A lot of writers are not writing; this I know because it's the most common complaint I hear lately from my fellow scribe pals. Whether it's caused by the demands of life, too much involvement in social media, or some biz-related despair, not-writing seems to be acquiring the dimensions of a plague. But then you can always find a good reason not to write. You can put it off for now and instead deal with whatever is messing with you. Of course you'll get back to it, you tell yourself, maybe tomorrow. Then tomorrow turns into next week, next month, next year, etc.
Sometimes that is what you have to do: stop writing, deal with whatever, and then go back to it. I've done it more than once myself; no judgment here.
I find that the toughest task is the going back after a long time of not-writing. When writing is no longer part of your daily or weekly routine it has to be reintegrated. Since every spare moment we have these days seems to be dedicated to doing something else time has to be made for it. Then there's the picking up where you left off or starting fresh on something new. Often you have to do this with the reason(s) you stopped writing in the first place still hovering in the background, waiting to distract you -- and railroad you -- again.
If you're wrestling with this problem, there are plenty of ways to cope. National Novel Writing Month is less than two months away now, and there is no better time to seriously dive into your writing than NaNoWriMo. Before you commit to producing a novel in a month, however, you might consider dusting off your muse and warming up your writerly muscles by getting back to writing right now. Pick a simple project and get to it: write a poem, a short story, update your blog, start a handwritten journal or research and outline your NaNo novel. Do this, stick with it and by the time November arrives I'll bet you'll have a lot more confidence in yourself and your writing.
In my toughest times with writing I often turn to poetry to inspire and renew me, and of all the poetic forms haiku is my favorite for this. It's brief, it's beautiful and it's fun, and it doesn't require a huge amount of time to practice. Try starting a haiku journal, and commit to writing one new poem in it every day for a week. You can also take your favorite nature photographs and use them as inspiration. If you have a set of magnetic poetry, try writing haiku with it on your fridge. Once you've built up a nice collection of haiku you can use them for other things, too; I've made mine into bookmarks and holiday cards; I've also embroidered them into quilts and added them to artwork for artist trading cards.
You can start getting back to your writing via haiku right now, too. In comments to this post write a haiku (or if you can't come up with one, toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner a set of Haikubes and an unsigned copy of Writing the Life Poetic by Sage Cohen. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something at PBW in the past.