1. sportzchick
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    sportzchick New Member

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    Do others struggle with motivation to write like myself?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sportzchick, Jan 28, 2012.

    Hello,

    I've been studying fiction writing/creative writing seriously for almost eight years. I'm ashamed and disgusted with myself that in all this time, I don't have many finished works to show for it. True, at this time I was finishing up my English degree at university, but I'm disappointed by my lack of motivation to write.

    I know I love to write. I have had those moments where I just wrote and wrote and wrote. It gave me such joy.

    However, I wonder if others struggle to write. I want to write. I'm constantly jotting down story ideas that come to me. I write down lines of dialogue I hear in my head that have no place anywhere. I write down items of conflicts for possible stories. Yet I can't seem to sit down and construct a story. If I do as many writers I've come in contact with say to do and force myself to write, it simply doesn't work. I know some might view this as excuses, but it really won't come. I wind up deleting line after line and eventually give it up in frustration. Then the story idea gets shelved, never to be touched again. Which saddens me because when I thought of it, it gave me such excitement.

    I'm mainly looking for support. I found this forum very recently and could benefit to talk with others in my situation.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Blueflare
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    Blueflare Member

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    Oh yes, I know all about that! I've written snippets of fiction all my life and never properly finished anything.

    So I'm probably not the best person to give advice... but the best advice I've ever got was to write every day. It doesn't even matter if it's no good. Just write. Keep writing and writing and things work out... something to do with monkeys and typewriters.

    Also, don't edit too much as you go. Absolutely no one, not even famous novelists, write a story perfectly the first time. So don't get down about parts of your writing that don't work at the moment. You can revise it later, once you've written more about that character/situation/whatever, and then you'll have a better idea of how to make something work that didn't work before.
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hm, no, I have never experienced that. I mean, I did quit writing for many years because I lost interest in it, but I didn't suffer from that, it was a conscious choice.
     
  4. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    Sounds to me like you've got a nasty little critic who sits on our shoulder when you write and tells you that nothing you do is good enough. Do your writing sessions go something like this:

    You: scribble
    Critic: "No."
    You: cross out
    You: scribble
    Critic: "No."
    You: cross out
    You: scribble
    Critic: "Are you kidding me with this? I thought you wanted to write! Are you telling me this is the best you can do?"
    You: cross out
    You: scribble
    Critic: "You know, maybe the problem isn't the writing... maybe your ideas are just crap. Are you sure you're smart enough to be a writer?"
    You: cross out
    You: scribble
    Critic: "Yes, I see now. Your ideas are crap and you're a bad writer! Just put down the pen and walk away. Yes, that's right. You'll feel better when you aren't sitting here facing your own sad inadequacy."
    You: cross out. sigh. release pen. leave Room.
    Curtain

    Does this sound at all familiar?

    (I've gotta run, but if you say yes I'll come back later to comment some more. In the meantime I'm sure you'll get a lot of helpful comments from others. Welcome!)
     
  5. Daryl
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    Daryl Member

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    oh yes..i recently posted a thread on here about procastination and struggles with writing..and i must say i was overwhelmed with the amount of input and support i got..the advice i took to the most was the "ten minute excercise".i'm really excited about it because it actually gets you to sit down and write and after its over you feel like you've accomplished something..and its basically about just taking ten minutes a day to write..simple as that.. you sit at your computer or desk with pen an pad and write for ten minutes straight..it doesnt matter what you write about just WRITE..it doesn't necessarily have to be a story idea or dialouge, it could be thoughts, or feelings or anything else that's on your mind..when i first did i pretty much just wrote about what i wanted fro myself in terms of writing, where i've been, what i wanted to accomplish etc etc etc etc...just get it out it's a pretty great concept..10 minutes is really all it takes...before you kno it ten is going to turn to fifteen, fifteen to twenty five and so on and so forth..so give it a try...take of the pressure of writing a story and just write thoughts and goals and maybe that may just kickstart something in you to keep writing.

    good luck
     
  6. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I was unfocused before I had my first great story idea. I'd always come up with things I wouldn't follow through on.

    Then one day, I got an idea I couldn't put away. I had to write it now. And I've gotten other ideas since that keep me going. It's like a muse suddenly hitting you over the head with bricks. I don't know. I didn't make it happen, I just kept it going -- so maybe that doesn't help you.

    One thing that might help is to write in a journal every day. There's no pressure to write anything amazing, because it's your journal. You might make some observations or think of stories that give you inspiration.
     
  7. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    I get the same thing. I think the issue isn't one so much of motivation, but of dicipline. You hear a lot (including from people in this thread) that you should just sit down and write every day.
    This is completely true. (Ignore my hypocracy.)

    But I've considered why this is a good approach. The reason came to me watching a friend become a professional artistic designer. Artists are like writers in that they either feel that what they've created is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or the worst thing since the holocaust. My friend was in the second camp. Now, she was an excellent artist, but she always felt she needed to improve, but she never felt like she managed it. Then, she became a professional. Within six months her art quality had drastically improved. The reason was, she was simply drawing every day. Colouring every day. Because she had to. It's her job.

    This I think is where we as amature writers go wrong. We approach writing as a hobby we'd like to turn into a profession. A professional artist has to create art whether inspired or not. But, you have to train your body to do this. This is where the every day exercise comes in. It doesn't need to be writing your novel. (Though that would probably be best.) I think it does however have to be a block of solid writing that is not on the internet. Tweeting, Facebooking and Forum browsing do not help here. (Ignore my hypocracy.)

