1. amiwriter
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    amiwriter New Member

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    Is it the dreads or is writing really for me?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by amiwriter, Sep 29, 2011.

    I'm in a bit of a conundrum right now.
    I've been planning and planning my writing schedule, but I've been procrastinating BIG TIME. I dread sitting my butt on a chair and writing because I fear that I'm not good enough, I fear that maybe I like the idea of writing more than actually doing it, I fear that I won't better my skills, and I fear that I might waste my time when I can explore other activities.

    But there are times that when I finally do write, that I feel like that is what I'm supposed to be doing. I often dream of scenes and characters in my head that I just have to get down on paper, but there's an inkling of dread of actually typing it all down.

    Have any of you ever felt like this?
     
  2. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    One thing I wish I'd learned many years sooner than I did: that fear is pretty near ubiquitous among writers. It's the rule, not the exception. When I was younger, I thought it was just me.
     
  3. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I've had that feeling.

    I dream of scenes as well and when I actually write, it feels awesome.Though I rarely feel the dread now - mainly since I feel I will muck it up and lose the "perfect" ideas I have. Keep some writing material with you at all times and try this: once you feel an idea, rant, or whatnot coming on, think it and write it down. Be spontaneous. If you start thinking of a scene as you fall asleep, wake up and work with it. After you finish it, just fall asleep and worry about editing it in the morning.

    If you take any joy out of writing, then yes, writing is for you.
     
  4. Metus
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    Metus Senior Member

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    I know what you mean. It happens to me all the time. It's happening to me right now, in fact. That's why I'm posting on this forum instead of writing a book. It didn't happen so much when I was really young, back when I didn't care what I wrote and didn't understand what makes a book good. Now that I'm older, though, I'm filled with dread all the time. It's been. . . wow- a year- since I wrote anything serious. I'm mortified, and it gets worse the longer I wait, because I'm uncertain if I've retained my abilities in the time I've been putting it off. I have this good plot and great characters, but I don't want to actually start writing for fear of messing something up.

    Speaking of, I think I'm going to start writing again in a few hours. I feel like I have to, after typing this post out and examining myself a bit.
     
  5. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    The answer I've found for myself is: be scared, and write anyway. You can't help whether you're scared or not, you DO choose whether you let it stop you from writing.
     
  6. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    Believe me, I know what its like. I went through a stage like this, and grew out of it fairly quick, and I'm glad I'm back into it. Let's hope this happens to you :)
     
  7. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    The fear you're feeling could come from a couple different places. One, is that one of the reasons we write is to share our ideas. So that means others will read our masterpiece-- and possibly critique or even reject-- all that hard work that you've just put forth. To find out you might not be as polished as you thought, or have weaknesses you never imagined can be scary indeed. And second, the idea that a first draft is likely going to need some revision, meaning you'll have to cut and hack, and add and change and move and who knows what else. A lot more work ahead can also be quite scary.

    But as others have said, if you find joy in the story or idea that's dancing in your head, and the desire to put on the page is bordering on overwhelming, then write. The fear won't likely go away, but if you keep on writing, you just might eventually push it aside at least to the point where it won't have a negetive impact on you.
     
  8. jillmcdc
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    jillmcdc New Member

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    Hi. Dare I suggest that maybe you are doing TOO much planning? Sometimes just to write when the feeling takes you can result in better work than if you plan for days. Have you tried poetry? You probably have, but that is short and sweet, and not as scary as attempting something like a novel for your first piece. Break in to it gently, and with the help of sites like this, you will get there. If you become serious, and start to send work to publishers, do steel yourself for many many rejection letters! But do perservere, start small, and my maxim is - "if you wake up thinking of writing, and you go to sleep thinking of writing", and writing comes unbidden into your head during the day, then you should be writing. Keep a voice recorder near, then you don't lose those immediate thoughts and feelings. Above all, "feel the fear, and do it anyway".
     
  9. amiwriter
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    amiwriter New Member

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    Thanks a lot for the replies! All the uncertainty and frustration that comes with writing peaked for me today, probably because it's so hot and humid.
    I'm going to duck tape my thighs to my chair, face my fears, and just write.
     
  10. emmams
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    emmams New Member

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    Whenever I worry about being good enough, I remember that first drafts are never great. A lot of authors say that editing is what makes a piece of writing spectacular.
    If you want incentive to write and novel writing is your thing, I'd suggest National Novel Writing Month. It starts in November and the challenge is to write an entire novel (50,000 words) in one month. You can track your word count on the website and it gives you a sort of schedule for writing. The entire philosophy is not worrying about the quality of your writing, but just working on getting something down on paper. I participated last year and it helped me a lot with my writing.
    Here's the website: http://www.nanowrimo.org/
     
  11. Caldenfor
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    Caldenfor Member

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    Any sort of legality to worry about with NaNoWriMo?

    It does sound a bit interesting though, but perhaps I could just enforce the task upon myself? Bit of peer pressure I guess.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can you explain this concern a little more? I can't imagine that you're asking whether it's illegal to write 50K words in a month. :) But what do you mean?

    ChickenFreak
     
  13. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    Have you read the book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott? If not, you should go out and get this RIGHT NOW, young lady! :)

    A few quotes, to give you an idea of why you should read this book:

    [Mods: if quoting like this is a no-no, please let me know!]

    "Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. What I’ve learned to do when I sit down to work on a shitty first draft is to quiet the voices in my head."

    "Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist's true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here."

    "Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don't drop-kick a puppy into the neighbor's yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper."

    "Don't look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance."

    "I don't think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won't be good at it."
     
  14. Caldenfor
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    Caldenfor Member

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    I didn't get a chance to dig too deep and I wasn't sure if the work was to be posted in any sort of way to prove that you actually did abide by the rules. If the work were to be posted, would it hinder the future use of the material being used?

    I only asked based on previous fear-mongering that I have read about posting materials on the web and their future complications with publishing/etc.

    I am actually tempted to do the 30 days for 50k words, but I am not sure I will do the NaNoWriMo itself.
     
  15. ShadowScribbler
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    ShadowScribbler Member

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    Being afraid of writing is something we all deal with, and I don't think there's anyone out there who hasn't once wondered if he or she shouldn't just give up and pursue a different dream. If there is something I am trying to reconcile with, it's that it's okay to despair sometimes. It's necessary, even.

    Now, I know that question wasn't for me but I did NaNoWriMo for the first time last year (and completed the challenge, thank you very much!) and it was fantastic. It gives you a realistic goal and a definite path to attain it. Keeping track of your wordcount is somewhat daunting but also exciting. And there's a lot to be gained from seeing that "winner" badge at the end.

    You don't need to worry about your work because if you don't want, you don't have to actually submit it. They require you to validate your word count by copying/pasting your total work BUT they know of our fear of rendering the material useless after that, so they came up with nifty tricks to assure us. You can, for instance, use Microsoft Word to change every vowel in the text to a symbol or number, or a random letter, and thus codify the text. The verifying box does not recognise quality or form, it just counts words. Technically, you can post a Wikipedia article and say you won, it won't change to the machine.

    So don't worry, it's not a submission, just a word counter!
     
  16. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    I had a lt. once who told me “forget your fear and get you chutzpah on”
    Really the only advice I got, other than fear is part of the fun of life. think about when you were a kid and had a bicycle. I imagine like every other kid you took it to the top of the biggest hill you could find and flew down it. it was the fear that made that so much fun.
     
  17. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    Something similar is happening to me, I decided to read a bunch of books I got, though. For inspirational purposes, I guess. Hope it helps.
     

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