The winner of the Get Back to Writing Week Poetry giveaway is:
Charlene Teglia, who offered this haiku:
All my kids are sick
I can't get my writing done
Poetry might help.
Charlene, when you have a chance please send your ship-to info to Lynn Viehl@aol.com so I can get your package out to you. My thanks to everyone for joining in, and keep writing those haiku and other poems -- they really do help.
Taking a long break from writing generally makes for a difficult return; trying to go back to it after you've quit writing, unplugged from the internet, and actively avoided your writer friends, NetPubLand, and basically anyone and everything to do with writing is probably the toughest road back. I know because I stopped writing -- and everything related to it -- for a year.
When I quit I was pretty ruthless about it; I shut down my blog, stopped teaching online classes, dropped out of my writer organization, quit going to cons and having booksignings, and even stopped submitting proposals to publishers. To generate some income I went off to work as a bookseller and moonlight as an antique quilt restorer, two things I loved. My old writer pals, however, kept e-mailing to nag me to come back and start blogging and teaching again (in hindsight I probably should have shut down the e-mail, too.)
At the time no one but our family knew that my guy had just been diagnosed with cancer, and I intended to keep it that way. Helping him through his surgery, treatment and recovery was all I cared about; I knew the writing would wait. As for the biz, it could go hang itself.
My writer friends didn't let up, and once my guy was out of danger one of them convinced me to (partially) reconsider my shutdown. While I still felt fed up with the biz, I'd never lost my love of sharing ideas and resources with other writers. I was even writing a little again, too. My friend suggested I start another blog. The idea appealed to me; it would be a way to get in some writing practice and maybe teach while still preserving my privacy. What the heck, I thought, I could write about the real writing life. Maybe five or ten writers would read the thing; we'd all get tired of it in a couple of months and I could finally quit the biz for good.
That was ten years ago, and here I am, still posting away.
Blogging brought me back to writing because it provided me with the motivation I needed to return to a writing routine. Posting every day meant not only writing about writing, but thinking about it again, and letting it back into my life. I didn't have to write much, but as a lifelong journaler I felt an obligation to write something. I also wanted it to be useful, so as not to waste my visitors' time, or at the very least offer them some entertaining content; otherwise why do it?
Gradually I recognized that by blogging I was meeting like-minded people who cared about the same things I did: appreciating the art of story, reading great books, improving the craft, protecting the work and finding new opportunities. These were the other writers I'd always hoped to find but until then never had. Blogging about the writing life turned out to be the writing life I'd dreamed of but hadn't found anywhere else. As epiphanies go, that one was pretty major.
This is why I'm proof that blogging can provide a solid avenue to get back into a writing routine. If you've never tried blogging, try creating one and commit to posting twice a week. If you've neglected an old blog for some time, dust it off and restart it. Try a new blog skin or template to give it a fresh look. If the prospect of going it alone intimidates you, talk to your writer friends about starting a new group blog. You don't have to write about writing; write about anything. Go to a site with blogging prompts or invest in a how-to book with writing sparks. Let people know what's been happening with you, what you've been reading lately or what else grabs your interest. You can even chronicle your journey back to writing as it happens.
To further tempt you to get back to writing by blogging, in comments to this post name a topic you'd like to write about on a blog by midnight EST on Friday, September 7th, 2012. I'll choose one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner unsigned copies of Week by Week ~ a Year's Worth of Journaling Prompts and Meditations by Amber Lea Starfire and How to Blog a Book by Nina Amir. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.