Getting Rusty

So it's been a couple months since I have done any sort of writing apart from essays about analyzing ancient poems and I feel as If I can't return to the fiction web serial that I used to write on due to feeling like I won't be up to par to what I used to be writing (however meager skill that was) and be rusty. What should I do? Should I give up on it, start a new story, or perhaps write without posting? Or maybe go back and rewrite it?

Depends on what you expect and demand from both yourself and your writing, I'd say.

If you only want to write so you can hone your skills and get better at it then it doesn't really matter and the only thing to keep in mind is how much it motivates you.

If you want to just tell this one story...then you should obviously get back to it.

Personally I'd just rewrite the last chunk of the WebSerial to get back into writing habits and then just keep going. Treat it as a hiatus, not a failure.

For me having a WebSerial means I have a weekly deadline I can't fiddle with. I have to produce something and I have one steady project I can work on that I mainly expect to keep me sane while I finish University. One that also provides me an opportunity to get better at writing. So writing something, anything, on the WebSerial is more important to me than the absolute quality of it or even a sense of completion. It motivates me to keep going and not reneg with myself.

So the real question isn't what we'd recommend but rather if you think you can "pull through" with a new story? Or if the old story just stresses you out? What do you gain by starting from scratch? I think that starting over is generally more hassle than making something work that you already know inside out - as long as that story isn't broken by it's own premise.

I personally don't post anything that I'm not satisfied with in terms of quality. I also don't start posting unless I decide that I'm going to finish a project, because it would be unfair to the readers.

Nobody can really tell you what would be best in your situation, but basically, write what you want to write, whatever gets the words flowing again. You may or may not want to post the resulting work, depending on what it is, how good you feel it is, and if it's a project you'll want to finish and show the world.

Good advice above.

An important thing is never to give up on a project. You've already started a work and those words are your own. It never hurts to finish it up or at least get it to a good conclusion point before you move on to something else. Every finished work you have in your portfolio of writing, the more confident you will be in the future. Leaving projects unfinished can haunt you later on.

You wrote the work before, you can continue to write it again, no matter how much time has gone by. They are your thoughts and your words in your voice. That voice may have changed since you last worked on it, but it's still yours.

An idea would be to go back and read the full amount of work you produced before. Maybe bring along a notepad to mark down things you liked in your old voice and things you think you need to fix. Then sit down with a dreadfully blank screen and start writing again. You don't have to jump right into the work you did before. The idea is to write something new.

Try working on a short story. Maybe you could write a short story that is tied into your old work. Maybe you just want to work on something completely different. The goal is to give yourself freedom to explore new ideas and try out your new voice. This story could be as short as a flash fiction, or as long as a novella; whatever you have time for. A good idea would to be to push yourself to at least 2,000-6,000 words. This is like a strong but easy workout after not being in shape for a while. Let your mind run free.

Once you've written this side story, take a weekend off to relax. Come back and read your new work with a notepad beside you, once again. See in the work any changes in your voice between your old work and your new work. If there isn't much change, you don't need to worry. If there's been a lot of change, acknowledge where you've become better or where you've let yourself get 'rusty.'

If you find yourself being self-conscious about your work, try another short story, this time more like the last work you did (your serial). If you find yourself with a better voice, don't put yourself down. You're still a writer and always will be. Writing is like riding a bike, all you have to do is stretch your legs and you'll get used to it once more. Never give up.

You might find yourself wanting to grow the project you had before, that is when you can do a revision or a re-write to make the story more in line with your current voice using the notes and familiarity you built with the writing exercise above. You might not have to do it though, because your voice may still be the same. If you truly are having a hard time and feel a lot of rust, don't change what came before, but push yourself to catch up with more writing exercises. I doubt the last one will happen. You'll probably find that with all the ancient poetry you've analyzed, your writing has grown.

Best of luck on your work. Never give up. You're a writer no matter what. Don't be afraid to push yourself. Don't get lost in the "what was" or "what could have beens."

Alright, thanks for the input guys I will definitely put some thought into what I want to do!

My personal advice: give yourself permission to fail.

It runs counter to many of us to think that way, but it's true. If you obsess over perfection, you'll fail, full stop, no exceptions, because perfection is impossible. It's a mathematical fact. So just accept that what you're writing cannot and will not ever be perfect, and that's okay.

It wasn't until I accepted that reality that I broke through the writer's block. And after doing that, I managed to write like a million words in a year. That is not an exaggeration. The first 800k or so of them were done in seven months.