1. OurJud
    Offline

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    England

    Beating the 'easier not to write' demons

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by OurJud, Jul 27, 2015.

    It's the same every time I get the itch to write. I'll lie in bed at night, mulling over my ideas, composing great (at least in my head) sentences and opening paragraphs. And then the next day I'll sit down and tap these out into a word document - no pressure, they're just ideas and sentences I like.

    But then something clicks and some part of me decides I've started a novel... or maybe just a short story, and in turn this brings a pressure to write and continue what I started. After this transformation has taken place, I'll sit down at the computer in earnest... and proceed to do ANYTHING except open up the document and start writing; browse this forum, surf the net, make a cup of coffee, pick up a book and pretend I'm reading it for inspiration.

    It's weird, but some part of me gets scared, scared that the words will dry up or that my enthusiasm will fade. I thrive on WANTING to write, more than the actual process itself, and I have a silly fear that if I start writing I will kill that desire.

    Does anyone relate to this in ANY way shape or form? And if so how do you get around it?
     
  2. Stacy C
    Offline

    Stacy C Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2015
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
    Hubardo and OurJud like this.
  3. Link the Writer
    Online

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,208
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    I'm the same way. Though mine's more of 'it feels too similar to xyz', 'I'm not good enough to do this...', 'I make Dan Brown look like Dostoyevsky', etc. What I've done to combat this was to start a writing journal (did that last Saturday). There, I throw in all my brainstorming sessions/world building/ and worries. It's starting to help me, I'm finding out.

    And thank you. Glad I'm not alone on the 'thriving on the WANTING rather than the process' deal. :) Was getting a bit concerned for a while.
     
    OurJud likes this.
  4. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    Jot down your thoughts/ideas as soon as you have them. If most of your ideas come to you while in bed, keep a notebook nearby.

    As far as pressure goes, you have to realize that not everything you write will be publishable. I have written tens of thousands of words that are nothing more than practice. No one else will ever read them, and I'm fine with that. Also, not everything you start has to be finished. I've written several unfinished pieces. Hell, the great writer Franz Kafka is known for his unfinished pieces!

    My advice is to work your way up. Build your confidence. Start with very short fiction. A flash fiction piece, for example, can be as short as 100 words. Again, the first thing you write doesn't have to be publishable. At this stage, you're just trying to get into the habit to starting and finishing projects, no matter how small they are.

    Finally, if the internet is distracting, either don't connect to the internet at all or start writing using pen and paper. At the end of the day, writing takes discipline, so that's something you'll have to work on sooner or later.
     
    OurJud and Link the Writer like this.
  5. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,821
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I think procrastination and fear is worse for writer's than bad writing. At least with bad writing you have something down on paper to work with but with procrastination and fear there's usually nothing to work with.
    I battle it big time, starting things and not continuing them. Keeping it open ended so I can justify that it's not a failure because it's not done. Trouble is when I go back and read these pieces I get disappointed that I didn't finish them.
    There is no way around it that I know of except make writing a habit. I read somewhere you only need twenty days to make something a habit.
     
  6. Link the Writer
    Online

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,208
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    Yeah. It's better to have a really atrocious first draft than nothing at all. If anything else, you've got something to show the world and say, "I did this! May not be much, but I did this!"
     
  7. OurJud
    Offline

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    England
    Thanks for all the advice, people.

    After posting this I at least proved one thing to myself, and that is if I can just get over that initial procrastinating and somehow squeeze out a single, coherent sentence, the words will start to flow (at least they did on this occasion). I managed to add precisely 520 words to my current story.

    I think it helps to approach writing in much the same way Ross advices Chandler to approach his impending wedding, after Chandler gets cold feet. Just one step at a time. Go home and take a shower - that's not difficult, is it? And then put on a tuxedo... anyone can do that.

    In the same way I started by doing nothing more than opening the document. Simple. And then I wrote a sentence. Easy.

    This kick started my imagination and I was able to run off 520 words.

    Of course, tomorrow, I'll sit in front of my PC again, thinking up excuses not to write :rolleyes:
     
  8. Bryan Romer
    Offline

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    381
    I think of my writing as a job. Admittedly a job I enjoy, but still a job. Just as there is no question whether I will churn out a report when required by an employer, I churn out my novels because that is what I do. I don't see not writing as an option.
     
