1. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    My enthusiasm is fading, and it's a terrible feeling.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Greenwood, Sep 28, 2015.

    The thing I am having a hard time with of late is that I can't find the drive to write everyday. I think about my writing every day, I develop my story in my head every day, I read on this board everyday, I even work out little documents with all the traits and information about my world and characters almost every day, and yet still, when I open that only word document that really matters, it can go two ways:

    1. I get into it, but since I work a full-time job and my weekends are mostly filled with social responsibilities, time is limited, and before I know it the clock says 11PM and it's time to hit my pillow if I don't want to feel like having slept in the woods at work.

    2. I stare at my page for 15 minutes, type some sentences, then think "nah, this isn't it". I then hit that cross in the top-right corner of my screen in despair and watch a movie or read some news sites, ridden with guilt.

    What I find strange is that it wasn't always like this. I used to race back from work and get going, loving every minute I spent editing sentences or letting it just flow out from my keyboard. I feel disconnected, and it's a terrible feeling. It feels like a part of me that I love and I know I need to develop is slowly fading away. Perhaps it's analysis-paralysis that has taken a hold of me. Perhaps I think too much about this all instead of just doing it and thinking about what matters; my stories.

    I guess it might just be a stage every aspiring writer goes through at some point, but right now I feel hopeless and detest myself for being such a procrastinator (I know I'm not, but it feels that way).

    Have you ever experienced something like this? And if so, how did you handle it?
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Yes. Two things you can do, in my experience:

    1) Take a break from writing, including all the associated activities, and re-charge your creative batteries. The risk here is you don't know how long it will take and you could end up feeling worse with every passing day. My last break lasted four months but man, I was hot on writing when I came back.

    2) Write through it. Just sit down and type for however long you decide without reading anything back or worrying about the quality. Churn out as much unintelligible crap as you can in your time limit. More likely to get you back into good-writing mode and you might even get some useful work out of it. Often when I feel like I'm writing absolutely rubbish, when I read it back it's 10x better than I was expecting.
     
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  3. Delrohir
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    Delrohir Member

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    I have to say I have felt this a couple of times, it's not quiet writer's block it's just... ehhh

    I personally think it is the way our brains are naturally wired, to write fiction is a big mental effort, and to carve that out whilst working a full time job is really hard. What I did to beat this was to take one day off a week, on a weekend or something not an official day off. Throughout the entire week I'd jot notes of what I would write and then in that day I would aim to get 10,000 words done. Doesn't have to be great quality I can spend odd moments during the week editing it and making it just how I want it, practicing my craft.

    However that one day a week, it a marriage between myself and the book I am writing, the creation I am carving. On that one day a week, even for 5 or 6 hours of that day, that is the most important thing and comes first.

    Hope this helps :)

    -Del.
    :supercool:
     
  4. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    Thanks Tenderiser, these are some helpful tips. The first might be worth it, although I fear it will separate me from my beloved project for too long and all the information I have stored in the back of my head will vanish as well. Still, if all else fails, I will do this.

    The second one; I will definitely try that. I'm not that person though, and perhaps that is my problem really. I'm too much of a perfectionist when it comes to this. I've never been the one that writes "first drafts" in a matter of weeks (or months, even). I can easily spend 2 weeks writing one chapter and then spend 2 months on perfecting it in the way I feel is best, but it's never enough. I need to let go of this internal break, or I will never complete anything. And now that I think of it it's funny, because the moments I actually did let go, these were the moments in which I produced the stuff I so frantically edited and perfected later on. But in the end, these were the only moments in which I actually produced something.

    Yeah, now that you mention it, working full-time and making up this whole thing really is hard. Before a couple of months ago (when I got a promotion at work, plus a load of responsibility and headaches) I would be able to just "float" through the day, planting stickers at products and shipping them off to God-knows-where on an automatic pilot while thinking of my book and writing notes all day in between. But now I just can't do that anymore, and its having its toll. Now, I need to focus all day, and I realise all that time "floating" was really useful. I'm going to try your advise for a couple of weeks, see if it helps.
     
  5. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I used to be exactly the same. Like you said, it was only when I let go of that that I actually got anywhere. And, funnily enough, my writing got better. I don't really have any advice for how to get there - I just had a 'light bulb moment' one day and got it - but give it a go!
     
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  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    We all have our styles. I write by scenes which are essentially chapters and I skip around. I was having a hard time with a village scene but as soon as I skipped over it to one of the later scenes, I'm happy again with how it's turning out. I still have to go back to the village scene, but I know it will be easier after a break from it.
     
