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  • Writer's pictureHolly

If You Fall off the Writing Wagon...

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Just get back on. And I mean, truly just get back on. No need for fanfare. No need for all the beating one's self up. Or analyzing why you fell off. Or explaining to your coach (if you have one). Life happened. Moods occurred. You stopped writing. And now you'll start writing again. Because you choose to. It's that simple.

One of the ways we creatives set ourselves up for failure, is by making such a big hairy deal out of everything. The expectations we put on ourselves require that we be Hemingway every time we sit down to write. Or that we have wide open batches of time, with no one around, and maybe a beach/mountain house in order to write. Or that we're feeling particularly inspired or "in the mood" in order to write. But that's just not realistic. How many writers actually have that life?

If we wait for the perfect moment, the perfect mood, or the perfect inspiration, we may be waiting forever, and that would be a tragedy because, in my opinion, if you're a writer you need to write. Literally.

It's like the Joan Didion quote "I don't know what I think until I write it down". I have found that those that have the tendency to lean towards writing as their chosen form of expression, do so for a reason. It's because it's their best means of processing this crazy world. So the last thing you should do, when you've fallen off your axis, is to take away the thing that helps you process, right when you need it the most. Just get back to it.

It doesn't matter if you're feeling creative right now. Or if you're feeling stuck with the story you're telling. Or if you're wanting to avoid it all. That's just a sign it's time to switch over to journaling for awhile and write about that. Steal 15 minutes out of your day and just rant if you need to. Do a brain dump on the page on all the things that are clogging the system. Clear out the coffers. Flush the engine. Or have a written dialogue with the characters in your story. Allow yourself the gift of written exploration that has no aim other than clarity. And once you've written your way back to that clarity and/or a happy place, you'll find inspiration comes rushing back in. And you'll know just what to do with it, because you kept your writing muscles warm. :)

***Holly Payberg-Torroija is a writer/writing coach and founder of Loving The Process, a coaching program designed to support writers in getting out of their own way, so they can write the stories they were born to write. If you know it's time to finally write that book or script, and are ready to transform your life in order to make that possible, hop on a call with Holly to chat about it. You can book your free consult by clicking here Her next year long program starts up in September. Will you be in it?

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Susan Jizba
Susan Jizba
Aug 19, 2022

So very true Holly! I can totally relate! Many times, I start writing a story or a scene by dumps of ideas and words – bits and phrases from which a story or scene finally starts to emerge after writing pages and pages of unpolished stuff.

I find that the physical process of writing helps the story to emerge. Many times, as you point out, I may not be particularly “inspired” when I start to write. The words come and then more words come. Eventually the beats of the story do too. Thank you for telling it like it is Holly!


This is perfect! I love the image of keeping the writing muscles warm... I see them cozied up in some leg warmers - or arm warmers or a brain warmer... And that Joan Didion quote is one I forget until I start writing and have that ah ha....



Thank you for this pep talk, Holly! I feel seen - actually busted. The avoidance you describe here is what I often do and, truth be told (as you have) it's just self-sabotage. This is a great reminder to not avoid aiming our writer superpower inward to come to our own rescue when need be.

Aug 18, 2022
Replying to

Exactly! "Come to your own rescue". And I'm always here for a pep talk or just a little nudge in that direction.

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