1. Sohra
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    Sohra New Member

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    How should a writer feel while writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sohra, Jun 13, 2013.

    So, I'm 18 and have been writing ever since I was 14.

    I have a problem with writing, sometimes it just feels like a chore and sometimes I don't know if I'm really enjoying it.

    First off, I sometimes have such a hard time sitting down to start writing. It's like, I sit down saying I'm going to write, but then I find myself on Youtube or google looking up random crap. I find myself listening to music or chatting with friends. When I actually do get started with writing, I can keep at it for anywhere from a few paragraphs to a whole page or two before I end up on Youtube again for a couple of videos.

    I never really emotionally connect to my writing or feel anything when I'm writing. I have an idea, structured and planned, layed out before me, but once I start writing the only thing I feel is focused. Like that profesional focused when you're at work. I'm just thinking about how to write the next sentence, how to make the situation better, checking my writing, so on. I don't feel sad for my character during sad scenes or mad when they do something wrong.

    I never really feel anything for writing.

    But thinking about scenes I know I'll like, ideas... I'm like that... I'll think about a dramatic scene for my novel and go crazy for it, but then I'll start writing the whole story and feel nothing. Ideas are the same.

    So, the writing part is the chore for me, but coming up with ideas and characters, I love it, but asking me to sit down and write it, i don't know.

    I never feel immersed into a world, I feel like I'm searching for the best way to achieve my characters move.

    Is this normal or what?
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, if you don't enjoy it and it really seems like a chore, I'd say not to do it, or to give it a rest for a while and see if you're inspired to start again later. Not everyone writes, and if you don't find it enjoyable or like it's something you just have to do, then there's no point, really.

    As far as getting distracted with google and you tube, etc., a lot of writers do have that problem. Some even go so far as to install programs that actually prevent them from accessing the web, so they cannot get distracted while they are supposed to be writing.

    This is really something you need to decide for yourself, as far as what you find fulfilling and enjoyable. If you still feel some sense that you might like to write, take a couple of writing classes to see if that does anything for you.
     
  3. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    Hello Sohra. Welcome.

    Have you ever heard people say that fiction is often just a "thinly veiled" telling of the writer's personal experiences? If you feel nothing while writing, perhaps a return to some of your own stories and experiences is due? Maybe a few personal journals, or a creative non-fiction piece or two, will tease out some untapped passion for writing.
     
  4. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    [MENTION=54845]Sohra[/MENTION] I can relate. I often feel the same, I won't say its a chore, but at times I really have to force myself to sit down and write. After a little while I am often, like you said, focused. Like you, I don't really get into the world, yet on the other hand I don't experience writing as a chore. When I force myself to imagine the scene and see it before my minds eye it becomes easier to get immersed. I also try to hear how my characters would say particular things.

    I am not sure if any of this is of any help, but I really can relate to some of the things you said. Yet I don't feel any of it is influencing my eriting ability in a negative way...so yea, not sure if its a burden or not.
     
  5. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's a good question, isn't it? I know how you feel about a lot of that, especially getting distracted. I'm actually putting off writing right now. The thing for me is that I hate writing, but I love stories and I want to make them. Usually what happens is I come up with ideas for scenes while I'm out an about, and when I sit down in front of the computer, everything is gone. Sometimes I'll remember what I wanted, but the life isn't there anymore. In the end, I always write something new and it's a huge struggle. The time spent imagining and planning is still worth it for me though, because when I don't do it, nothing new comes to mind when I sit down at the computer.

    In the end, writing is worth it for me too. There's few things that feel as good as having a couple thousand people read something you wrote and come away laughing. (on the internet, I'm not a published author)
     
  6. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    If you don't enjoy it, don't do it. If you enjoy it, then do it. That doesn't mean you have to enjoy every element of the process. I don't particularly enjoy editing, but I enjoy building a story, and especially enjoy when a scene hits mean and I can't type fast enough to get on paper what's playing out in my head.

    Here's another question, when you sit down to do homework, or to write a paper for school, do you find yourself doing the same thing or do you get right on it? If you are doing the same thing, then it really has nothing to do with writing. If you only do those other things when you're trying to write, then writing might not be your thing.
     
  7. Sohra
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    Sohra New Member

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    Thank you everyone for the responses! But now, a focus on one of things above I would like to cover more in depth.

    As stated above, whenever I am writing, I don't feel the same way I do when I'm reading. I don't feel the emotions of my characters or feel emotions of the scenes. I never really feel immersed into a world. I don't feel characters screaming into my head, I simply see scenes I would be interested in writing. When I'm not seeing future scenes, all I feel is focused. Focused on the writer, the technique, the technical stuff...

    So tell me, what do you mean when you say that you hear characters screaming in your head?

    Is that another way of saying you simply want to write a story really badly? I've had that..

    Feel submerged into a world a freedom.

    Does that simply mean you are incredibly focused and really stuck to the story for some time? Been there...

    Am I over thinking this author attachements or am I missing something?
     
  8. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    What do you feel when you read your own work?

