Returning to Writing: Overcoming the Hiatus

It's not easy coming back, until you do.

Katie Odom

5/30/20244 min read

Acknowledging the Hiatus

It's been a while since my last blog post, and I want to take a moment to acknowledge that. Life has been busy, and there have been many reasons why I haven't been able to write. Since January, one major reason not to write is that Mike and I started trying to make a baby and succeeded! That was exciting, and it felt like an accomplishment to try and make one and do it than just making one would have felt, I think.

In case you were wondering, we made a girl! Name suggestions and horror stories are welcome in the comments below. Even before we started trying, thinking about starting a family took up some introspection I might have otherwise spent in writing, and it starts reordering priorities whether you mean for it to or not. Looking back now, though, I think it would have helped process things to write through that period instead of use it as an excuse not to write.

Additionally, work has been demanding, and any free time feels like it should be hoarded for idle play, like mobile games, T.V., or reading, just because I don't imagine I'll get to do that guilt-free in the future (not that it's guilt free now; I imagine the guilt being greater when I have a kid, which minimizes the guilt I feel now). The problem is that it's so easy not to write, to imagine there's no time or space for it.

The Challenge of Returning

But maybe a part of it is the fear I've felt all along that I was an imposter as a writer, no one wants to read what I have to write. So, why bother when I can focus on other things I ought to be doing, like using the last months of peace and quiet in my home to research what stuff I should do and buy for an infant or binge-read the entire Skyward Saga by Brandon Sanderson?

So, what does it take to come back from a writing hiatus? The answer is simple: sit down and write. Sometimes, the hardest part is starting. It's easy to get caught up in the excuses and reasons why we haven't been writing. But the truth is, the only way to overcome the hiatus is to take that first step and put pen to paper, or in this case, fingers to keyboard. It's essential to remember that writing is like any other skill—it requires practice and consistency. Just because I've taken a break doesn't mean I've lost the ability to write.

Rekindling the Writing Flame

To reignite the writing flame, I got together with my friend from Women Who Write Louisville, Alisa. We get together most weekends at Panera and say we'll try to work on something - blogs, novels, or in her case, notes from her social work cases. But instead we almost always just catch up and then talk about whatever pops into our heads, never committing anything to paper.

This time, we tried making an editorial plan. Alisa introduced me to the concept of time blocking - look it up! I scheduled when to release this post, and blocked out two writing sessions leading up to the release date I picked to make sure I gave myself plenty of time to write and review. Alisa said when we hugged goodbye she'd text me to see if I really did it, so I guess that's part of why I actually sat down and did this in the time I said I would.

I planned what to write in advance, that helped me get started today. I tried not to schedule too much since I worried I'd feel too overwhelmed to get started if I had more than one blog post a month planned. Now I'm thinking, maybe two forty-five minute writing sessions for one blog post per month is too much. Is it? I guess I'll find out with more data that I can only get by sitting down and writing. I also scheduled blocks to work on a novel idea, and in total I want to write four times a week at least 45 minutes at a time. If I finish a blog post ahead of schedule, I could always work on that.

I'm trying to be patient with myself. Returning to writing after a hiatus is a process, and it may take time to regain belief in myself that my writing goals are doable and I'll do what I set out to do. I think seeing myself making progress and getting small wins that add up will restore my confidence as a writer, dare I say my identity as a writer. I'm going to embrace the journey and see where it takes me this time.

In conclusion, coming back from a writing hiatus may seem intimidating, but it all starts with sitting down and writing. Acknowledge the reasons for the break, establish a routine, start small, find a supportive community, and be patient with yourself. With time and dedication, the words will flow once again. At least, that's what I'm telling myself. Maybe it'll work, and I hope it could work for you too, if you're in a similar spot.

Until next time, happy writing!