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  • Caren McVicker

Getting Back into the Groove


I hadn't realized I was in the groove, until I fell out of it. The writer's groove is typically built on the number of words you write per day or the number of pages you revise, depending on where you are in your project.


In January of 2020, I hit my stride and began consistently writing more than 1,000 words per day, at least six days a week. When the COVID-19 lockdown hit last March, I kept on trucking. It's no wonder I completed the first draft of my novel by the end of June—other than cooking for my family and washing my hands a million times a day, what else was there to do?


Once my manuscript went out to a few beta readers, I dedicated three hours a day to revisions. The bottom line is, I had not missed more than one day a week of productivity in well over a year. That is, until I drove down to the Florida panhandle earlier this month to visit my mother. The trip took two and half days—extra stops due to my backseat driver, a seven-month-old rescue puppy named June Bug. I didn't write the day we left because I was packing and even though I hand wrote notes in my journal during the trip, I went three full days without opening my laptop and working on my draft. Now, I'm struggling to get back in the groove. I'm jonesing for that flow state when the writing pours out and I can barely type fast enough to keep up with my characters' conversations.


Here are four of the tips and tricks I'm using to get back into the groove:

  1. Stick to a schedule. Sitting down at roughly the same time every day to write or revise can help.

  2. Free yourself to write badly. Yup, sometimes the only way to get going again is to let yourself write crap for awhile. The good thing about writing 1,000 terrible words is it gives you something to edit tomorrow.

  3. Read. Almost every writer I know got here because they love to read. Reading other people's work always inspires me to write. I'm making sure that I block time every day to read.

  4. Take short breaks and get outside whenever possible. There's nothing worse than staring at your laptop, feeling like there are no words inside you. None. Zippo. Nada. I find taking short 15-20 minute breaks and getting outside for a walk if possible can be a great way to work through a block. When I wander around outside thinking about my characters and what needs to happen next, I almost always have something to write when I walk back through the door.

If you are also working to get back into the writers' groove, I hope these help. Do you have any other tips? Please comment and let me know. Time to get back at it!


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