1. The Elder One
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    The Elder One Member

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    Do you have to be in the mood to write properly?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The Elder One, Sep 29, 2016.

    I am terrible when it comes to consistency for writing.

    My project is a retro spy novel set in the 60s, and I find that some times I just can't focus on it, for example, I have been writing normally every day, when suddenly I became interested in biker culture, started reading on it, watching videos of motorcycle clubs and gangs, Harley Davidson models, all unrelated stuff I can't even lie to myself saying I'm doing research for it. And the worst thing is, when the time comes to start writing, the plot and the ideas to continue are there, but I feel like I'm forcing myself and not enjoying it.

    So now, should I try to focus or just wait for my interest in unrelated things go away and come back to it then? Does anyone ever experience this sort of thing?
     
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  2. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    I consider writing every day to be tosh as a rule. It's not the gold standard, because there is no gold standard. If you, like me, don't respond to such deadlines at all, and only produce trash when it's forced, then my advice would be to simply not bother forcing it. Let the writing ebb and flow. As long as you do actually get something down, you're doing everything right.
     
  3. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is definitely different from person to person. And sometimes it's different from project to project. Often, when I have a story I've started, I can keep pretty consistent with it. Whether I'm "feeling it" or not, I can typically stick to a daily word quota and be good with it. It's often when I'm between projects that I need to "feel it" to get something going. I guess for me it's about momentum.

    Obviously forcing yourself to write might not be productive. But there's also a level of discipline involved--sometimes you do have to get words on the page. They don't always have to be good words--that's what editing is for--but if you constantly succumb to distractions and use "I'm not feeling it" as an excuse, you run the risk of never finishing anything.

    Sometimes you truly aren't feeling it. Sometimes you're just procrastinating. Sometimes you need a break, while sometimes you need a kick in the rear. It all depends on your process and your current project. But you can't finish a project if you don't have the discipline to put words on the page. How long you're willing to let the project take? That's up to you and what your goals are as a writer.
     
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  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm one of those writers that doesn't feel like writing until I'm actually writing. Meaning I don't get into a groove and write ... I have to write to get into the groove. Usually it just takes a paragraph or so till I'm immersed in the scene and can keep writing. But for every writer it's different. I've ditched projects I wasn't feeling. I've even jumped from one project to another. Last September I had started a novel and in March I jumped ship to briefly jot down some notes on a project and now I'm wrapped up in that project and my half-a-novel is waiting my return.

    You could force yourself to write a couple of pages and see how it goes. You could even write out of sequence ... sometimes that helps - write an exciting scene to jump
    start your creative juices, or you could set this project aside and move onto something else. Your call. Remember when you set stuff aside it doesn't mean it's gone for
    good you can always go back to it.
     
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  5. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's definitely different for everyone. I try to lash myself to some basic weekly writing requirements and focus on one thing at a time when possible. That said, it's almost impossible for me to write when I'm overly stressed - even if I've set aside time, calming down from stress enough to focus is hard - and on a few occasions the main project has stalled, and I've had to keep my creative momentum going by focussing temporarily on a side project.

    You should be having fun - but on the other hand I think there is some virtue in forcing yourself to write when it's not fun. Personally, my attitude is that what would be really fun is having a finished novel, and that means I have to finish it, which means that I sometimes have to write when I'm not feeling it. That's the thing about any craft - practice takes time, and you have to be committed to doing it when you don't want to so that you get better.

    But - if you're really not feeling it and not able to focus on it - maybe take some time to assess it or even take a break. In my case taking a month long break from my WIP at one point actually helped, because I started missing it and came back with a second wind, a better plan, and more commitment (I also didn't stop writing during that time, I wrote something else). But that's an individual decision - if you're worried that you might put it down and not come back to it, don't put it down.
     
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  6. TheWriteWitch
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    TheWriteWitch Senior Member

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    Nooooooooo! That is how it feels for me too and now all my usual excuses for procrastinating (including checking out the forums here) won't hold up. I may actually have to go and work on my deadline. . . argh.
     
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  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I used to be that way. Of course, if you're serious about writing you have to treat it more like a job, which means you do it even when you're not in the mood. It's still difficult at times, but I've found that if I make myself write when I'm not in the mood, the mood comes on in about fifteen minutes or so and then the writing starts to flow as well.
     
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  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It's easier for me to set time aside to write (or research or other writing-related activities) now that I'm retired. When my wife retires, that will require some realignments but still shouldn't be a problem. But back when I was working and my children were still young and I had to shoehorn writing into whatever time I could make for it, I wrote when I had the time. And the relief to be away from the other demands of life meant I was almost always in the mood for it.
     
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  9. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    Regarding your question: I do. I DO. But to be fair and honest, it depends on the person, don't you think?

    I wish I could say I'm a disciplined writer. No way that's happening. I've been waiting for that all my life.

    Here's something I wonder about. Is it up to the individual to provide her own 'mood'? Would it be right to blame someone else because you can't write? Don't think so.

    Just sayin'. :)
     
  10. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    Hey, and I'm not saying you said that! Not by any means. I've just recently heard different excuses why people can't write & another person or group of people should not be that excuse, imo. Reasons are good. Excuses, not so much.

    Please understand I'm not referring to you, @The Elder One . Just thinking out loud!
     
  11. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    This is exactly why I'm so nervous about interacting through replies & comments. Very worried I'll say the wrong thing!
     
  12. yellowducky
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    yellowducky Banned

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    YES
     
  13. Albeit
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    Do you have to be in the mood to write properly?

    Don't know if I am writing "properly" until I edit. So I write quite a bit of gibberish in hopes that I will cough one up from time to time.

    So I write every night and hope for good stuff in the light of the morning edit.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016

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