1. Bubba
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    Bubba New Member

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    Perhaps I should just quit for good?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Bubba, Jul 9, 2009.

    (I don't know if this section of the forum is the place for this, so I apologize if I should have posted this elsewhere.)

    I have a writing issue that is related to general writing... sort of. The problem is I want to write, but I can't. So it is essentially a writer's block. But it's a bit more complicated than that. I don't want to get into details because it would just be boring. But I can say that that's a large part of the problem. Boredom. Everything I write down feels so... b-o-r-i-n-g.

    I've been wanting to write about certain themes for years. This "project" I have going on right now is about 2-3 years old, and in that time I've managed to write down one single page that I can say I'm satisfied with. In that time I haven't written anything else. I don't want to. I need to write this "thing" I have in my head, but I can't get past that first page.

    So perhaps I should just quit for good. This obsession with this "thing" I need to write down is affecting negatively my life. The problem is whenever I try to quit I just find out I can't. So is it an addiction then?

    I've never been a good writer. I haven't actually finished anything. I can't get past the first few sentences because they always feel so... boring. Meaningless.

    Now I know writer's have blocks. I'm no special. And I've been wondering if anyone else here been struggling with thoughts like these. Then again this is possibly a wrong place to ask this. I guess I should head to www.not writing ever again forums.org.

    Finally, I want to make clear that I'm not after sympathy or encouraging comments. I was thinking that perhaps someone here could give me insightful thoughts that would help me to leave writing and move on. Sometimes it's best to just move on, but it seems I can't do it on my own. I'm too weak to give up. But not everybody has a talent, and some of us can never become rockstars despite the burning desire.
     
  2. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Congratulations! You've come to an important part in your writing career. I'm actually quite serious. Every writer either has reached this point or will at sometime. You've realized thta writing is work on par with the most mundane job or prying yourself out of bed at five a.m. to get that morning run in.

    Gichin Funakoshi, a late, great martial artist, described this same situation. To paraphrase him, sooner or later you will come to the point that your interest in the art begins to wane. this is an entirely natural part of being human. When this comes, you must redouble your efforts until the feeling passes - and it honestly will.
     
  3. Laverick
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    Laverick Member

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    I think I may have had a similar problem.

    I have projects and subjects I keep trying to write about, but can never seem to find the right way to put it. I found there was no point in even trying to seriously write a novel, because I am too anal about how this subject matter is presented.

    I wouldn't say give up, but I did. I'm not going to try write about this subject that I've been trying to write about and try to get it published. I'm not concerned about being published at all or even going beyond hobby right now. My focus is completely on my topic.

    My effort in this area, using forums and groups, has not yielded the results I was looking for. No one has commented on the stories I posted and it's made me self-conscious about posting it elsewhere. Nothing has been posted here.

    When I write it's as if I just need to get rid of this subject. Like I need to release this idea into the world. That's not exactly true, though, is it? It's become more of my own "spiritual" endeavor. I don't know if that makes any sense...

    Anyway, instead of trying to write something long- which I end up getting frustrated with, I've made two document filled to the brim with my personal writing and stories. They are fragments and incomplete piece, the majority of them attempts to get out this one subject that's preoccupied my mind for a while.

    If I ever finish one maybe I'll do something with it. At the very least I'll have the satisfaction of finishing it.

    If I were to write seriously at this point I wouldn't try to make it about this topic. If I had decided to write a novel it would be a genre, entertainment novel. It would be hard, but that would be the way I would have to do it.

    Forum role playing has been a way for me to write without being overly concerned about the subject matter. I really enjoy it, but I also keep up my personal writing. Continuing this bizarre quest to get the idea out of my head and completed.

    I don't know if we're experience the same problem. That's just what happened with me.
    I didn't really get bored, I got boggled down.
     
  4. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Point of clarification: do you find it boring to write, or do you consider the result to be boring to read?

    "Obsession" is the correct word in this context. Addiction is an uncontrollable craving, whereas obsession is an unhealthy focus on something.
     
