1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    I have a serious problem.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by waitingforzion, Jun 4, 2016.

    When I try to write I get stuck and I can't think because either I want to write a rhythmic sentence or a long sentence that follows the rules of clarity and I can't come up with a single thought that is fully formed to put into a sentence. I just sit there for ten minutes trying to think of a topic. I cannot even figure out a basic idea to start writing about. When I do think of something to write about, the thoughts are too simpleminded or scarce.

    People and books have often advised me to just write out whatever is in my head and revise afterwards but for some reason I have a hard time with that. I worry that if I do that all my sentences will be simple and I won't be able to make anything decent out of them. I know you can combine sentences to make them longer and more complex but I feel like I might make my thoughts so disjointed or distinct that they can't be combined. If I use the word "but" I am stuck because using the word "but" twice in a sentence is stupid, and often when you use that word you have to break your sentences apart. If you use "although" then you cannot put emphasis on the proposition that would normally come after "but".

    I am not saying I want to predetermine the length of my sentences but I want to make sure that some of my sentences come out long. And I feel that a writer should have the ability to control the length of his sentences.

    I cannot just combine sentence in any fashion that I please because emphasis must be place on the right propositions and the relationships between them must be clear. But I want to be able to write a short and long sentences at my own discretion. I'm not saying I want to write extremely long, unclear, bombastic sentences or that I want to write only long sentences. But I want to have the ability to control the length of my sentences.

    I don't feel like it is easy for me to write a long sentence from scratch and make sense. That is why I try to write short sentences and then combine them to make a long sentence. But I feel like certain long sentences cannot be broken up into short ones, so how do I know I will ever write the short ones that can be combined into the long ones.

    The main problem I am having is that I just cannot think and write out a first draft. I don't want to do free writing because that produces a bunch of unrelated thoughts, and I cannot keep on writing without stopping. I don't want to write on the page that I cannot think.

    I don't even know how to write a rough draft because I have never written one in my life. I always edited as I went along and for a while that worked for me but that does not help me to write rhythmically and clear and that does not help me to write long sentences. I always have dumb questions and doubts in my mind about rough drafts, not knowing if I include information I won't use later on, or I can leave something out, not knowing if I can make an unorganized or unstructured draft that can be structured later on.

    Please help me to figure out how to write because I want to write well and I cannot write well if I cannot think. That seems to be on of the big problems. I cannot seem to think properly. My mind feels nearly empty a lot of the time like I have no average intelligence. I don't know anything about the world. I don't know how to describe a flower and I don't know how people interact with one another.

    I want to write though, and not just stories, but things for which I can employ rhetoric. I want to be able to write different kinds of things.
     
  2. Romana
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    Romana Member

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    How much have you tried poetry?
    You have a wonderful command of language and grammar, and your post here is beautiful -- absolutely beautiful. I've always found that my sentences determine their own length, and that itself creates variety in their length. Honestly, don't worry about the length of your sentences. They will be varied and they will be beautiful.
    I've also found that writing by hand instead of typing can be refreshing, especially if you use a pen with really smooth ink. Because you have to physically write out the words, you have more time to think about what you are saying. Because you have to write out the words, you can also be lazier with how you string thoughts together: blame missed punctuation on a tired wrist or hurried mind. The mistakes you make writing by hand can be easily corrected when you type up what you wrote.

    And as for knowing nothing of the world -- who cares?! If you write fiction, you get to make your own worlds. I mean -- and this may discredit any advice I have given -- I know nothing of the world. I'm 18, I've never left home, I've never been in a relationship, I've never really experienced life, but that doesn't stop me from writing all sorts of stuff.
    But seriously, give poetry a hand. I can't write it because I'm too careless with the way I throw my words around -- I don't care for meter or rhythm or rhyme schemes -- but you seem to be extremely conscientious, so you'll probably be really good at poetry.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your problem has nothing to do with a lack of intelligence, ability, or ideas. It has to do with your setting impossible demands on yourself and the work, and then being dismayed when the impossible is impossible. Other people can write, not because they have more intelligence, ability, or ideas, because many of them don't, but because they set realistic goals.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  4. Romana
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    Romana Member

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    @waitingforzion, this is kind of a strange and difficult and vital question, but why do you want to write stories in the first place?
     
  5. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    I know you said that free-writing produces a bunch of loose sentences but what if you start with a question? That works real well for me. I stick to answering myself, following the branches of logic down where it leads me.

    As Romana said, your command of language is certainly good :)
     
  6. Manas Bondale
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    Manas Bondale New Member

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    I have this problem all the time when I am writing. I start writing. I am done writing five sentences and I am blank. Then I wait. Then I brainstorm real hard. Then I write the next five sentence. This problem does not just occur to novice writers. Even experienced writers feel the blocks. In fact experienced writers feel the block more often than novice writers. This is because experienced writers are too worried about the quality of there writing. They stop often wondering if they have gone astray from the quality they wanted. Then they get back on track. Your problem is neither unique nor serious. It's like a punching bag. It's supposed to look like a problem but its actually helping you get better. The reason I believe, that you cannot think of what to write is because you don't love it enough. You need to love the art of writing. You need to love the topic you are writing. I have written a lot. But I cannot write on topic I have no love for. On those topics I have the same problem as you. You need to use your love. That's the only way. It'll give you something to write and it'll increase the quality of your writing.
     
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  7. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Okay I was able to write a whole bunch of stuff before by only editing grammar and spelling as I go, not attending to rhythm or any other form of gracefulness. I was able after that to somewhat organize it and separate it into paragraphs, and after that, to revise those paragraphs into more structured and longer sentences.

    But now I have a problem. Although, (even though some sentences are very long), I am able to express my intended meaning, I am having trouble getting them to have the desired kind of rhythm, or to flow smoothly. What I am hoping to do, if I cannot reproduce the rhythmic effects of other works, is to at least make my own work flow extremely smoothly. But I am not seeming to succeed at this right now, although I have only been trying for a few hours.

    I am concerned that there may be a shortage of linguistic flexibility, which would be useful to me in creating a smooth flow.
     
  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're trying to dance before you've crawled.

    You're trying to dance in a highly structured, complicated manner before you've crawled.

    You're having trouble getting started because you want to be Baryshnikov but as soon as you find yourself unable to perform at that level you start questioning whether it's even possible to do what he did, ignoring the fact that he DID IT, so it must be possible. (As many authors and poets have done what you want to do)

    There's no shortage of linguistic flexibility. You just don't know how to use the language well enough to do what you want - yet. Stop looking for excuses and start working your ass off. That's how you'll get good.
     
    NiallRoach and ChickenFreak like this.

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