1. Darkthought
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    Darkthought Active Member

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    How do i get started again?

    Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by Darkthought, Sep 1, 2015.

    I've been a member of this forum for close to eight years now. I used to spend hours here and in my word processor writing. Even when I was in class I would write. I wrote until my hands hurt. I wrote like the words were going to disappear. Then, one day, they did.
    I'm not sure why or how it happened, but it seemed like the words just dried up and blew away. I found that no matter how hard I tried, even after hours of staring at screen or a page, I could not make the words happen. So I stopped for years.
    Now, years later and well into adulthood, I long for it. Have any of you had a similar experience? Were you able to overcome it and write once more? If so, how?
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I had a year where I wrote very little. I'm not sure what happened. It was about three or four years ago - oddly enough my cure was to join this site.

    I had come to a point in my writing where I needed to talk to authors, get and give some feedback and start holding myself accountable for my creative time spent. It really did the trick. The first two weeks I had to wait to post something and I didn't want to post any of the crap I was working on. Starting with one small vision that I thought I could never turn into a story - I just started writing. My focus was more on getting something done than how amazing the story could be. Just pantsing. No plotting, no figuring things out just letting it flow. That lack-of focus helped steer me away from doubt about plot points and rather focused on dumb manageable things like - is this comma right? Total first draft ( story-wise ) mentality. That really helped. Since then I've kept up my writing partly because it's fun again. I like to post and share and read other people's work.
     
  3. Indigo Sugar
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    Indigo Sugar Member

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    Well first of all, welcome back Darkthought!

    Have you had any inspiration come to you since coming back to the forum? Or even since making this post?

    I am very new to the writing world. Other then the journals I've kept since I was young, and the few stories I wrote through out high school. I haven't really produced much. Is it the ideas that aren't flowing? Or are you staring at a blank page with not even a wonder of where to start? Sometimes the first step to breaking out of a slump is to just start. Right now. Right here. Write.

    It doesn't have to be a story, it doesn't even have to make sense. Just start working the brain juice again. Maybe take part in the Role Playing section on here. Write about not being able to write? Get it out of your system, whatever the trigger was for your words disappearing forget about it. Focus on now, on getting back into something you love.

    Perhaps you'll write nothing for the first few days, but you'll get back into it. Look at the world around you, there is inspiration everywhere if we choose to see it.

    If you're longing for it, its in there. Just don't give up. We're all here for you :)
     
  4. kenver
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    kenver Member

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    If your motive is to create things, you could re-frame the acts of reading and writing by studying literary theory and literary theory-ish stuff. I suggest the following books:

    1. Failure, a Writer's Life by Joe Milutis
    2. A Samuel Beckett Novel, or three.
    3. Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy by Manuel DeLanda
    4. An Introductory Guide to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture by John Storey
    5. Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson

    And the following Youtube videos:

    1. Introduction to the Theory of Literature with Paul H. Fry
    2. Deleuze on Cinema
    3. Rob Ager's The Ludovico Lie
    4. John Berger's Ways of Seeing
    5. Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle, part 3 in particular
     
  5. Aerisfullofwhimsy
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    Aerisfullofwhimsy Member

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    I had a time when I stopped. I had gotten terribly discouraged as a young adult, then things got in the way, and some pretty faces distracted me, etc. The terrible part is wanted to write, needed to, like when you need to breathe and and you gasp for air, but I didn't. Instead of physically dying (or did I? I could be under your bed. I maybe a figure in a white sheet in your hallway, but not the "I-hate-people-I don't-understand-" sort of white sheet. Rest easy.) , instead of physically dying, the fluidic creative space part of me felt like it was dying. I'm not one of those of people that think that if you miss a few days of writing, it can impair that ability forever. However, it helps to do it everyday. I got back into the swing of things gradually. First, I wrote a small and creative hate letter to an in law, sort of a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" type of thing for me. Then I started writing short terrible parodies of Nicholas Sparks works involving stray and pedigree cats to a friend on Facebook. This helped a lot, as silly as it sounds. Then I flipped through 50 Shades of Grey and I knew then, it was time to come back. Start small, a paragraph a day, two maybe. You feel the need to write more as you get immersed more and more, day after day. You can do this, I promise :)
     
