For the month of May, we’re discussing the many ways to get yourself out of a writing rut. Especially after writing over a dozen books, I’ve found that it can eventually feel monotonous and like nothing about this matters at all. Believe me, I know how that feels. I know how awful it feels to be stuck in that place of “does this matter at all?” and I know it can be a struggle to break out of it. That’s why we’re discussing my personal methods, all month long.
Tuesday, we talked about the importance of getting reviewed, to help yourself out of a rut. Today, I want to keep our discussion in the same vein.
Read your old reviews
Of course, this only counts if you’ve actually published or been reviewed on works you wrote a few years back—but really, we’ve been talking as though you’ve written over a dozen works, so this shouldn’t be too hard to do.
Remember the first book you ever published? Go read the reviews on that book. I don’t care how bad you think the book is, or how well it was received in general. I just want you to go read those reviews.
For me, that book is Telekinetic. And yes, as many of you well know, I’m entirely out of love for that book. It has problems. I want to go back and rewrite it, because I love the story but I do not like the way I wrote it. But, I do occasionally go back and read the reviews for Telekinetic.
Because I learn something from them, every time.
I relearn the things people have always loved about my writing, I remember what it was like to be publishing my very first book, and I learn even more things I could be doing to make my writing better now.
And yes, I realize that this advice is extremely similar to what I talked about on Tuesday, but this time, it’s a little different. This time, it’s more about the nostalgia of it.
There’s something extremely telling, about the first work a writer releases. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but the first release is usually the one we’re able to look at constructively, no matter what. So going back and looking at those reviews, the good ones and the bad ones, is a great way to learn something, and to remember what it was like to be in love with writing, like you were back then.
And for those of you who haven’t published yet, but still find yourself in the rut? I highly recommend that you start sending your works out to people, once you’ve finished writing them. Ask them for an honest review. Then, the next time you find yourself in this rut, you can go back and read the things they wrote.
I still have notes like that from Telekinetic as well—and I go back to them every few months, just as a reminder.
Don’t be afraid to be reviewed, and don’t be afraid of the past. Both are things we learn a great deal from.