    I, too, have never heard characters voices in my head. I know what they look like. I could have a conversation with some of the more pleasant ones. I know how they'd react in certain situations. But I've never been able to create a separate consciousness in my mind.
     
  9. Sohra
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    Sohra New Member

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    Kind of plain, but more so critiqueful of myself in what parts I could do better.

    I can write a sad story and not flinch but yet people I ask to read it break into tears.
     
  10. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why do you write then if it feels like a chore?

    I think you need to find your passion again. If you feel bored, then you aren't interested enough in your story. Boredom to me is a sign to spice it up.
     
  11. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    You're suffering from the romance of youth, get over it. You have an image of what a writer is supposed to be; empathic, emotional, suffering the flaws and troubles of their characters on a deep emotional level. In my experience, (and how woefully inadequate it is) I never break into tears over something happening in my story. If I do feel emotion, it's because of a memory.

    That's what I choose to use as the foundation for my stories, a memory of intense emotion, or a trouble that I'm currently going through. It's all directed at myself (for whom else am I writing?).

    Don't ever feel obligated to do anything; if you are, then it's a pretty safe bet that you're not where you belong.

    Also, wishy washy terms like: "submerged in a world of freedom" mean absolutely nothing. They sound great (to you), but they're not real, and serve only to distance yourself from your work. They're the manifestations of a romantic mind, not a bad thing, but romantics will often waste themselves waiting for the fantasy to become a reality. Remove these romantic expectations from your head, and ask yourself, does this make you happy? If it doesn't, then stop and do something else. If it does, then keep doing it.
     
  12. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Your writing ability has nothing to do with the way you feel. You can write effectively (if you are an actual writer that is) feeling any emotion or lack there of. If it feels like a chore, then get on with it, so that you can finish your chores for the day and go on to something less taxing.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see stories in my head. (Rarely stories with proper endings, but that's a separate problem.) I can see character actions in my head, hear their dialogue, rewind, adjust the words, and so on.

    When I first tried to write fiction (most of my writing has been nonfiction), none of that made it to the writing. The journey from the scene in my head, to words, to my typing fingers, to the keyboard, to the screen, to what I read on the screen, seemed to drain all the life out of it.

    At some point, I resolved to try just writing big globs of text, whether or not that writing seemed like a decent reflection of the scene in my mind. I tried various mechanical tricks, like not even looking at the screen (I'm a good touch typist), or even closing my eyes while writing, to focus on the scene in my head.

    Roughly twenty thousand words of writing like, crammed into three weeks (NaNoWriMo, a few years ago), took me to a new point. It didn't give me the fluid translation from scene-in-head to words-on-screen that I would have liked. It did give me a much easier transition from words-in-head to words-on-screen, but that was the easier part; it was scene to words that was always hard.

    But the process did give me some experience with looking at the words on the screen, letting those words create a scene in my head rather than reflect it, evaluating the scene, tweaking the words, and letting the words replay the scene.

    It's a little bit as if I sat down to paint a photorealistic picture, found myself sketching a quick sparse black-and-white cartoon instead, and found that _sometimes_ that cartoon was more eloquent than the picture that I wanted.

    It wasn't--and isn't--what I want. I want to be Joan Wilder, pounding out a scene that's playing in my head. (Except I don't want it to be a romance novel.) But it's starting to work.

    However, while doing that first draft of a scene I still can't focus on the _writing_--on how elegant or clever or even comprehensible the words are to anyone but me. All I can do is write words that paint a picture in _my_ head. When I come back, hours or days later, then I can pay attention to the writing and try to judge how it would play in somebody else's head. If I were looking at sentences or checking my writing during the first draft, as you describe, I would get absolutely nothing written.
     
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  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Polishing comes last

    I think that is SO important. It's so easy for people, especially on this forum where only snippets of writing get posted, to focus on polishing words, sentences, etc FAR TOO SOON. That's not to say they don't need to be polished to perfection at some point, but if you manage to get a lively scene written down on paper, even in very rough, even ungrammatical form, you'll actually have something worth polishing, later on.
     
  15. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    What do you daydream about when you go to bed at night before you fall to sleep? Pick a scene in your story and let it play out. See what happens. Set your characters loose in your imagination. Do it a few times, and then sit down and write out what it is you're seeing and hearing them do. You still won't "feel" it normally. However, you might get a bit more push.

    Can you empathise? People say don't do author inserts, that's true to a point. However, I've also found that it's good to insert myself into each character's POV and write as if I'm the one doing, hearing, smelling, and feeling it. Then, I write how I would act, react, think, emote in that situation. Be careful however if you use this kind of method. It falls a lot more inline with "method acting" than true author inserts.
     
  16. Rimuel
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    Rimuel Member

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    Why does it matter if you have no affects when writing?

    I tend to get a lot of inspiration when depressed or highly elated; but inspiration eventually sizzles. Perspiration helps me to achieve something 75% of the time, when I have neither positive nor negative valence.

    I would be more concerned if you have never felt any inspiration to write when ideas come to mind. THEN, you're better off not in this field.
     
