To renew a stalled manuscript we should review the chapters we’ve already written and meditate on what comes next. We’ll probably be surprised at the promises our manuscripts hold, and amazed at the stories we’ve formulated, thus far. We can let our imaginations have full reign, considering all the possibilities. We may decide that our original plans were the best ones or maybe we’ll come up with something better. Allowing ideas to simmer while we acclimate our senses and emotions to the tenor of the pieces we were writing allows us back into the flow of the thoughts we had then. We can let those manuscripts sink back into our hearts, so when we pick up the writing where we left off, we’ll be writing in the same tone, with the same voice and intensity.
When we approach our characters with respect and consideration, they will come back into our consciousness and inspire us to finish writing their stories. If we want to enshrine our characters in written words, and make these imaginary people a creation of our love for writing, we must give them our thoughts, time, and the power of our love. They will come back to join us, to turn our minds from the outside world of reality to the inner world of creation.