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  7. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    There's a time for writing and there's a time for living.
     
  8. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is me to a T.

    Although having said that, this last bout of the writing bug I had was quite different, and there was an air of confidence that I've never known before. I learned a lot over the last few months and felt as though a number of things 'clicked' into place, in terms of the writing process.

    Usually my enthusiasm peters out in much the way you describe, and even though this bout has ended in much the same way, namely me giving up, it wasn't because I lost enthusiasm, it was because I lost hope.

    The more I write, and the more I read about other people's struggles with the process, the more I realise the simple ability to even finish a coherent novel has very little to do with artistic ability. It takes a very strong mind, iron determination, and unquestionable belief in your ability.

    Whether that belief is misplaced is beside the point, because in my opinion a bad writer who sees a novel through to the end - rewrites and edits included - has a far stronger mind and better chance of success than a good writer who continually gives up.
     
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  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    You don't have to write every damn day, after al writers are people too and sometimes we want to do other things as well. You could try and schedule a few days a week for writing and in those days make sure you don't leave the computer or let anything distract you until you've written your quota, whether it's one page, 1000 words or one scene. For me, it's always difficult at first, before I've warmed up but once I get started and get into my story and the words seem to flow, I almost have to force myself to stop.
    I Think you've just got a case of procrastinating and the problem is, when you never get into that wonderful state where you're totally absorbed by your story, eventually the enthusiasm fades. It's like a relationship, you have to work at it, day by day, in order to keep the love alive. That enthusiasm is nothing you can take for granted, or that will magically emerge if you just wait, rather the opposite. Writing a novel is a daunting task and it's normal to feel overwhelmed from time to time, but if you just keep at it, the enthusiasm will come back.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  10. Greenwood
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    Greenwood Active Member

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    You're right. Losing hope may even be a better description than enthusiasm. I haven't lost that hope yet, and refuse to give up, but lately when I'll sit down it just doesn't come. I'm going to try out skipping over to better developed points in my story and see if I can work these out. First though, I'll try to get my time management together like Delrohir and Tesoro said. I think that at this moment I have forced the whole writing thing upon myself in a way that doesn't make it fun anymore and takes away a lot of the magic for me.

    And while at first writing does indeed seem like artistic ability, I figured out that the only artistic things that come out of it come because of back-breaking labour (figuratively speaking, ofcourse)

    Agh..don't worry about me though folks. I love the kind and constructive replies you have all given me. Instead of wallowing over my situation your help has given me some valuable insights on how to re-energize myself for the task ahead. After all, this writing is awesome and not worth giving up on. Greatly appreciate it. Sorry if this comment seems a bit unordered and chaotic, its early in here and I need some coffee. :)
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I feel bad for you, @Greenwood , because it sounds as if you're really trying. You're definitely not a procrastinator. In fact, you've kept on keeping on even when things aren't working for you.

    However, I'm also sensing that you've added 'I must write' to the long list of stuff you need to do during the day. You end up trying to do it when you're exhausted, and should actually be in your bed. So you're just putting even more pressure on yourself, which is complicating the issue.

    Is there some way you could re-work your frame of mind so that your writing becomes your refuge from the sturm and drang of 'life' rather than just another life goal you must meet?

    Perhaps you're trying to do it too often. It's a total fallacy that you must write 'every day.' You can write any time that suits your schedule best. Maybe limit it to weekends only, but make sure you GET that time on weekends. Let other people know you have something to do that can't be mucked with. (You don't need to tell people you're writing. If you do, they will also start putting pressure on you. When can I read it? Aren't you done yet? When is it going to be published? What is it 'about?' Etc.)

    You do have to be proactive to get your time to write. Insist upon it. Look at it as your rest time, the part of the week you most look forward to, the bit that will kill you if you miss it. And don't be apologetic about taking it.

    You're living a full life at present, and you do need time to yourself. If you told somebody that you were going fishing, or golfing, or you want to watch a particular TV series, or whatever your leisure activity might be, you would be allowed your hobby. This is no different. Make it your time. And make it something you look forward to. It's the quiet time itself, not the product, that counts. In other words, don't beat yourself about the shoulders if you spend a couple of hours writing on the weekend and it doesn't work out. It's taking that time that's important. Once you relax about your product and allow it to find its own way to excellence, your enthusiasm will probably return.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
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