  5. daturaonfire
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    daturaonfire Senior Member

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    Let my preface this by saying I might have totally misunderstood your first post. If I did, I sincerely apologize.

    I don't think your problem is going to go away if you stop writing. Honestly I don't. If you're obsessed with something, usually there's a reason for obsession. It's important, it matters, it's going to eat you up if you don't get it out. You said you don't want encouragement to keep writing, but I'm not trying to give you a pat on the back here. I'm just telling you what I believe.

    I would not say you're a bad writer because you haven't finished a story. I didn't finish a story for eight years. I thought so many times, it's never going to happen, I'm going to do something else. Be a doctor, an artist, a teacher. But I always wound up back at writing, because I have something to say. Regardless of my own opinion of my woefully inadequate skills, the desire was still there.

    The problem starts when we can't deal with the divide between the story we want to tell and the story that we're capable of telling. I finally accepted that to be the writer I want to be later I have to be the writer that I am now. I finished my first novel last a couple weeks ago. This, from the girl who couldn't write a short story. Is it publishable? Seriously, it's not even readable. But it's *there* and I learned so much. And maybe someday I'll be the published writer I've always wanted to be. But I'm not thinking about it right now. Right now, I'm writing.

    Listen. If you've invested two years of your life in a project you need to finish it, not walk away. I realize you said your writing bores you; then don't start page one, start where you're interested in starting. Really, does it make a difference if it's boring? Before there was nothing at all on that page--at least it's got stuff on it now. It's the best you can do right now. Accept it and move on. If it's not perfect, if it's not even readable, that's okay. You can write another story about your subject, and that one will be better. I think the biggest obstacle a writer can face is the disappointment of realizing a project is not going to be everything you imagined. But if you can get past that, it's so worth it.

    I'm sorry if this isn't what you were looking for, or if it didn't answer your question. I'm just thinking out loud.
     
  6. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    Get a tape recorder and tell your story to it. When its done decide if you'd like to see it on paper or not.
     
  7. UnknownBearing
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    UnknownBearing Contributing Member

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    I can only tell you what I and some of my friends have done.

    if you are honest to God bored with what you're writing, then it will be boring to read. Quitting is not how i'd put it. i hit a block with the 4th chapter of my novel Flashpoint. I have the entire story in my head, everything planned out, i just simply lost the will to write more. i dont know if it was just that part specifically, or the whole idea i became bored with. i like to think the former. so right now, i'm just setting it aside for a moment. i'm going to let it sit in my brain while i work on my other novel. i'm not giving it up, i'm just hoping that i'll have a brilliant idea that will spark interest in me, and i'll be able to write it again, or that in time the novel will seem appealing to me once more, just as it was.

    but friend had trouble with a story he had. all i know is that in the end, he took many of the same elements from that story, and fused them with another idea he had. yes, the old story was indeed very good and had an amazing twist, but the new idea that emerged was also very very intriguing and had a shocking twist as well, but with a TOTALLY new plot and concept. the twist in the new story wasnt as large scale, but to the character, it was monumental.

    so either way, at this point i think you're just gonna have to wait until you get new ideas. until then, try your best to see how you could possibly make your story more interesting, right now.
     
  8. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try getting past the first few lines. Your style for each piece will take some time to surface. Just WRITE. Get stuff on paper and worry about making it readable later.

    My drafts read like this:

    Seriously. When I draw a blank I leave a note on the rought concept I was looking for and move past it. re-writes are our friend, and so lets get out money's worth outta them :)
     
  9. FrankB
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    FrankB Member

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    Once a writer (of a certain age, in particular) manages to tear his/her gaze away from his/her own navel - s/he'll find all sorts of interesting things and people and places to write about. Look around. (Yes, outside yourself.) Really see. Listen until you hear. Feel and think until you're pretty sure you understand.

    Then write about it.

    Repeat until you get it right.

    Then submit it.

    You'll have taken the first step towards being a "real" writer. It's almost like getting a tattoo. Or learning a secret handshake.

