There are a lot of things in life that can be compared to riding a bicycle. Not actually riding it, but getting back onto one after weeks or months or years. You may be shaky at first, but you never really forget how to do it. Writing is like riding a bicycle.
The words are always locked inside your head, the stories are always a part of your imagination, and whether you’re aware of it or not, you have a city filled with characters just waiting for their chance to tell their story. No matter how long you stay away from the computer or your notebooks or the scraps of paper you use to record your stories, they’ll always come back to you if you sit down and listen.
It just might take a while.
Nathan Bransford, agent turned middle-grade author, posted about coming back from a break on his blog yesterday. He gives writers six guidelines for getting through the initial return to writing:
1) Know that your first day back will not be productive
2) Don’t head straight for the novel
3) Badger yourself into opening up your novel and getting started again even if it feels like you are peeling off your own skin.
4) Start somewhere easy
5) Don’t get down on yourself
6) Follow up with a good day of writing
Whether or not these apply to every person or every situation, they’re still good, solid pieces of advice. Nathan goes into more detail than this on each point in his post, but you still get the main idea from his headlines. Having “returned” a few times in the past few years, I can tell you that this is pretty accurate to what you’ll face when you try to get back on the ball. Most of the time. There are exceptions, of course. Usually those exceptions involve huge bursts of inspiration, but don’t hold out for one of those. If you’re determined, just start writing. The rest will come.