  9. Greenwood
    Offline

    Greenwood Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    121
    Location:
    Banished to the Void
    Interesting! Could you elaborate a bit further on this mindset?

    I'm terribly guilty of being a "sporadic" writer. Can be mindblocked for days (or even weeks), depending on how busy I am with my dayjob. More often than not, I'm mentally exhausted when I finally get home, and instead of frantically beginning to put all the ideas I get during the daytime on paper, I often find myself staring at the pages, or switching to watching a show. Afterwards, I feel like I let myself down.

    For instance, did you always have this mindset? Do you approach the writing process different than before? Does it take out the fun of writing as a hobby in the long run?
     
  10. aguywhotypes
    Offline

    aguywhotypes Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Millersburg, Ohio, United States
    All this time. My parents told me I was an only child. I think you (OP) might be my long lost twin. LOL

    I am that exactly. I enjoy WANTING to write a lot more than actual writing.
     
    Link the Writer likes this.
  11. General Daedalus
    Offline

    General Daedalus Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2015
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    45
    It's exactly the same for me, I've been writing my novel for just over a week now and I'm only just getting up to 20000 words. I feel like I need to write more, the 100000-word quota hanging over my head.
     
  12. Hubardo
    Offline

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    566
    My problem is that I am actually very busy, but I use this as an excuse not to write. Over the last year I have only written, and read fiction, during breaks from school. I'm in a program with a quarter system that has three week breaks. Last break I wrote a short story for one of the contests on this website and it actually won. I'm trying to let this be a message to my inner writer that it needs to stay kindled, that I need to make time every day. In my spare time I usually unwind with video games or TV shows / movies, but I want to shift into fiction reading more because it always inspires me to write. Also, I want to get disciplined as my girlfriend is about a WIP. She works on hers every morning -- an average of 1k-1.5k words after she wakes up and eats. She doesn't create excuses of "but I have to be at work soon" or "I'm too tired after work." My problem is that I constantly create excuses for myself. I know I am write relatively well when I work at it, plus I am very open to getting better, and I feel like those two things can really benefit me in pushing forward. Like everyone else it seems like a will issue. One of my goals right now is to overcome that when school is in session.
     
  13. OurJud
    Offline

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    England
    If you've typed that correctly (as in twenty-thousand, as opposed to two-thousand) then I think you'll find that's probably above and beyond the word-count of your average writer.

    20,000 words in one week, equates to 100,000 words in 5 weeks. If you think 100,000 words in five weeks is slow, then I have MAJOR problems.
     
  14. General Daedalus
    Offline

    General Daedalus Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2015
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    45
    Overall it's definitely a lot, I'm just thinking in terms of my own time- I'm off school until September when I go back in Sixth Form, so I've spent pretty much 18 hours a day for the past week writing my novel. I hope to have it finished by the time I return. I have performed extensive edits on it as well, though, so I am working pretty fast, all in all.
     
  15. Sack-a-Doo!
    Offline

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    I read somewhere that a writer doesn't want to write; he wants to have written. :)

    I think it applies to most of us.
     
    Tesoro likes this.
  16. Sack-a-Doo!
    Offline

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    But the only way I've ever defeated those Turn-on-the-TV demons was to set a specific time to start and a specific amount of time to sit there writing. It's not you vs. the blank page, it's demons vs. discipline.
     
    OurJud likes this.
  17. OurJud
    Offline

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    England
    18 minutes a day is good for me!

    I don't think you have any problems in terms of putting in the work.
     
  18. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    1,714
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    I'm the same way! But I've found that getting into a routine has truly helped me.

    I wake up. Send my husband off to work. Make coffee, smoke my cigarette, check Facebook/WF.. Then I'm off to work writing. I don't use a computer to write because it's too distracting for me. So I just grab a notebook and sit on the couch. Depending on the day, I can work for two to four hours at a time. As soon as I start to get stuck, I quit. I don't want to force it. Then the next day, I start where I left off and the block is basically gone.

    I think the key for me though is knowing when I feel most creative. In the morning, after I've woken up some, and at night. But at night, I'm distracted by TV shows. And in the morning, everyone is either gone or asleep, so I get that good quiet time.