    Writers filter experience. If we limit ourselves to our own, of course it would become boring! We need to project ourselves (imaginarily*) into the lives of others. We need to read, to watch tv and eavesdrop on conversations in restaurants and buses. Our job is to communicate the human experience, as perceived through our unique filters, and learn and grow as we do so.

    *Coined a word! Mine! Stampsies! No rubs out!
     
  10. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that until you can get over needing your writing to be bestselling book material, you'll agonize over your words.

    Maybe try this. Try writing a little bit every day. Just go to the keyboard and write from your subconscious (note: I've been reading Ayn Rand lately, lol). Allow for it to be worthless crap. Write about anything that comes to mind--the weather, the movies you've seen lately, the cost of sour worms. Let your words just jump around, be twisted and muddled and nonsensical even. Write one page of this kind of worthless writing every day. Get used to letting your mind give you words, sentences, and then type them. But remember, it has to be just utter, useless junk that nobody will consider important. No one needs to see this stuff. But your mind & spirit will eventually get used to spewing words from the subconscious. It will free you a little to where you feel less embarrassed, less judgmental of your writing. Then come back and post and tell us if it helped at all. Anyway, just a suggestion. :)
     
  11. Sabih Omar
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    Sabih Omar Member

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    A writers life is a dog's life but the only life worth living. (Gustave Fleuvert)

    I have the same problem as you. I see and think about lots of things that can make epic pieces. I just can't write them. But if I don't even try to write, the pressure keeps mounting. The only way out of this frustration is writing. My advice is: Write. Write anything. From diaries to assignments, from blog posts to facebook status, everything is worth it.

    Once when I had no internet, I used to keep diaries and write my stories on the back of notebooks. It was really frustrating to see that no one's reading them. But now the internet has made my writings available to thousands of people. I write in blogs, I write in e-zines, I write in forums and when I have nothing to write in these places I write in Facebook! Nothing encourages a writer more than appreciation. If you know that whatever you are writing will be read throughout the world, you need no other motivation.

    So DONT quit. You have just started. I may give you some hint about what I do when I face a block.

    1. As the post above mentions: unconscious writing. It's not only fun to do. It provides you fresh ideas.

    2. I write short things like short notes or Haiku. A haiku is a three-liner form of poetry and a great healer of writer's block :)

    3. I read something, in most cases history.

    4. If nothing helps, I don't care. I do not live on writing :p
     
  12. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I've briefly read the other posts and I must admit that I am apparently different. I don't write for fun. Oh god, if I wanted to have fun I'd get drunk and try to go get arrested. Instead, I spend my hours toiling on something that may never be seen by another set of eyes. Then again, I fervently work, even now at this late hour, to edit a book which I hope millions of people will read. I'll probably fall asleep around 5AM and wake up around 8AM, then I'll go back to editing and writing my synopsis for the dozens of literary agents who have the misfortune of being my victim.

    Will I get published? Honestly, I haven't a clue. I could say I will be, but the truth is I don't know. Hell, maybe the world will end tomorrow and it won't matter. Nevertheless, I am still going to write and edit. I'll be doing it until the very day I end up dying. Even if I go blind I'll write, but I'll find some poor schmuck to do it for me as I dictate. I always wanted to be a dictator.

    What's my point in all of this? I can't quit writing, even if I learned to hate it. I'm nothing more than a sadist or one of those weird shoe fetishists who hangs out near the Adidas factory. Could you give up eating your favorite meal? What if it gave you heartburn every time you did? Well, you may find a way around it, but eventually you'll sneak it in every now and then and suddenly you're addicted again. So if you want to quit then fine, you're a better man than I am. However, you'll never get anywhere. It may take me a hundred years, but I'll publish something someday and I'll reap the rewards. Sure, I may suffer for it, but oh well.

