1. Sea Dawn
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    Sea Dawn New Member

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    I need help :-)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sea Dawn, Mar 10, 2014.

    Hiya everyone,

    I am new here and I have joined because I am in desperate need of some help and advice with my writing. I don't want this to be a long first post, so in a nutshell:

    I am 27 years old and I have wanted to be a writer since I was 8. I write things in my mind all day, constantly imaging things and characters and stories. (I LOVE my characters, and the stories I have in my mind excite me beyond words)

    I have one huge problem though, when it comes to actually putting pen to paper - everything disappears from my mind, like an etch-a-sketch my mind just shakes itself clean and I have nothing to work with. Everything dies the moment I try to put it down, it is so frustrating and leaves me with an enormous sense of self doubt.

    I feel like I need to take tiny baby steps into this because I feel so overwhelmed, I don't know how to start. I have never completed any writing work, not even so much as a short story has been completed in the 19 years I have wanted to be a writer - but I want to so much that the idea of not being a writer makes me emotional.

    I have never been to any kind of writing class and I can't go to one. I have Tourettes Syndrome and that makes it very difficult for me to be in those kind of enviroments. So it's just me, trying to find a way but failing miserably.


    So any advice here would be great, don't be afraid to be brutally honest. Thank you everyone.
     
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  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You say, "pen to paper". Is that metaphorical? Because if it isn't start with switching to a word processor. You're online so that should be a simple switch if you haven't already made it.

    Write whatever. Don't worry it isn't a complete story or even a complete idea. So the rest of the story faded like a dream you can't quite remember upon awakening, don't worry.

    Write an idea, a paragraph, a chapter.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum. :)
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Keep a notepad or something like that around. Whenever you get an idea, jot it down immediately. Then when you sit down to write, look over what you've written in the notepad and work from there.

    Welcome to the forum. :)
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum. :)

    Please have a look through the Forum Rules, and the FAQ as a start.

    Have fun! :D

    Wrey
     
  5. Sea Dawn
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    Sea Dawn New Member

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    Thank you for the lovely quick reply :)

    The one main thing that stops me from writing on a word processor is that this is a shared computer - I'm nowhere near ready for anyone else to read my work ..... yikes I couldn't imagine anything worse right now.

    A large part of my problem is that I do worry too much. I tend to overthink my writing, rather than just getting it out I obsess over whether each word sounds right. I know it's silly, so I will have to start working on that some how.

    I get most of my ideas at night listening to music, or doing housework. I am thinking about getting a voice recorder so I can get ideas down like that? I am not sure if that would be a good idea or not.

    Thank you so much everyone :)
     
  6. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I have a strange but serious question. Do you want to be a writer, or do you want to write? There's actually a fair bit of difference. If you want to write then get a notebook and start. Just start. I also obsess over details and that can hold me back, but eventually the need to write takes over. Find that need to write. Once you start you'll keep going. Have the notebook available while doing the housework etc and when thoughts pop into your mind, scribble them down. Eventually you'll have enough to jump into a word processor. If you're scared of people reading on a shared computer, I recommend a cheap tablet with keyboard. As long as you can get it down, the software won't matter. Start.
     
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  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This sounds like the key problem. One of the metaphors that I try to use is that the first draft is just raw ingredients. You wouldn't refuse to measure out the milk and butter and flour because they don't look enough like the cupcakes that you intend to make, right? You'd understand that they're just raw ingredients that you're getting out and measuring as part of the process of ending up with cupcakes.

    Try to think of the rough draft as the same way. It's not going to look like the final product. It would be nice if it did, just as it would be nice if the flour leaped out of the bag and arranged itself into a cupcake, but it's not going to happen that way.
     
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  8. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Like thirdwind's idea. I keep a pad of paper and pen handy at all time in case I get a an idea.

    As for the actual writing, start small. A sentence. Construct a sentence that says what it needs to say and no more. Work on avoiding adjectives that don't tell enough, -ly adverbs and excessive use of thought verbs.

    Then go onto a paragraph. Learn to bring a character's inner thought out into the open through action.
     
  9. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    The bad news is that the writing skills you learned in your schooling are nonfiction skills, designed for most adults on the job. So if you want to write in a way that readers of fiction will react to, you need to learn some new skills.

    The good news is that you don't have to sit in class, because the people who teach writing also like to write books about it. You've spent years thinking about writing. Why not spend a week or two preparing yourself for the task, given that just sitting down and doing it doesn't seem to be working? After all, if your goal was to practice any other profession you would expect to do some study of the necessary professional techniques. Why not the profession of writing fiction for the printed word?

    If your preferred learning method is reading, have your local library system call in Jack Bickham's Scene and Structure. Or pick up Dwight Swain's, Techniques of the Selling Writer on one of the online book sellers.

    If you prefer audio lectures, Dwight Swain used to teach all day workshops on writing and character creation. They've boiled them down to two, hour long, presentations, and offer them here, for $5.95 US. I've listened to these and the man is brilliant, and a fun speaker.
     
  10. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    I am sometimes like you. In such conditions, I think I am like the blue fish in the "memo" carton movie that had just a temporary memory. Not matter and don't worry. Before you take a pen and paper, close your eyes and try to say what you are imagining. Then try to memorize what you are saying. I think it works and then you can write them on a paper :)
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'll echo ChickenFreak. You have to let go of the idea that your first draft must be perfect. First drafts never are - even the finest, most celebrated writers tend to produce crap first drafts. Reconcile yourself to the idea that you'll write a lousy draft and that you can fix it in revisions. Some writers, even the greatest, write many drafts before they're happy. Leo Tolstoy reportedly wrote eight complete drafts of War and Peace, and that is one LONG novel.

