A few years back, I was a hobbyist writer, though I have had about two-dozen short stories published. I also wrote three novels, though none of those were published.
In 2016, I decided to re-enroll at college, and largely lost all free time I'd had before. Consequently, I haven't written — seriously written — anything in about 2.5 years. Now that I'm nearing completion of my degree, I want to get back to writing, but I'm finding that I completely forget how to do it.
When I fell off the wagon of writing, I had about 35,000 words done on a horror novel that meets at the intersection of the X-Files, Stranger Things, and 'Salem's Lot. While I never particularly loved the novel, I've been rereading it, and there are parts that are very good in my opinion. I'd like to continue this, but I'm struggling to remember HOW.
I know, I know, it's as simple as putting words on paper… but I feel like I'm unable to find that voice again, I'm unable to tie the various puzzle pieces together as I plot ahead, I'm unable to say anything that doesn't sound like it could be written by my seven year old.
I know that writing is like anything else, and you need to practice for a while in order for it to come back to you. But as I'm staring at this 150-page stack of paper in front of me, I feel like I'm never going to get to a place where I can finish it. Worse, when I think about starting a new project, I am struggling to come up with anything more than stray scenes; I can't find the linking pieces that make a story.
So, I'm sure there are others out there who have taken a long layoff from the craft. If so, how long did it take for it to become instinctual again? And what did you do to push in that direction?