    I'm not saying this to discourage you or even insult you, but rather to tell you that being a writer is in itself misery. You are the creator of an entire world, you've shaped lives and, with any luck, those who read of your tales will be influenced. If you want to do anything in life, it will be hard. In fact, if it were easy then why would you even bother to do it? Instead of focusing on the pain, focus on the process. Stop letting your mind control your body. That's the problem with us, we tend to avoid our natural flow. Instead of just letting ourselves explode into a thousand little pieces, we bound them so tightly next to one another that they are impossible to move and they become a solid, fat little ball that is useless to us.

    Find whatever it is that gives you whatever you call solace and write. Don't let your thoughts get in the way. Grammatical errors can be fixed, you can add details later on, and you can make it all nice and shiny for whoever wants to read it. If you never get it out, however, no one will ever know it even exists.
     
  13. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Get yourself a dictaphone, they're small and relatively cheap, and take time out to air your thoughts. Sit in a park or near water, or wherever the paranoia of being interrupted won't affect your flow. Allow the beauty of life ease your worries and open your heart and mind to allow out what you have trapped inside. Forget about the page for the time being and focus instead on formulating your thoughts. You'll find you don't even have to listen back to it. Give it a try. :)
     
  14. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I totally get the feeling of being bored with what you are writing. I get that way too.

    Sometimes it is the entire story, characters, setting, situations that have become boring to me (though usually, I hit about the 10k mark before I end up bored,) it has happened on the first page.

    Sometimes, it's just the way I'm writing something that is boring me to tears.

    Sometimes, it's that something else has popped into my head that seems more exciting than what I am currently working on, so I get bored with the current project.

    There have been several stories along my years of writing that made me want to quit. But I haven't.

    I had to accept that not everything I write is gold, in fact most of it is crap covered in more crap. I have to allow myself to write the crap to get it out of my system, before something actually good comes out.

    If you've been writing this story for a while, though most of the writing has been happening in your head, you have to decide what you want to do with it. Why are you blocked at the first page? And if it is truly because you are bored with what you are writing, then you probably shouldn't write it.

    However, boredom can be a symptom of a deeper problem. The fear of failure. You may not admit it to yourself, and the boredom might cover it up, but under there, if you weren't afraid of failing then you wouldn't consider quitting.

    Writing is not just something that takes no skill at all. It takes hours, months, years to learn to craft a story in an exciting way that keeps the reader entertained. It is something that has to be practiced, critiqued, and practiced some more.

    And, from my psychology point of view, you can choose to stop obsessing whenever you want. If the story is boring you, then why are you obsessing about it? One reason I can think, is because you know you will never finish it because you don't really like it. Thus you never actually have to start writing anything, because now you have "writers block" which is a totally fictional state of being.

    Obviously, you can write something, you wrote on here. It isn't that you can't write, it's that you don't want to write a story and have it suck.

    There are two things you can do.

    1. just start writing your story. Put down anything. It doesn't matter if it is boring, bad, or makes your eyes bleed when you read it back to yourself. You need to put some of the story down on paper to see if it is the story that you don't like, or if you are just afraid to write.

    Other option:

    2. Write something new. Stop thinking about the story you can't write, and find some inspiration writing something else. Do a 1000 word short story on something, anything, pick a disease, or a situation, and write a little snippet of time about it.

    There is another thing that can get your juices flowing, read other people's writing. Not just books, because books can make us feel like more of failures, but other non-published writers short stories.

    On here there are plenty to choose from. Give some critiques. Then maybe try your hand at a short story or the opening of your book and post it up for us to have a go at it. The worst thing that can happen...well...I don't think anyone here would tell you to quit writing, not matter how bad the writing...so there isn't anything that can happen to you that is bad.

    If a story doesn't want to come out yet, it's like a baby, it hasn't incubated enough to be born yet...so give it some time and try not to think about it. Inspiration comes when we aren't looking for it.
     
  15. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    I think you mean masochist.

    Unless you write specifically to torment your readers, anyway.
     
  16. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    Nope, I torture others with my writing.
     
