Getting Back on Track from a Writing Vacation

Has your writing taken a summer vacation?  My critique group took a hiatus during the summer and so did my writing life.  I needed the break.  Spending time gardening, camping with friends and cooking over a fire was just what this writer needed.    But now I need to refocus. 

Did the hiccups of a summer routine interrupt your writing?  Maybe you took a vacation or have been playing solitaire way to much.  If so, here are four steps to get back on track.

  1. Connect with your critique group or writing support system—My critique group met tonight.  It’s only been two months since we last met, but it was like meeting long lost friends.  We mostly spent the time talking about our summer and how we feel about our writing at this juncture.  We set a date in September to begin are bi-weekly meetings.  Just connecting with this group, starts my creative juices flowing. 
  2. Identify small action steps – Select one writing project and dissect it into manageable pieces to get you started.  This is especially important if you are feeling overwhelmed. 
  3.  Mind-map your writing life—In the last Writers On the Move blog post, Shirley Corder discusses mind-mapping as a way to stimulate the right brain.   For me, mind mapping my writing life is especially helpful when I have been disconnected from my writing.    I use the program Freeplane and identify the progress and next step for each of my writing projects.  Freeplane provides a visual map for my small action steps. 
  4. Commit to a time to write – For the last few years, I had the luxury to be able to write for long blocks of time.  With a new job, I now have to squeeze writing into my life.  My plan is to write four mornings a week, before I start my day.   I’ll start my day by putting my goals first.

Have you slacked off this summer?  If so, how do you plan to reconnect with your writing life?

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life strategist. For more information check out   or folllow her at: 


Unknown said...

I took a couple of weeks off and what a struggle to get back to my groove. Wow! You could have cut my brain fog with a knife when I sat down to write. I had to begin with short prompts to find my muse. Still not back to full speed.

Karen Cioffi said...

Mary Jo, This is a timely post, as many of us either slow down or take time off from our writing during the summer. When I moderated a children's critique group, we always took the summers off. In fact, when we did virtual tours as part of WOTM's marketing strategy, we took the summers off.

I think you need to give the old brain a rest now and then.

Great tips for getting back into the writing grove.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

I find it takes work to get back to my rhythm. I think short prompts are a great way to get past blocks, whether it's from not writing for a while or writing too much.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Thanks for stopping by Karen. I think the summer is the best time to take a breather from whatever you are working on.

Magdalena Ball said...

It's winter for me, but slacking off is so easy with so many other jobs on the go. Scheduling in time is the best solution for that Mary Jo as you rightly point out. Nothing like the accountability of a critique group either. I also like, when I'm struggling, to enroll in something or find a competition to write for. The deadlines help a lot.

widdershins said...

Getting back up to speed after all that Summer frivolity is definitely a struggle!

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great suggestion Maggie to find a competition or something, deadlines can really jumpstart your writing when you feel stalled. Do you find you have a time of year when you slow down with your writing or is it just intermittent?

Shirley Corder said...

Hi Mary Jo,
Timely post for me. In two weeks time we're going away for two weeks! When I come back I have 10 days to a book launch. So I HAVE to get up and running really fast. Trouble is I always battle when I've been away to get back into the groove. I like the sound of Freeplane. Perhaps I'll download it and learn it while I'm on break! Thanks for the suggestions.

Debbie A Byrne said...

I didn't get much writing done this summer, but I did attend some writing events, both in-person and online. My local writers group is also meeting more, now that kids are back in school.

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