1. Evarnae
    Offline

    Evarnae New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Australia

    I've always found titles challenging

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Evarnae, Dec 12, 2013.

    Greetings from Australia! I've never been very good at writing about myself but I always give my best. I'm a not-quite-20 year old hailing from one of the only places down under that regularly gets blanketed in snow. I live with my dear old dad and I have a loving, close relationship with my parents that is more like friends than family. I have two dogs, two cats, one chicken and 6 chicks, all of which are beyond cute and fiercely adored.

    I have a weird relationship with writing. Although it may be completely normal as I don't have anything to compare it to since I don't have any friends, family or acquaintances that fancy themselves as writers. I love ideas and have never been short of an idea for a story, book, film, game, animation. But as far as I can remember I have never liked writing and now I find myself in a unenviable state where I want nothing more than to write but I can find no joy in it. Throughout my life I have been told that I have a gift for writing that should be nurtured and I have always received top marks for anything writing-related and even had a few writing jobs. I say this not to inflate my ego or brag to you marvelous folk but to give you an idea of the problem I face. I have so many plots, settings, and characters that are fighting for mental standing room but I never feel the desire to write. I have tried to write using all the usual tricks such as carrying around a notebook for those strikes of inspiration, setting myself a timer and attempting to write like a mad woman for that time, but no words seem to want to flow onto the page. I would love your input on how, if you've ever faced a situation like this, you have or would overcome the dilemma I'm having of plenty of idea but a drought of words.

    I am drawn to writing because I feel storytelling is what I was born to do. All I have ever wanted to do is to tell stories in all their forms - books and writing, film and television, plays, theatre, music, and art. I fervently believe that stories are what define us as human beings and I can think of nothing more fulfilling than the creation of something that is capable or moving that very human heart, mind and soul to a multitude of different states.

    I think that's a pretty good introduction. I'm looking forward to meeting all of you and working with you to help solve your writing problems, help me solve my writing problems and maybe even collaborate on a project together.
     
  2. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,836
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Welcome to the forum. :)

    There is a bubble, a wall, a thickening of the atmosphere that lies between us as thinkers and us as writers. The tool to get you through that wall, to get you to the other side where the enjoyment you feel lacking in the task itself becomes present and combustible as fuel for furtherance is the act itself. Bit of a Catch 22, aye? The act is the wall is the remedy. Push forward, young writer. Push. ;)

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

    Have fun! :D

    Wrey
     
  3. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,929
    Likes Received:
    5,463
    Can you go into more detail about what happens when you try to write?

    I tend to blame many of the world's ills on perfectionism, so perfectionism is my first guess at a diagnosis--that words enter your mind, get halfway to your fingers, and a perhaps subconscious part of your brain says, "That's not publishable. That's not brilliant. That's not lyrical. Don't type it. Wait for something better."

    Alternatively, but still IMO about perfectionism, maybe you don't demand lyrical brilliance but maybe you still demand a comfortable flow of words from your storytelling mind to the page/screen, and when everything comes out in fits and starts and stutters, you assume that you're doing it "wrong" and you should stop until you feel that you're doing it "right".

    The second is my problem. While I have accepted it logically, I still struggle to accept emotionally that the movies in my head are not going to pour out onto the computer screen. It's instead a multi-step process without the connections between the steps that would have expected.

    I see the movie in my head. (That's how I experience the stories that I conjure up.) I write, and what I write feels like the roughest cartoon sketch of the action of the movie, a sketch that doesn't seem worth writing when I write it. I let it sit. I come back later and read it, and try to let the words, in a slow, creaky way, *create* a movie in my head, and I edit the words not to recapture the original movie that inspired me, but to improve the movie that the words are now producing. That movie is not the one that was in my head before I started writing--even if the events and dialogue are the same, it's still fundamentally different. But increasingly, it's a movie that I'm not sorry to have written. And the further I get from my memory of the original, the more pleased I tend to be with what I've created.

    But that's hard to accept, knowing that my original inspiration, what drove me to write in the first place, is all but guaranteed to be *lost*. I still have to finish accepting that what I write will, at best, be "inspired by" those first thoughts. Now, with enough writing I may someday learn what gets lost and what gets preserved, and my head may learn to produce movies that I *can* get closer to, when I write. But I'm probably a few million written words away from that place.

