1. ellebell16
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    ellebell16 Member

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    I just can't write.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ellebell16, Sep 27, 2011.

    I had my award winning idea over a year ago, but for some reason, I just can't write it! I know the story very well, the characters even better, and I can visualize everything and everyone in my head quite clearly. I can hear my characters in my day to day life offering their input, and I feel for them. But for some reason, whenever I sit down to write anything, my mind always thinks of something better to do or I get bored or I realize I have to go somewhere.

    The story would be broken down into a six books series, young adult, fantasy. I know what each book will entail, and I want to write it really badly, but it just won't come out. And this doesn't just go for this story, but all my stories. I used to be able to write like a pistol, but now it comes out like toothpaste stuck at the bottom of the tube. I don't know why. It's not even writer's block, because the idea is there and is continually flowing...it's like my mind just won't let myself write. And I don't know how to get past it.

    I had the idea in July '10. It's now September (almost October) '11, and I want to write it.

    What should I do? Are there any exercises I could try?
     
  2. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    Could it be that because you have everything so planned out, there is no excitement or anything to discover, so actually writing it feels like a bit of a chore? Just a guess, I'm only a beginner writer myself but I wonder if you would benefit from doing some more open ended writing. You could either write something completely different as an exercise, or reduce your plans for your current story to the basic premise/characters, and see where it takes you.
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If this were my problem, that would be the explanation. Sometimes a story gets so entrenched in one's head - well, it's almost like rewriting, rather than writing. (One of the reasons I don't outline :p). So agree here - write something else for a while, or just write snippets until the 'tingle' comes back. But don't not write at all. Bad habit to break...
     
  4. CULLEN DORN
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    CULLEN DORN Member

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    You are obviously carrying and the water bag has yet to break.
    But it will I promise you. It will and you better be ready to deliver.
     
  5. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe the problem is that you've given yourself too much to do? Going into a novel knowing it's only the first in a series of six sounds daunting. Five years ago I tried to write a trilogy and despite having everything planned in advance, and being psyched about the idea, I never got started because the task just felt too big for me to ever do a sufficient amount of work on. So concentrate on trying to write a standalone novel - not a series. If the first one goes well then you can always expand it into a series. :)
     
  6. WhooshHayley
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    WhooshHayley New Member

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    I agree with Yoshiko, but would take this even further and suggest that you are maybe putting too much pressure on yourself to produce something that is fantastic. Just write and get a first draft finished. Don't go back over it and edit until you have finished. At this stage it doesn't matter if what you have written is great or not - it could be absolute rubbish - it just matters that you have a skeleton of the finished book and you are moving forward. When you have done this, you can then start to shape your book into something that you can be proud of through editing. This may not be an ideal way of working for all writers, but it is better to be moving forward than to be paralyzed by the pressure.
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I agree with everyone. Once, I wanted to write a fantasy trilogy about a slave rebellion tearing a country into civil war (think of Nate Turner's Rebellion and the Bolshivek Revolution smashed together in some conglomorent mess.)

    Because it was so messed, so complicated, I didn't have the heart to continue through with it because...well...I was putting too much pressure on myself. Even though I enjoyed thinking about the events, hammering out the details. Character developments, the battles, etc. However, it was too much. It also became clear that I didn't really like the fantasy genre in the first place. So writing about something that's of a genre you don't care for will be difficult.

    Like others have said, just do a stand-alone novel and if it does well, continue with it.

    Don't worry if the first draft is crap. It will be crap. That's why the phrase "edit and revise" exists.
     
  8. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I am in the same boat as you. I am writing a seven part series right now. When the task gets too daunting or when I just cant seem to concentrate, I will start jotting down chapter outlines instead. Then after one or two of those I am usually geared up and ready to go with fleshing them out for real.

    Also, this might be strange, but I also get geared up and excited after a long editing session of previous chapters.

    Last, but not certainly not least, there is nothing better to cure this (for me) then reading a good book.
     
  9. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    I was in the exact same boat. Entire series planned out. Character history accounted for. Ready to fire on all cylinders.

    That was over 8 years ago. I have just completed the first book about 6 months ago (still in the revision process). For me, it's not that I couldn't write. I was afraid to. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to write something that would do all of my ideas justice. I was afraid that after all of this careful planning that after I finished, no one would want to read it.

    It's great that you have all of these ideas planned out but if they've got no where to go then it's all just a nice little fantasy world you've built with your imagination. To get my first book done I had to set a deadline and promise myself that this book would be finished by the allotted time. I gave up almost every other activity/hobby to make sure it got done. Sometimes you just have to buckle down and tackle it head on. I went through 3 drafts of the first few chapters before I found a voice I felt worthy enough.

    Good luck. We'll be here if you need us.
     
  10. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    I know what its like.

    Create the time you need and lock yourself in a room. Just write for an hour or two without editing your work, you will get so much out. Do so every now and then, you'll get your ideas on to paper, gradually.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how did you win an award for just an 'idea'?

    as for your writing problem, will-power is the most important thing a writer must have, along with some modicum of talent, so as you apparently don't have any of the former at the moment, you'd better force yourself to acquire some, if you hope to ever write even one book, much less as many as you say you want to write...

    no one but you can make you do that... nobody here has a magic wand or spell that'll force you to do it... so, get the heck off this site, open up a blank page and START WRITING!
     
  12. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I am pretty sure all she meant by "award" was that she had her best idea yet.
     