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  6. JustinCupcake
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    JustinCupcake Member

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    Welcome back, you still have a gift for words, you can tell in your post. I think everyone goes through that at some page. For me I wrote everyday from age 12 to 24 and then stopped for nearly ten years. We make excuses, we get busy we have other things to do. Than I asked myself: How many of those "busy days" were spent in front of the TV or any other thing that didn't feel productive. We get complacent in laziness. I got tired of watching bad stories unfold on TV and reminded myself I could do better, I started up again honestly... by picking up a book and reading I realized that in all those years i read maybe only a handful of books. In the years I spent writing on the other hand. I would read one or two books a week! I recommend one way to help break the cycle is by reading! and falling in love with the craft by observing it from someone else's perspective, you will start going "Oh you could have written it this way that way ect." And write write write it doesn't matter if its good or not just do it eventually it will feel second nature again. You got this!
     
  7. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds exactly like me... hopefully you don't follow the same pattern. If you do, you will write frantically for a period while the bug is in you, but then enthusiasm and ability will peter out before you finish anything, and you'll stop writing for years until you get infected again. This pattern will continue and you'll never produce anything of worth. Creative writing is a horrid disease with no known cure.

    But, hey, look on the bright side. You're not me.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I certainly have. I used to write A LOT in my teens and early twenties. Then something happened, very much like what you describe and I just ... stopped. It didn't appeal to me any longer.
    I spent at least 10 years not writing, until one day in june 2010. It was a combination of living in a place with no tv, no internet and very little to do in the evenings when I came home from work. That in combination with a book I read sparked something inside of me and I decided that I wanted to write for others, not just myself anymore. That made the whole journey so much more... meaningful, I guess. It suddenly felt like I had a purpose with it, which I didn't have before. I haven't stopped since. :) Sure, I've been through periods of very scarce writing, but I don't stress about it. Eventually It comes back :)
     
  9. ADreamer
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    ADreamer Banned Sock-Puppet

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    After university I pretty much lost interest for a long while. Aside from doing an overload of courses - graduated nearly 1 1/2 years early, thank you dad no pressure right - I also published a small non-fiction on a subject that is dear to me [and which I am bumbling through now as a more advanced reprint]. I took off and went traveling - UK, Norway, Spain, etc. pretty much went hopscotching all over for about 7 months then spent 3 years with my uncle [and as he is a singer for a band then with his family - the band is pretty much family friends really] in Europe. Definitely helped. Not because I was lazing about skirting responsibility - speaking the native language, I not only threw myself into the [old] culture that is part of my family but worked when I was in Europe.

    The only thing I can suggest is find a hobby to do. If I can't motivate myself to start writing - even poetry which is my fall back when I am really no-writing - I either take up painting or go find a quiet place to take some sketches / photographs. "Redirecting" your brain instead of fritting over an inability to write would probably help rather than "pressuring" yourself to pick up the pen and start writing - or well I guess hitting the keys on the keyboard.
     
  10. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    Take a look at your old work.

    Hopefully you'll read it and think "damn, I was good. This makes me want to write more!" in which case, get your ass in gear and prove to yourself you still have it.

    Or you may think "Christ, I was terrible!" in which case, get your ass in gear and prove how good you are now.

    Finding new readers is usually rewarding. They can give you good constructive criticism, or an ego boost.
     
  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    First, forgive yourself for the lost time. Trust me, it'll save you the anxiety of "OMG YOU DIDN'T WRITE FOR AAAGEESS!!!" like mine did. Forgive yourself and start anew. Today marks the first day of your new writing life.

    Second, think of something that interests you, that fascinates you. Doesn't have to be huge, it can be something small like a scene. Maybe you saw an old man and a small girl fishing by the lake at sunset. Think about what they must be discussing, how they're related to each other (it can be anything up to and included 'convoluted time travel that resulted in the old man now taking care of what turned out to be his mom when she was a child', anything.) What are they doing?

    Thirdly, let the creativity flow. Don't worry about whether it makes any sense, that comes later. Just let them do whatever it is they're doing, say whatever it is they're saying.