    So I give the usual advice: "Just write." Acknowledge that you will not write something brilliant. Acknowledge that it won't come out in a comfortable flow. Acknowledge that it may not closely resemble the story in your head, or in fact may not resemble it at all. If you can't bear that, then don't even use your story idea; start with something utterly prosaic. But write. I'm confident that you're physically capable of writing *something*.

    An example of "something":

    John woke up. He stared at the ceiling. There were more bugs in the lightshade. He sat up. He climbed out of bed and put on his shoes. He went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror...

    Yes, it's boring, boring, boring. That's not the point. The point is to get your fiction writing muscles working *at all*. To put words depicting fictional events on paper or a screen, no matter how boring those events are, no matter how pedestrian your prose is. When I did NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago, fifty thousand words in one month, twelve thousand of those words in one day, I barely produced a single word worth preserving, but I came out with *much* more effective writing muscles. Just forcing words through the machinery helped tune that machinery, and I later produced a few short pieces that I liked very much--not enough to consider trying to get then published, but all the same, I liked them.

    It will be a struggle; your brain may insist over and over and over and over "This is just stupid. Stop." And you need to bulldoze past that part of your brain and keep writing.

    I also find that when I can't write fiction, I can very often write nonfiction, posts for my blog and so on. I don't know if it's good or bad to allow myself to write that nonfiction--is it keeping my writing muscles working, or is it exercising the "wrong" muscles? I read somewhere that horseback riding and swimming develop muscles in fundamentally incompatible ways, so that you shouldn't do them both if you're serious about one or the other; is the same true of fiction and nonfiction?

    One thing that I try to do is find ways to make a scrap of writing more fun in the moment, to find a gimmick and go with it. For example, I look at my tiny bit above, with the "more bugs in the lightshade". It could be fun to expand on a pessimistic attitude in John, an attitude that sees nothing but the bad:

    John woke up. He stared at the ceiling. There were more bugs in the lightshade. Some of them looked as if they might cause a permanent stain. He sat up. The mattress squeaked the way it always did. Probably going to annoy the neighbors, they'd probably complain to the landlord. He climbed out of bed and put on his socks. Another hole in the toe. He stuffed his feet into his shoes. They were still damp from being out in the rain yesterday; the naked toe quailed from the cold leather. He went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Beard's scruffy today. Need a haircut. Never made it to the dry cleaner's; no clean shirts. Have to wear a used one. Probably get fired. He trudged to the laundry basket. Overflowing. Jane always used to do the laundry...

    He sat down heavily on the edge of the kitchen chair. (Squeaks. Vinyl upholstry cracked.) Jane. It was all different with Jane.


    Hmmm. I seem to have found the reason for John's relentless grumpiness and a reason for the plodding "Blah. Blah. Blah." pace of this scrap. I haven't created a story, but I have had a very brief moment of creation. I enjoyed it. And that's why I recommend "just write". It starts on on a path that may lead to being able to write what you want, and once in a while you enjoy it.
     
    Wreybies likes this.
  4. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,836
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    ^-- Most in-depth welcome evah! :D
     
  5. Evarnae
    Offline

    Evarnae New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks for the welcome Wrey and Chicken :)

    Thank you so much for making such an in-depth comment Chicken, I really enjoyed reading it and I really appreciate it. I think in my writing perfectionism and the fear of failure plays a big role, like you said. But the thing is, I'm aware of that problem, I'm conscious of whether or not I'm holding myself back due to fear. I find that most of the time I actually like what I've written, I've never gotten the stage with fiction that I've said to myself 'yep, I'm proud of that, I did good' but I rarely if ever dislike my work or think it's terrible (except of course, when it is!). What's usually the trouble is that words just don't seem to come to my mind. I'll occasionally get flashes of inspiration where I have a scene in my head and it just writes itself, a few times before I've written pages and pages of script for a short film or individual scenarios for a book. But often when I go to write it feels like there's a dam in my head and the words just won't come through, I know they're there but for whatever reason I just find it so hard to bring them to the fore.

    I really think your and Wrey's suggestion of just writing and building up those writing muscles is a great idea. I know it'll be difficult at the start, as all new exercises are, but hopefully in the long run I'll grow as a writer .
     

Share This Page