  17. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    If a person is going to become a writer that should enjoy the writing process.
     
  18. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Ah, this takes me back!

    At 18, you are still growing, both physically and emotionally. And so part of the problem is that you have not experienced the full spectrum of human emotions, yet, nor is it likely that your real-world experiences have given you a broad enough base from which to write everything you may want to write (as an extreme example, when I was 12 I decided I wanted to write a war novel; I was heavily into history, and already knew more about World War II than the rest of my friends and classmates, even those who were also war buffs; but as I began to write, I quickly realized that I hadn't the first clue about what it was actually like to BE in combat). The best thing you can do, then, is write about things with which you have had real life experience.

    E.C.'s suggestion about putting yourself in the position of the character is a good one, and it is something I still do from time to time. You might want to fictionalize a difficult personal experience and write about it.

    Good luck.
     
  19. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't feel frightened when my characters are frightened - but I have been frightened so I know what their likely actions/reactions will be. That's empathy - being able to understand how your characters feel without necessarily feeling the same thing.

    As to enjoyment - I don't know of any activity that's always 100% enjoyable. And like anything, doing it casually is typically more enjoyable than doing it 'seriously'. The bar is set higher, so one puts more demands on oneself. I don't look at writing as an enjoyable thing - but it is satisfying. Highly satisfying. There are moments of enjoyment and there are moments when I wonder why in heaven's name I ever 'took up pen and paper'. But overall - I want to keep doing it. If I ever get to a point where I just don't care one way or the other, I'll quit. What's the point then?
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you don't feel good doing it, why are you doing it?...

    it doesn't matter how any other writers feel, because they're not you... and if writing doesn't give you some pleasure, i can't see why you're doing it at all...

    however, if you feel some compulsion to 'write' but don't feel good about what you're writing, then try writing something else...
     
  21. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    I've been there. I love conceptualizing ideas, scenes and plots. But when it comes to actually putting it into paper, creating the first draft, I freeze. And like you said, I would be nit-picky with my sentences, my word usage, my grammar, phrases, paragraphs, parallelisms... then I would stop, open up a browser and go on youtube or reddit.

    Not until I read the advice that "first draft is shit." Then I pondered on that saying. First draft is poo. Garbage. Nobody does it perfectly at the first try, except God, they say. At first, I didn't like this adage; in my mind, whatever you wrote down should be it, and that fudging about the first draft is cheating -- but no one knows that but you.

    So I began writing again, purposefully writing crap. I would use a word that is completely off and imprecise. Sentences would be wonky and unstable. A scene would be wedged between scenes like a piece of broccoli only removable with floss. As soon as I hit the last period of the story, I was proud of myself. But it's not over yet, and this is the exciting part of writing, for me: rewriting.

    I've been there -- getting excited with an idea or a concept and then suddenly getting dejected on doing the deed. What got me out of that slump is to just write. Write. Write. Nike should have their own brand of pens or notebooks with the slug, "Just Write It."

    Everyone falls the first time, says Cypher from the Matrix. And you will fall a lot on the first draft. The engine of excitement comes from unearthing the beauty -- the story -- of that piece of poo you had just written. It's not archaeology (but it damn feels like it), it's rewriting.
     
  22. Justin Rocket 2
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    If you find the Buddha along the path, slay him. If you find yourself crying over something you wrote, chances are what you wrote is crap. You're too emotionally attached to it. As for writing being work for you, it's work for everybody. The only advice I can think of is that maybe your inner editor is getting in the way. If so, try the following exercise. Pick up a pen and write. Don't stop. Don't slow down. Don't pause. Your task is to simply keep words coming out of your pen in a constant flow. If you can't think of what to write next, write "I don't know what to write next". If you think the drill is stupid, write "this is stupid". Just don't stop or slow down. Do the exercise for 15 minutes. The following day, do it for 20 minutes. Do it for an hour. EVERY DAY. You're not working for quality, but quantity. It will beat your inner editor into submission.
     
  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm increasingly thinking of the first draft as the mise en place - the process where you gather and measure and prep all the ingredients for cooking. Those first words are nothing more than raw ingredients, and being upset that they're not a fine readable piece of prose makes no more sense than being upset that those little bowls of flour and sugar and orange peel and separated eggs aren't already a beautiful batch of crepes suzette.
     
  24. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or one could consider that it requires careful measurement of those ingredients as you're putting together that recipe, so you don't end up with a bowl of glop that one can only throw out and then start over again. It's all a matter of perspective. ;)
     
  25. Rimuel
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    Rimuel Member

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    I write because I see a beautiful idea, and I can see a beautiful ending to that idea. But when I write, most of the time I don't feel anything, unless I'm currently writing the most beautiful parts. After I have completed something, I would let it go for a few days, then come back and read it. THEN, I feel really good. Sure, the story needs editing, but that doesn't change the fact that the form of the idea has been crafted.

    For the Beginning and the End, I trudge through the Middle.



    P.S.: An exception is when I write poems. That is always satisfying, from beginning to the end.
     

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