Any advice for returning to writing after a hiatus?

Do you have any advice for someone who hasn’t written anything for almost two years?

I’ve tried a little in that time away, and played around with little fanfic ideas for the fun of it, but writing original stories has been something I’m out of practice with. And, since I’ve read some of the things I was writing before this unplanned hiatus, I think I could have done it better and I’m not really happy with ideas I started and are waiting for me to return.

I made a poll which I will link here with the three ideas I have been considering trying to return to / start here:

Just wondering if there are any tips of how to find a good starting place for a story to start and introducing the main character naturally, but any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks guys :slight_smile:


Just start honestly. It’s very easy to get inside your own head about things and it’s easy to lose sight of why you write and it should boil down to it being fun. Have fun, be messy. Clean ups and edits can be done when a book is finished. You don’t even have to write the book in chronological order if you want.


I always find it hard to actually start, finding a comfortable place to open the narrative just doesn’t ever really click for me, but yes, I have to remember to leave my perfectionism at the door and just write anything, thanks :smiley:


Yeah, if you have an idea for a story, you can totally skip writing the first chapter and go straight to the exciting parts or write the ending first!


For me I just figure out exactly when the story itself starts (inciting event) and then start writing from one half-step before that

For example:

  • In my story that kicks off when the MC meets with a mysterious figure in a pawn shop, I start the story with the MC sneaking out of their house in order to head to the pawn shop
  • In my story that kicks off when a struggling engineering student’s cursed ex shows up begging for help, the story starts with the student getting ready for/entering the masquerade ball where they run into each other
  • In my story that kicks off when the MC gets broken out of magical-time-travel juvenile detention by their would-be assassin, the story starts with the assassin attacking the MC
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Do or do not. There is no try.


This is something that happened to me where I didn’t write for over a year due to grief/stress/all the things at the time. What helped me was to start an original idea based on the fanfic characters I was already used to writing. The characters in the original IP are minor, and don’t have much background to them so most of what I wrote for them fanfic wise was easy to “convert” to an original story. Actually, easy wouldn’t be the right word lol but it gave me a starting point and I re-wrote a fanfic I had written except it ended up twice as long because I’d thought of new scenes after a few chapters and eventually I started getting my own ideas that veered off from the fanfic.

I also think starting with some of the scenes you’re most excited to write is a good motivator. I’ve been doing this when I start to get stuck/bored or I just need a break in general, or I write one shot fanfics for “breaks.”

Since it sounds like you already had an idea years ago, and started it, and already know what things you’re not happy with, you can start re-writing it (not editing) using that original as a reference. I hate to admit it but the advice to “re-write” after a first draft, not “edit” works for me. I tend to write better and are even able to axe/or think of new scenes as I re-write.

Hope that helps! Good luck! And don’t get too tied up in what “other people” are writing, it’s good to read but don’t let it discourage you.

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Writing drabbles or brain wanderings might be a good way to start. Just dump ideas into a document and see what sticks.

Rereading and editing my own work is a way I bridge those days where writing feels like too much of a chore. Often times while doing so, ideas begin to occur to me, either about the work I’m editing or about something completely new.

Keep a notebook or a journal handy for those brain bursts (usually these happen to me as I’m going to bed and almost always I forget them by morning :/).

Write something you’re passionate about. If the old stories aren’t doing it for you, pursue a new idea. I find that forcing myself to write is the worst idea ever, because the writing shows that I forced myself. Those I end up scrapping or completely revising later, because it doesn’t feel right.

You mentioned perfectionism… I know this feeling, I used to be able to write full chapters in a single sitting and not worry about the editing until much later in the process. I find that harder these days as all those years of “this is how you should write/how mechanics work/how dialogue should flow” make my inner editor a louder voice than my creative one. It leads me to edit pretty much every time I open up the document. Which in turn slows the creative process down tremendously.

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I might try starting at a random point that takes my interest most and building around that! Might help, thanks


Hm, that’s a good way to try and figure out the right amount of buildup for the beginning before the story really hits, to introduce the plot in the first chapter but with enough substance that you can see the world and character before things get too deep, thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

I did kind of consider trying the fanfic au / name swap method, so maybe I can try it.

Thank you for chipping in! Rewriting from the beginning seems like the way to go at this point, it’s a good option since my immersion in those previous stories I used to play around with writing has been broken by my time away.

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Yeah I feel this heavily, and have just noticed the voice for what it was and had to remind myself to have fun with it, that it doesn’t have to be perfect, but it is one thing I struggle with, the reason I stopped writing original stuff which I was still trying to do but life was far too distracting and heavy, but luckily I have been able to write little bits of fanfiction for fun so at least my writing muscle isn’t all the way abandoned, I am just very out of practice with doing anything long and needing the whole story graph of events

Murray does:


Thank you Murray :smiley:

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