    Long story short, if you approch your writing as a professional, whereby you have to do it for X amount of time per day, and you don't get to avoid it, you'll probably stop having problems sitting down and writing every day. (I'm going to try to put this to the test myself.)

    Never fear, you're not alone in your troubles.
     
  8. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    I completely and wholeheartedly agree with everything said here. I thought my problem was that I didn't love writing enough. Actually, my problem was that I wasn't disciplined enough to love writing.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But if you're deleting line after line, then you're _writing_ line after line. So you are writing. I think that you need to (1) stop demanding that your writing be good, or even decent, or even not-horrible, and (2) forbid yourself to delete.

    Because it is _possible_ to write, if the only rule is "write anything". I can sit here and write:

    "I'm lying on the couch. There's a rug in front of the door, and it's all shades of red and green and blue. The green matches the couch. The red matches the chaise. We didn't plan that, but it works pretty well. The rug is on a wood floor. The wood floor matches the wood doors. We did plan that. The yellow curtains didn't work out the way we planned."

    Is this good? Entertaining? Creative? Anything decent? No. Not at all. It's just writing, typing on my keyboard and causing words to flow from my brain to the screen. It's no better than a pianist practicing scales. But I didn't delete it; I'm leaving it in this post.

    A pianist _does_ practice scales, right? At least, one who's learning does. He doesn't refuse to practice just because that practice isn't worth recording and publishing as a CD. Practice is worthwhile, even if that specific practice session doesn't produce a product worth keeping.

    So I'd say start by requiring yourself to write every single day, even if the writing is as boring as my paragraph above, even if it's more boring. Just write for X minutes, or Y words, every single day, no matter what, no matter how tired you are, no matter how uninspired you are. Form that habit until it's unbreakable. And then look for the next habit to form or the next skill to develop.

    Me, I also have never finished a work of fiction that satisfies me. Or even one that I consider truly finished, unless you count less-than-one-page vignettes. But I write--on forums, in my blog, in files that I never do anything with, in various informal places. Hundreds or thousands of words come out of my keyboard every day. It's past, well past, time for me to move on to the next habit or the next skill, but I am at least continuing to write.

    So write. Write boring, lousy, banal stuff. Form the habit of making words, any words, flow out of your fingers. Think about the next step later.

    ChickenFreak
     
  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That's what I do to. I have a file called 'misc' where it's filled with nothing but random crap that will never, EVER see light of day. Crap poems I made when I was in the mood, snippets of dialogues and/or actions, notes, etc.

    I guess that's one of the many points out there. You should get into the habit of writing something, anything, and never delete them. Never.
     
  11. twelveninetysix
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    twelveninetysix Member

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    I agree with most of the above. Often it's not that I don't want to write at all, it's that I'm afraid or bored of whatever project I'm working on and convince myself I'm afraid of all writing. I'm not. If I just zone out and force myself to write whatever I want, eventually I'll come back around to whatever it is I wanted to work on.
     
  12. SunnyDays
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    SunnyDays Member

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    Its not all going to come down at once. It's like walking across the world-it's a step by step process. I'd suggest entering a contest (like on this site), of a short story to write in a short amount of time. Then see your writing talents come to life.
     
  13. sportzchick
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    sportzchick New Member

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    Hello,

    Thank you for all the supportive commetns, suggestions, etc.

    With that I shall put some stuff I kept out of my first post.

    I am actually writing every day, as most of you suggested. E-mails, letters to friends, etc. Posts to forums. (Lol.)

    I've also been trying to do better about upkeeping my blog. I never wonder if I'm writing about stuff that's boring, dull or I'm blabbering on too much. As most of you said, it's writing.

    To the person who asked if I do the scribble, criticize, scribble, etc... I don't do that as often anymore. I think my problem is that...I don't feel I'm creative enough. I'll sit there and stare for a long time. What do I make these two characters talk about? I know the conflict about to befall them, but what happens from the time they start talking to the time the problem occurs?
    I'll ask myself, okay, I made my character go into the bathroom to rescue a drunk friend. But why?

    All in all, I suppose you've all reinforced that whether or not I think that forcing my writing doesn't work, I'll have to do it. Word by word or line by line.

    Thanks for all the support. :)
     
  14. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    What you're describing is not necessarily a problem--asking questions of your writing, even "sitting and staring", is part of the process. But if it consistently causes you to question your creativity and subsequently abandon your efforts, you may still be fighting an over-active critic. It's basically what I was referring to in my little dialogue when the "critic" tells me ("you") that I'm not good enough/smart enough--in your words "creative enough"--to be a writer. I've struggled with this for years and am still working to fight it. But I'm getting better at swatting that nasty critic away.

    As most of the other posters have said, just writing is key to combatting the critic. I've found, too, that a simple change in terminology from "writing" to "scribbling" has helped me immeasurably. When I sit down to do first-drafty kind of work I call it "scribbling", and this small change really does free me and allow me to stop questioning and just write. Another thing I've found to be helpful is walking. When I feel stuck, I take what I call "thinky walks" (I know, lame, but whatever works!). Most of the time the answer will come to me as I walk and when I return to my desk I'm ready to continue with the story.

    Good luck to you! :)
     

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