[VIDEO] How to pick up where you left off… when you’re scared

Jun 20, 2017

I’ve been traveling a lot lately and while I’ve worked on my memoir when I can, and when I am home, it’s been patchy.

It was just too much for my heart to write while I was visiting my mom in memory care last week. The emotional wallop of feeding my mom pureed food and “toileting” her was enough to absorb, let alone going back in time to write about my struggles after my dad’s death and my divorce. Our hearts can only take so much.

Now I am home and determined to finish this draft of my memoir by July 21st.

But of course, starting in again and ramping up to a big push with this big expectation on my shoulders made me feel anxious. Oh god this book sucks! What’s the point? Why don’t I eat some of last night’s leftover guacamole and forget about it?

After the guac, and a big deep breath I remembered: I know how to do this.

And so do you.

To get back into the flow I made a “cluster” of my process and a video explaining it. I hope you find it as calming and as useful as I do. (Also, I made the video AFTER I wrote!)

Here we go!

To recap my ideas:

  • Make a cluster to remind you what you know about beginning again
  • Make a cluster of scenes, questions, or ideas to write into next
  • Write into one or more of those by hand, then type into your document very lightly revising as you go
  • Leave yourself bread crumbs for your next writing session
  • Read another writer’s work closely and look for clues in their writing to see how you can handle one current writing challenge. For example, you might try weaving reflection in with a scene
  • Talk to a writing buddy, don’t isolate
  • On a break from writing or right before a writing session, do one small task that you can easily complete such as call the vet and order the dog food – this gives you a hit of dopamine and reminds you “I can do stuff!”
  • Phase in longer writing times and your full “writing ritual” over a week or so.
  • Don’t expect yourself to go fully back into the project right off the bat
  • Remember: you are not alone. No matter how terrified or dumb you feel and no matter how certain you are that your project is the worst piece of dreck ever recorded in any language on any planet in any solar system, we are with you.

Let’s pick up our pens and begin – now!

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