How to Return to Writing After a Long Hiatus

Diane Callahan
7 min readAug 23, 2022
Image of a typewriter beside the text, “WRITING AFTER A HIATUS”

Getting back into writing can be daunting. Life happens, and sometimes a writer can go for years — even decades — without creating anything of note. After not penning a word of fiction for over a decade, author Jordan Riley Swan decided to come back to writing with a bang, publishing numerous novels every year under the Story Garden Publishing banner.

In this tell-all, he shares his tips for reviving that creative spark.

1. Don’t Let Regret Stop You

“In high school, I remember doing a cooperative story with somebody, and their writing was so quantum leaps ahead of my own that it literally shook me to the point where I didn’t want to write anymore. It intimidated me. I thought, I’ll never be that good.

So, through my teenage years, even though I really wanted to write, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it because I knew I would never be as good as this person who was in freaking high school with me. It was probably a good seven years before I finally decided to write something, and what I wrote was inspired by a role-playing game I was playing with some friends.

The book was absolute garbage.

It was the worst kind of D&D fan fiction crap. But it had the one thing that every novelist needs to have, at least in my mind. To be a novelist, the words ‘The End’ need to appear on the final page of your manuscript. You might spend the rest of your life revising it, but if you get to that point, you’ve written a novel and earned the title of ‘novelist.’

Even though I’d lost seven years that I could’ve been using to improve my craft, I still got back on that horse, and that’s what matters. Worrying about what other people have accomplished isn’t going to help you accomplish anything.”

2. It Only Takes One Sentence to Start

“In my twenties, I wanted to continue writing. I quit my job and moved back home. I figured that running my own business would give me the time and energy to write on the side. I ended up getting involved in eBay, which started my antiques career, and that swallowed up my life for about fifteen years. During that time, I didn’t do any writing whatsoever. I didn’t write a single word.