I'm not going to lie - sometimes, it's hard to get into (or get back into) the groove with writing. Recently, I came down with a cold and had to take some time off writing and anything that wasn't my regular 9-5, reading in bed, or sleeping. Then, thankfully, I recovered. But it was difficult to get back to my novel. I felt like I'd lost something while I was sick. Maybe it was motivation, maybe inspiration, but most likely it was my routine. So, I had to search for ways to get myself back into it.

Truthfully, I don't believe that inspiration just hits you - you have to create it for yourself. To put it simply: don't wait for the muse, hunt her down. After my two-week break, it was time to get back to writing. So, I went in search for my muse. Here's how you can do that too:

Put together a Visual Pitch Deck/Mood Board

A pitch deck or a mood board is a collection of images that represent your story. They can contain images from objects in a scene or that are meaningful to your character(s), a landscape from a scene in your novel, or a character aesthetic. I highly recommend Pinterest for this, it's a great tool for building mood boards.

Use this collection of images to set the tone and feel of the novel and visually bring you back into the story after taking a break. We're not machines; We can't just turn creativity on and off. Visuals help make the story come alive for us.

Create a Playlist

Use music to inspire you. Put together a list of songs that remind you of your novel. These songs can be from the time your book is set in, or have lyrics about the relationships in your novel, or instrumental music that has the same feel as the emotions in significant scenes throughout your story. Anything that puts you in the moment or mindset to keep working on that book. When I need to reference music to put me back into the writing mood, I play the playlist I put together on Spotify.

Gather a Reading/Research Stack

Every author should have a research stack. Whether it's to study genre, tone, description, or any number of things you admire about a writer and their work that you'd like to mimic and make your own. We all have a stack. What books are you reading to use for research? Stack 'em up and set them on your writing desk next to you. They'll prove to be an excellent source of inspiration to get you back into writing your novel.

Write a Synopsis or Book Jacket Description

What is your book about? By telling yourself the story and cutting it down to a quick synopsis, you can inspire yourself to get back to writing it. When you tell yourself the story, you remind yourself why you loved it in the first place and felt compelled to write it. This will likely renew your passion and make you fall in love with it all over again. And a synopsis or description asks you to discuss what's unique or awesome about your book over any others. By reminding yourself what makes the idea great, you may be surprised to find you want to get back to it. You're essentially talking up your own book to yourself.

Try a Writing Exercise

Maybe there's something in the scene or chapter, where you got stuck, that isn't working for you. Try a totally different method of writing. The next time you sit down to write the scene, try a shift in POV, change up the focus and try playing with senses to describe the setting, or mess around with voice. During drafting, you can go off the rails and not worry about consistency. Just do whatever you want to have fun with it and complete your draft. Writing your book shouldn't be boring. If it is, it'll show and the reader will know.

All of these things can inspire you to get back to the page. But, that's not the only reason to try these. Almost all of these suggestions can be used during the querying process when your book is done, so hold onto them! All literary agents ask for the synopsis or book jacket description to understand what the book is about. But some agents even ask for a visual "mood" or tone of the book and a music playlist that gives them a "feel" for the book they're about to get into. With these items already prepared, it's easier and less time-consuming to complete customized queries. And just like with resumes during a job search, it's a best practice to customize your query for every agent.

For more advice on the writing process or writing prompts to help you keep on keepin' on, keep following my blog for new posts every month. Happy writing!

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