    I've only written a few paragraphs in my current WIP due to a medical issue. But I'm hopping back on my writing train tomorrow going full speed ahead! B)
     
    Sack-a-Doo! likes this.
  19. OurJud
    Offline

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    England
    I've thought about this, but knowing I'd have to sit and transfer everything I've already written down, onto the PC all over again, always sends me to the PC from the start. Why write twice what you only need to write once? At least that's my logic.
     
    Sack-a-Doo! and Link the Writer like this.
  20. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,612
    Likes Received:
    1,714
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    It's definitely strange to a lot of people. But I don't see the transfer as writing the same thing twice. I consider it my first real edit, because my sentences and structures rarely stay the same. When I hand write it, it's a rough, rough draft. While transferring, I'm able to polish it up and make it smoother.

    That's how I look at it anyway. :)
     
    OurJud likes this.
  21. OurJud
    Offline

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    England
    Yes, that's a very fair point. I've never looked at it that way.
     
  22. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    Amen! :p:rolleyes:

    To the OP: If you enjoy thinking about writing and composing sentences in your head and dream up stories, then why shouldn't you continue doing that? I don't see any harm in that at all, in fact it sounds pretty awesome. It's like writing, minus all the negative things about it :p I'd say if the actual writing gives you headache, then by all means keep doing what you do.
     
    Sack-a-Doo! likes this.
  23. OurJud
    Offline

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    England
    I know what you're saying, Tesoro, but that would drive me mad. I have to get this stuff down, even if I don't have the discipline to develop it.

    I think people are starting to presume I hate writing, but nothing could be further from the truth. During the (all too brief) times when my writing is flowing, and I'm impressing and surprising myself with the quality of my sentences, there's no better feeling. It's just when enthusiasm and inspiration dry up that I hate it.

    More than anything, I hate myself for not trying harder.
     
  24. AspiringNovelist
    Offline

    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2015
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    I read your post a number of times in an effort to relate to my own similar feelings. And, although, I don't share your issues with writing, I do with public speaking -- the pressure, the anxiety kills me.

    It's called avoidance, or more appropriately avoidance coping -- you could research this on the net.

    How to overcome it?

    Well, with public speaking, I have no choice, I have to do it. Thus all that effort and time and worry was all for naught -- I wasted my time and accomplished nothing.

    With writing, it's a similar process -- Don't worry about all the steps, just start with the first logical step. You'd be surprised how that first logical step will lead you to a second step, a third... So, the next time you feel that urge to write, sit down and write your first sentence (don't edit it or try to achieve that killer opening line), just write it. Then if you feel yourself wanting to suddenly "rearrange the insulation in your attic for the fun of it" (stop) think -- "Okay, what did that first line make me think of, what's the next logical step."

    Also, as a side note, quick outlines might really help you stay at that desk..I'm going to take a hero idea and present it as a real world situation over the last 60 years...

    1. MC (hero) saves world from a great evil (US helps save world from Hitler, 1945),
    2. MC (hero) savors his spot in the sun for years,
    3. MC (hero) once grand stature begins to wane. (People feel safe, and listened to Tina Turner's we don't need another hero..),
    4. MC (hero) in an effort to rebound, makes several bad choices (other wars, 1960)
    4a..TWIST, the MC (hero)'s bad choices makes/creates a whole host of new enemies (1990, Bin Laden),
    5. One enemy comes to forefront and a) attacks MC (hero), or b) places MC (hero) in a terrible predicament,
    6. Other characters divide and fall in line behind MC (hero) and the new great evil,
    7. MC (Hero) fights off new great evil (present day)..

    That's my little secret I use to come up with tales...Then, I ponder for a day or two, revisit, then fill in with 1a, 1b, 1c. etc. < -- these become compelling fillers.
     
    OurJud likes this.
  25. OurJud
    Offline

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    England
    It's a little strange to learn what I have is an actual 'condition', but probably helpful in the long run.

    I already established (as stated in my second post) that if I can just get beyond that initial bout of 'avoidance' the words will, more often than not, start flowing, if only for a short time. What I fail to understand, then, is that if I know this, why can't I keep on applying it?

    Anyway, thanks for those tips. I shall give them serious consideration.
     

Share This Page