    Fourthly, DO NOT DELETE ANY OF THEM!! I can't stress this enough, do NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES delete any of them. You'll want to be able to view your progress, see where you're screwing up and need to improve on.

    Fifthly, reward yourself with something good after you've finished a writing segment for a day. Maybe it's videogames, maybe it's sports, maybe it's...whatever you like. Reward yourself. Humans really like that sort of stuff, rewards. It encourages them to want to keep performing that action to get the prize. So don't forget to reward yourself at the end of a writing segment.

    Good luck, and have fun! :)
     
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  12. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a theory that the reason why people who want to write, don't write, is because they can't write.

    If you told me you'd give me your supermodel wife for a night if I could lift a car, I would go to the back of the car (of your choice), I'd squat real low, get my hands on the bumper, and ...then what?

    Do I come back to you and your hypothetical disappointed wife and say, "Look, man, I don't know what happened. The car just wouldn't lift!" ? Or do I go back in time, train to lift a car (steroids, protein, professional coaching, starting with smaller objects), so that I am capable of doing it at the appointed time?

    I think to most people, words, when in a creative writing context, are like cars. It's because we don't learn creative writing. How we "train," for it, really needs to be the subject of another thread or several threads on this forum, but I really think it's time we deepen our appreciation for the hard labor that is learning to write, and not just sitting down and trying to throw a novel onto the screen.
     
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  13. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I stopped for a while. Then I was reminded of writing and realised I hadn't written ANYTHING for a year. That got me going again.

    OP: If you are here posting, that's probably a lot of the battle. What is working for me is writing shorter pieces. As I get the positive of finishing things.
     
  14. kenver
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    kenver Member

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    I agree, 123456789. But I also don't know of any way to "train" as a creative writer besides writing (and reading.) Maybe we should start a new thread? Maybe an MFA in Creative Writing-themed thread for those of us with little or no formal education?
     
  15. Erez Kristal
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    Erez Kristal Member

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    I have a super - easy fix for you that you may, or may not like.
    Roleplay - It's the mother and father of all creativity.

    Try to pick a world and situation that fits what you wish to write about. I was a dungeon master, and I never felt like I had any short for words, editing and grammar are my own nemesis. Goodluck with your writing block.
     
  16. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Stop thinking that you "want" to write. It either happens or it does not. Your imagination is still there, and I doubt you had turned that off for that long a time. And you don't have to "forgive" yourself either. Really ;)

    Spend some time with our story, with your MC, try to get inside the people in your story. Maybe it didn't feel "real" to you? Because if the characters are 3D, lifelike, they insist on telling their story - and then you will sit down to write again. Trust me :D

    And if it does not, heck, don't you have anything other to do in your life? Funny things, lovable things, scary things? These experiences also demand their time! *virtualheadshaking* I hope this does not come over bossy, but I tend to have a temper whenever I hear someone say "I want to do... ". You either do or you don't. Don't pine for greener pastures. Maybe comes from falling into the same trap until I figured out where the trapdoor was ;)

    And the things you do are the ones you really, really want to do! They should be appreciated! It's your life!
     
  17. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Isn't the whole forum just that? ;) Just do a search and you'll find whatever you need to know. In abbundance!
     
  18. kenver
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    kenver Member

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    Thanks!
     
  19. OrangeRosie
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    OrangeRosie New Member

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    I'm in this rut now. I just don't know what to write about; plus, life is crazy right now.

    Sometimes, listening to classical music helps because in some cases, I do need music to help me concentrate. I have to alternate between complete silence and music. It cannot be upbeat or have lyrics in the song-instant distraction. I mainly listen to the classical/neo-classical sounds of David Garrett. I love listening to him play his violin. It's like I can hear his soul through his instrument (I actually can!)

    Or maybe you can try reading a novel that is closely related to what you want to write about or are writing about. Again, I did (I should start back doing) with my first novel's draft. I am/was rereading V.C. Andrew's Orphans books to help inspire me.

    Getting out of the house might also help.
     