  13. jjonz
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    jjonz New Member

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    How about visualizing the Book as a Movie & write it out according to how you see it when close your eyes and let the action come alive. just a thought. all is well if you want it/you will write it.

    Good Luck.
     
  14. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I get that with some of my stories sometimes... There were parts where I was writing, like, a sentence a day, forcing myself through. And they weren't even good sentences, just linking actions which sort of made sense in context, but no art to it. It takes a long time but I don't delete any of them and in the end you can get past the block and start finding it fun again. :)
     
  15. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    When I have this problem, it's usually my obsessive perfectionism coming out, so I take a break and read something. If I try to write and it's just not coming out the way I want it to, it tends to be despairing to me, so in order to keep going I have to pause frequently and not look over my work until I have a good chunk written out already.
     
  16. Kalpea_Tuli
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    Kalpea_Tuli Member

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    It is the same with having to study for university for some... What I do in such situations and say to myself I am going to be at the computer/study desk until at least five hours later, and yes I doodle for a while, but finally I do manage to get some work done. Sometimes it is excruciating.

    Other people do things like -study one hour/"play" one hour, everyone their own techniques.
     
  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    If it's that clear in your head (and I know how that can be) then start writing what's in your head. There's no other way to do it.

    Uh huh. And when I was studying for the CPA exam, I was suddenly inspired to clean the basement, the attic and my bedroom closet. The kitchen floor needed scrubbing. Twice.

    Here's what I think: like a lot of other (most, probably) young writers, you have a great idea in your head, and you're afraid that when it gets down on paper, it kind of won't be that great. None of us likes the idea that our writing might not be as great as we hope it will be, and that kills a lot of good projects before they have a chance to get going. Part of the problem is that you've decided on a six book series. Write the first book as if it were the only thing that mattered, because it IS the only thing that matters. If you know in your heart that something in the book can/will be picked up in a later one, make a note of that. It will be good to know. But don't worry about a big series, because you need to focus on that first book.

    When I was younger, I used to run. I ran two marathons. But when I first started running, I could only run two blocks before slowing to a walk. It took a lot of time to build up to 26.2 miles. If I'd thought about 26.2 that first run, I'd have packed it in after the first two blocks. Same principle applies here.

    Good luck.
     
  18. Caldenfor
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    Caldenfor Member

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    Don't start from the beginning. As you are thinking about it, when you get to an exciting scene, try to get out pen and paper or to your nearest computer.

    I wrote a scene that takes place six years after the start of my story. I thought I did well enough with it and now I can't get back to the rest. Generally it isn't just writing that could be the problem. Are you having any other issues in your life that may be causing this issue? Just having a talk with someone may help clear things up so you can get back to writing.
     
  19. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    Man I love hearing about award-winning book series, especially ones that haven't made it past book one. All that adolescent idealism just warms my cold little heart.

    You can write. You've just convinced yourself that you can't. Ed is right -- you think it is so great, so brilliant and award-winning, that you don't want to actually write the thing because then you'll discover that it sucks, just as all first drafts of all things suck.

    Tone down your expectations of your drafts, give yourself permission to suck, and write the damn thing.
     
  20. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find that it's really all about forcing yourself to sit on your butt and write. Set off some time where you won't to anything but write and have a word goal.

    No matter what mood I'm in when I start, after about fifteen minutes I'm really inspired again.
     
  21. dave_c
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    dave_c Active Member

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    My solution to this (and i do suffer from it) is thorntons cafe in liverpool one. for some reason sitting in a busy place leaves me with very few distractions, it makes little sense i know. I think its the white noise of it, makes your brain buzz.

    Give it a try though go to your local BBs, Costa, Nero or what ever coffee shop you have, take your laptop, get a coffee sit and say i have 1/2+ hours just to get everything down.

    i go early to meet my fiancée from work (she works around there). works a treat, good luck.
     
  22. echughtai
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    echughtai New Member

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    what if you start getting some ideas on paper and then start writing it may help you remember more of it :)
    good luck

    ---------- Post added at 11:49 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:45 AM ----------

    That is such a good idea, also some libraries have coffee shops built into the library maybe you visit your own library. Plus it would be a lot more quiet and less distracting. You don't have put up with the coffee machine going on a full blast, screaming kids and crying babies. Plus you would be with your inspiration and you can take your pick of the books.
     
  23. Dithnir
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    Dithnir Member

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    Get a hundred words down. Then the next hundred. It's a pebble on the side of this mountain. You'll feel like it's as good as nothing. Put the next hundred down, it's only a few sentences after all. Don't even worry about the quality of it.

    All of a sudden you hit critical mass. A few thousand words perhaps, and you're once more facing this immense wall of everything else there is to write.

    Writing a novel is bloody hard. There's a reason most people never manage it, it's a monumental undertaking. But you can only do it a word at a time, a pebble at a time. You will however move the mountain.
     
  24. echughtai
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    echughtai New Member

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    Yeah I am the same too so i set myself small manageable goals like type for 50 words of novel at 1pm and then i would progress it 100 and so on. it also helps blog/tweet/facebook where you getting up too. Okay putting on a status I typed 50 words of novel wouldn't probably get you any likes/comments and i would be a bit boring but it's a good idea to keep track of where you're going. Also if you start to fade off/loose interest you know you can always go to back to that point. Plus it's better to type say first 50-100 words, then see if you are liking the plot/idea then type 4,000 words and feel stuck on what to write.
     

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