1. FlareWarrior
    Offline

    FlareWarrior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    New England

    I have writer's block, not in the normal way, and would like some advice?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by FlareWarrior, Mar 14, 2012.

    Every time I try to write one of the many ideas I have floating around in my head I get stuck, go in circles for a few paragraphs, and then lose focus entirely and my characters go haywire. The writing never comes out right anyway, so it's not always a huge loss to throw the whole mess out, but I need to start getting my ideas onto paper! I know the plot, characters, story, and interactions and it's flexible enough that it doesn't get too stifling, but I just can't write it! Am I maybe just not a writer? I don't even like to read that much unless it's online. I'm not sure what to do; I would really like any ideas or advice!
     
  2. killbill
    Offline

    killbill Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    where the mind is without fear...
    I didn't read that much and wasn't sure if I could be a writer until, finally, one fine day, I forced myself to complete a short story :) the feeling of completing a story is what motivates me to write more and more stories. Keep a reasonable goal, say, a story of about 1000 words with three characters. Write and don't try to edit after every few sentences, there will be plenty of time for editing later on. Now that the story is out on the paper, chances are you won't like it at all and you may say something like 'this isn't the work of the great writer I am suppose to be' :) But, no worries, this is how almost everybody started it out. Think of ways to improve your story and edit edit edit edit edit edit....nth times, 'n' being usually about 10.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    How much fiction writing have you done, and how much of it in a short period of time?

    I ask because my experience before and during my first NaNoWriMo novel was, I think, somewhat similar. My characters could walk and talk and do things in my head, but getting that scene from my brain to my typing fingers just wasn't happening, and I kept giving up.

    But in NaNoWriMo I forced myself to just keep writing, no matter how haywire or repetitive the action got, and after perhaps twenty thousand of the fifty thousand NaNoWriMo words, I found that I was starting to communicate something. It wasn't the way I imagined communicating it. I absolutely didn't feel that the scenes in my head were being transformed into words on the screen; instead, what was coming out was a sort of stylized version, rather like a cartoon or pencil sketch can be a stylized depiction of the scene in a photograph. But I was getting _something_, and it slowly got better. After another million or two words, it might even be good. :)

    So I'd suggest just write. Pretend you're doing NaNoWriMo, which is an exercise where you write fifty thousand words of fiction in a month, or slightly under 1700 words a day. Just keep writing, no matter how off track it gets. If you hate to hack up one of your best ideas this way, use one of your least favorite ideas. Think of it not as writing a story, but as getting your writing equipment oiled and polished, learning how to drive it, whatever analogy works for you. :) After fifty thousand words of forcing yourself to write fiction, no matter how bad that fiction is, pause and see if the process has gotten at least a little bit easier.

    ChickenFreak
     
  4. funkybassmannick
    Offline

    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    First of all, you can do it. Sounds like you are absolutely a writer, and you seem to have high expectations for your work. But just like when a little girl picks up a violin for the first time, it's going to sound horrible. The difference is, while the little girl is oblivious to the screeches she produces, you know how good writing is supposed to sound.

    My advice: Don't look back. You are going to come up with a whole lot of crap before anything sounds good. I will never show anyone the rough draft of my first novel, because it's too embarrassing. But your writing will get better. If you write a little bit each day, it won't be long before things start to come out the same way you picture it in your head, trust me.

    ChickenFreak's advice is good, but if 1700 words a day is too much, start smaller. 500, or even 300. Somehow keep track, and hold yourself accountable.
     
  5. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    I wrote stories and poems since I was a kid. At one point I realised how crappy most of it was (although there were a couple of genius stories in there too) so I stopped writing fiction for a few years, but I went back to it. But reading lots and lots of fiction from an early age has been invaluable.
    Perhaps ask yourself, why do you want to be a writer?

    There's a very useful exercise I did a few times, to help me deal with this type of "writer's paralysis". It goes something like this:

    “On the one hand you desperately want to write; on the other, you simply don’t. … This internal conflict that manifests itself in procrastination may stem from different fears … lurking just below the level of your awareness.”
    Write down all the reasons why you procrastinate.

    (these were my reasons last time I did this)

    I fear that I can’t write well enough in English
    I haven’t conceptualised my main character clearly
    I fear that my writing won’t do justice to the story that I have in my head
    I am afraid of hate mail and crazy fans
    I can’t quite decide what to put in the book and what to leave out
    I worry that by getting so absorbed in writing I’ll neglect my chores and let down the ones who depend on me
    I fear that sitting down so much is not good for my health (and can be uncomfortable which distracts me)
    I fear that my story won’t be original enough and that nobody will like it
    I fear that I am just not as good as I want to be
    I am afraid of failure
     
  6. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    If it's the very first story you write it can take a while before you manage to convert the ideas in your head into words on paper, that is normal. But don't give up, practise is the key here. start simple and build on that. When you say you can't write it, does it mean you can't get started or you tried and it didn't come out as you'd hoped? read a lot, see how other writers have dealt with stuff similar to what you want to write. in the very beginning copying somebody elses style is a good way to get started, before you have a voice of your own, actually many people claim that copying people we admire is how we learn to do things. so don't be afraid of letting others inspire you, you can't expect to be 100% original and unique right from the start. Originality comes with experience and confidence in ourselves.
     

Share This Page