We all have breaks from writing from time to time, but reconnecting with your book after a break can be tricky if you don’t have a strategy to get back on track. Here are some steps to take to make that process easier and more effective.
Get in the mood
First, you need to spend a few minutes reconnecting with your vision for your book. You started this project for a reason, you were excited about it when you began and it’s important that you remember that reason now. Allow yourself to feel excited about this book again. Once you are ready, switch off your negative thinking and start working.
Once you have reconnected with your book, do your best to make sure you stay on track. If you can’t – and we all know how quickly our best intentions can get derailed so don’t beat yourself up about it – go through the reconnection routine again. It’s fine. You can do it as many times as you need to.
Start at the end
It might seem as if the Introduction or Chapter One would be the best place to start, but I challenge you to begin further on in your book. The problem with reacquainting yourself with your book at the start is that you can all too easily never get beyond those points. If every time you get interrupted you go back to the beginning, you will never move forward.
By starting with a chapter that is further on in the book, you can actually focus on that chapter in isolation (and so be more likely to finish it). When you finish one chapter in this way, it will be easier to go on to focus on another.
Don’t get stuck at the same road-block as before
Do you remember where you got stuck with your book last time you were working on it? Well, leave that part well alone. Get as far forward as you can with your book without going over the parts you are having trouble with. Once you have the majority of your book knocked into shape, return to those tricky bits that tripped you up before. The chances are that you will find solutions or know how to deal with them now that you have got the bulk of your book done.
If you can’t solve the old problem with your book, ask someone to read it over for you or send it to an editor to give you some feedback. Make sure you are clear what you are having trouble with so you get the feedback you want. What you don’t need is a general critique that starts to unravel other parts of your book that you are happy with. Areas that need extra work can be sorted out when you send your book to your copy editor.
Interruptions when writing your book are going to happen – don’t waste energy getting upset about it – all you need to do is reconnect fully before you begin working again and make your time with your book productive. Leave the hard stuff until you are nearly finished and it will feel easier and don’t keep returning to the bit that you struggled with the last time you worked on your book. That is the fast way to never finishing your book. That’s one situation you definitely want to avoid.
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