    The first draft is not the end of the work; it is the beginning. The real work starts in the revision phase.

    Don't try to be perfect - that will destroy you as a writer. Just write, and fix the problems (and there will be many) in future drafts.

    Good luck! :)
     
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  12. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    If you have a cell phone, they usually have one of those functions where you can record voice in them. When you come up with an idea throughout the day just record them on your cell phone. Then if you have Windows 7 or I believe 8, they have a talk to type function that you can use in order to put your ideas from your voice onto the computer.

    If you have a problem of being too nervous, just do what so many famous writers have done before you, do something to relax yourself. This could mean lowering the lights, turning on some good music, putting your feet in an epsom salt bath, drinking a few glasses of wine, whatever makes YOU relaxed. Try it and see how things go.
     
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    You say you're on a shared computer? Nearly all newish computers have partitions, where you can establish your own private space. You'll need to sign in and out every time you use it, but that would be a plan.
     
  14. KatieValino
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    KatieValino Member

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    You could try keeping audio notes of your ideas too so you can further analyse your ideas later on and then put them into paper form. It could help you get into a process when it comes to your writing and at least keep a hold of the wonderful ideas and characters you create
     
  15. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    I suggest you sit down at the beginning of a writing session and literally write down letter by letter what you're thinking. You can write anything from a sentence to a couple of chapters this way. Then give yourself a well deserved break and come back to edit what you wrote into the best it can be later. Then move on to the next paragraph or page or whatever. Rinse and repeat. Then read through and edit the entire work again, and, voila, book finished. It feels pretty darned great, trust me.

    Good luck. :)

    PS. Oh, and if this system doesn't work for you for whatever reason, just try other approaches. Hopefully other people here have or will give you other great advice as well. We're all different and need to find our own style and schedule and everything, so don't panic.
     
  16. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try getting into the habit of writing things down, things NOT related to you stories or ideas. Just get used to writing down your thoughts, sort of like a diary, but less formal and don't worry about the quality of the writing.
     
  17. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    If you don't want the others who share the computer to see your writing, you can save your writings on a Flash drive or Google docs instead of the computer hard drive.
     
  18. stormr
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    stormr Member

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    Sounds almost exactly like my first post on these forums here. I had exactly the same problem, had tons of great ideas, I could play out a story in my head for days, but when it came to sitting down and writing (typing for me) I just couldn't get anything down, also the wierd feeling of 'What if someone else reads this on here'. One thing I did first was make a new folder for just my work, I labeled it inconspicuously like a program folder, I labeled mine as astxf and placed it in the program files folder, most people don't snoop around in those folders. Just some random letters but in the folders it looks like it should be there. That worked quite well at hiding my personal folder and work from others. I no longer need that folder since it's all on my own laptop now, but I still do it anyways. Extra security feelings I guess.

    Another thing that actually helped me greatly, probably the single biggest thing, was I found in a forum for a group of people that like to discuss certain subjects that I also love talking about. It was for a custom video site, they had a forum for discussing scripts for new videos clips. I started talking to another guy about his writing and since we had similar tastes and ideas, we talked back and forth in PM's for awhile and shared ideas. That's actually how I managed to get my first short story written, then sent it to him to look over, he sent me stories to look over as well.

    Obviously being new to writing myself then, I didn't know much about grammar, and flow of the stories, but between collaborating with him for a while, my stories come right out now, I can spend 4 or 5 hours now, just sitting here and type out some 20 or more page story with ease. The more yo write, the more you know basically.

    Go find people who also talk about your passions, wether cars, music, movies, and talk with them you'll find that typing out messages is a great way to start your own writing. Now I personally haven't written anything big or great, all i tend to write so far is just short stories usually under 30 pages per story, or around 1500-10000 words. But they have all been focused on a certain niche type thing. Eventually this will get my skills built up enough to write out some nice large story based on something else in the future. And it's a great way to get started at writing.
     
  19. Pooker
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    Pooker New Member

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    There are online creative writing classes you can take. Check out Gotham Writers Workshops. I've taken a few courses and they have been very helpful. Maybe also setting aside a specific time each day to write and just write anything. Maybe you'll just get in the habit of writing. Hope this helps!
     
  20. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've already got a pretty good routine going, but sometimes the block hits when I need to write a school paper or some such, but I overcome it using a method I picked up from Geoff Tompson: he essentially said whenever he can't get further than a blank page, he just starts to write about things around him, what he's doing at that instant, what he's thinking at that instant (even if he's thinking of writing down what he's thinking). After about half a page - a page, the block is gone and the writing starts flowing again and I can write what I originally sat down to write.

    If you can't afford a laptop / minilaptop (love the latter for traveling 'cause I much prefer physical keyboards to touch pads), you can use a public / shared computer, but if you can't create your own password protected profile, you can always either hide your writing folder like someone already suggested (make it look like something else) or you can actually hide it so that you have to change settings to make it visible. That ought to be possible in most modern operating systems. Or you can buy a cheap memory stick and save your story on it, but remember to always copy the file on the computer's hard drive before you start working on it in case the file gets corrupted (memory sticks do that sometimes). Then, when you finish, just copy the file on the memory stick and delete the one from the hard drive. Or you can use a cloud service like DropBox. You need a password to access it and at least that way you can't lose your story or it can't get accidentally destroyed (both can happen with a memory stick) and you can access it with every computer that has internet access (so no need to remember to take it with you, even).

    And if you're a complete beginner, I do recommend checking out a few how-to books. They might give you some additional ideas.

    Good luck.
     

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