  20. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I used to be that way when i was younger, not anymore. It seems like our position seems reversed lol. I hope you can find the inspiration to write again! :)
     
  21. qWirtzy
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    qWirtzy Member

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    It happens to everyone!

    I'm just coming back to writing after a very long illness, and the first thing I've done after, as many have advised, forgiven myself for not writing, is to read. I've reread my old finished work, reread my WIP to get back into my characters voices, read the news, read new book and discussed stories and reading with my friends and family. I know I should always be reading when I'm writing and hopefully this will kick things off right: I'm getting ideas, that's for sure.

    I hear that one shouldn't edit, that one should just write. Just dump it out of your brain and look back later. I'll voice the unpopular here and say that this doesn't work for me. If I've been gone a long time and am just starting up again, and what I write is very rough, I get discouraged. I start polishing right away, really get into the rhythm of my work the way I like to sound and feel, rather than writing something "just to get it written". That's what notes are for--unpopular, I know, but hey, I can't be totally alone in this, right?

    Speaking more generally, my biggest advice is to do what feels right for you, when you're kicking the rust off the wheels.
     
  22. stormr
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    stormr Member

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    I hadn't written anything at all in over a year, that is until a couple days ago. I just didn't have the drive, or urge. Like you, it just dried up one day, so I simply moved on. Luckily for me my day job is in a factory, and not writing.

    But a couple months ago, I had to buy a new laptop, and over this time I had been slowly transferring files over, and I finally got to the folder with my old stories in it, and ones I had jotted down ideas, and several stories I simply never finished. But out of sentiment, I wanted to go back and read through my last story I wrote, one I had big plans for but never got all the way through the second part of what I figures as a four or five part story. So I sat there and started reading it, then I realized I did a pretty good job on it, many parts I don't even remember writing.

    So I started noticing small mistakes, double words, misspellings, words that just didn't. So I corrected them as I read. Next thing I knew I was at the spot where I stopped writing when the words and story just left me one day. Much to my amazement I started feeling what I did way back then, and the words and story were suddenly there, just waiting to come out. I wrote for over four hours that day, finished part two, wrote all of part three, and now am getting ready to start part four, the one I was imagining the most back then because it's were all the action and fun takes place.

    So basically I suggest to look back over your old work (hopefully you still have some of it) and your mind might get creative again, or urge you to change stuff or maybe write sequels, maybe even get ideas for future stories.
     
  23. WriterMMS
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    WriterMMS Member

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    Tell urself its ok to write shit. Alot of problems with writers is that they are afraid to write something kmperfect when in reality there is no perfection.
     
  24. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was dedicated to writing every day from the early 1990s until 2004. That year, I took a post-grad course in screenwriting and, over the next nine months, burned myself out.

    Over the next ten years, I made a few meager attempts to write that all ended with me feeling exhausted, but early in 2015, I finally got back to it.

    What I learned:
    • I can only write four to five hours per day, five days per week. Any more than that and I burn out. Not going there again.
    • I have to stick to one form of writing, novels. Trying to write screenplays, radio scripts, stageplays and novels alternately or all at the same time is far too much for me.
    • Finding my ultimate writing genre got me back into the game (humorous science fiction)
    • I kept poking at the writing monster until it got up and took a piece out of me. Now I've once again been devoured.
    • Getting past emotional roadblocks helped a lot. If this is a factor for you, I suggest meditation as opposed to medication.
    I do hope this gives you some ideas for how you can get past all the crap and get back to it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
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  25. TheoremAlpha
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    TheoremAlpha Member

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    I had a similar thing happen.
    I used to write constantly, even have a couple of unfinished novels that have hudrends upon hundreds of pages written. I eventually just got to a point by which I couldn't figure out how to end them or keep the plot going, and it almost seemed like when adult life hit and I had to focus on work and progress in the real world, that I started drifting from being able to write like I used to.

    I stopped for years until about six months ago.

    What I did was very simple:
    I explored the world.
    I had conversations with strangers and random people.
    I would carry a little notebook with me that fit in my pocket, and just describe what was going on around me in first person perspective. Almost like I was writing a journal in story format fit to the theme.

    And I found that the best inspiration...
    Is the things that make you feel alive in the real world.
     
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