  17. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    The comments by everyone above are really helpful for me! :)

    Thought I'd add here some quotes about writing that I also find helpful/inspirational/comforting (in the misery loves company kind of way, lol):

    "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
    Maya Angelou

    "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
    Ernest Hemingway

    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple."
    Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums)

    "If you love to write, then write. Don't let your goal be having a novel published, let your goal be enjoying your stories.
    Stephenie Meyer

    "All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know."
    Ernest Hemingway

    "The first draft of anything is sh!t."
    Ernest Hemingway

    "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."
    Stephen King

    "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."
    Margaret Atwood

    "Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand."
    George Orwell

    "Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it."
    Flannery O'Connor

    "You can fix anything but a blank page."
    Nora Roberts

    "Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a sh!tty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it."
    Anne Lamott

    "Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open."
    Natalie Goldberg

    "When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."
    Kurt Vonnegut
     
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  18. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Haha, those quotes are great, Marina. Thanks for posting them.:D
     
  19. JavaMan
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    JavaMan Senior Member

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    To add to that Marina, someone once said something like:

    The hardest thing about writing is simply finding the right words.

    Thanks for the read, BTW!
     
  20. Bubba
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    Bubba New Member

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    Wow, I was surprised to see so many posts. Thanks for your replies. It'll take me a while to think through all the things you've said.

    Though I'm surprised to see that so many share my thoughts atleast to some extent. Before I always had the assumption that especially most amateur writers were really productive and their texts formed relatively easily.

    The latter. Everything I manage to write down feels boring to read. Though I constantly keep asking why would anyone bother reading what I've written, the bigger problem is I can't make that stuff interesting to even myself. The base idea itself is interesting, it's just that whenever I try to formulate it into words it looses its attractiveness and becomes boring.
     
  21. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Oh hell no. The more experienced I get, the more critical I get, and in many ways the harder it gets.
     
  22. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Very true. The more you learn, the higher your standards for yourself go, and the harder it is to reach them.

    But the encouraging part is, I can look back over things I wrote even as little as a few months ago, and nearly cringe and see a hundred ways I could have done it better. You do get better little bits at a time.
     
  23. Bubba
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    Bubba New Member

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    So no light at the end of the tunnel for me then :D
     
  24. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Actually there is a light. Those little, "I should quit" moments actually get easier to push aside.
     
  25. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    First I want to say "HA!" to that first bit about formulating prose easily. That made me laugh out loud and made my kitten jump off the table sending my mouse flying across the floor.

    Your second part, I totally can relate. I can't tell you how many stories I have scrapped over the years because I ended up realizing that they were boring as hell and no one, not even me, would want to read it.

    The last couple of writing projects, mind you this is five years into really writing on a full time basis and at least 50 short stories and falsely started novels later, have actually been interesting to me. I start out with a brilliant idea, then once the fingers hit the keys it seems to fizzle out. I can't explain why, just something faulting with the storyline and the way it's coming out of my head.

    These last few have had smaller flaws, character issues, some plot line inconsistencies, and my attention deficit disorder kicks in, and I lost interest in writing them.

    So I put everything aside, saved on countless discs and memory sticks, and will go back to it someday.

    The story I am working on right now, seems to be holding my interest, characters are developing nicely, and the story line appears to be sound. All in all, I might finally have a finished novel in a few months. Hopefully.

    Just keep plugging away at it. I don't know how many times I have said, "That's it. I can't write. I suck. I'll never write a story another person would want to read. I'm done." Then I wouldn't write any type of fiction or non-fiction, save for chatting on forums, and I'd do something else. I started my jewelry making hobby that way. Now I do that when I am feeling burnt out on writing. I go fishing when I need a break. I garden a little during the summer. I do other things besides write...now that I have learned that burn out can cause a creativity shortage.

    If you find you can't get anything down, take a little break. Do something else for a day, a week, a month, a couple of months, and then come back and write when you feel the muses inspiration. That's what I do when I'm feeling kind of depressed about my writing. I come back refreshed, like a vacation and can get to work on something.
     

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