1. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    Questions from a novice

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by vera2014, Mar 8, 2014.

    Hi,
    I read novels consistently and have taken steps to start writing a my own book. I've read a few books on how to write, and a few books on grammar, yet when I sit down to make an outline hardly anything comes to me. When I try to write creatively, I feel like I need to read a lot more books before I'm "ready" to write, however, I think this might be my way of procrastinating.

    Do other people feel intimidated about writing, as if nothing they write will come close to the quality of the books they regularly read? I know we all have to start somewhere but it just doesn't flow from me the way I imagine it should. How should being a writer feel? Do I need to have a strong passion to write every day? Should it be like physical exercise, like something I should do whether or not I feel like it? I'm interested in it but not super passionate. How do I know whether or not I should keep trying to write or if I should just stick to reading books?
     
  2. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    It's arguable that you need a strong passion to write every day because writing is a daunting task within itself. If you would rather be doing other things when you sit down to write, chances are you're not quite ready to be a writer. Then again, it takes a lot of discipline. You have the potential if you can make yourself sit down and write because you want to.

    The answer to your last question is simple: it depends on what you want to do. If you want to write, and you feel like you must, then write. If you want to write, but don't feel like you'll regret not writing, then give it a try fr as long as you can until it works our of your system. If you don't really want to write but you feel like you've got a story, then try writing until the urge passes. If you don't really want to write or have a story, but you're interested, writing is probably not for you.

    If you've done that much reading you've gotten a good start. All you need now is either a plan for something to write or a spark of creativity. Most writing doesn't just flow from us as we write. We start somewhere and make a series of choices about where to go from there as it happens, depending on how we might be entertained or (more likely) based on a pre-planned direction.

    Most people cannot just sit down and be struck by inspiration. Often times you have to "clear your throat" by writing something until ideas start to take shape on where to go next, and that will usually carry some writers for a good few pages (depending on the style, depth, and format). It may only carry you through a few hundred words. We can't exactly generalize, but any length is a good length if you're just starting.

    I suggest you figure out what it is you want to write about, then what you want to write about it. Then, sit down and begin writing. Start with an opener and go from there. getting started is the hardest part, but you have to start, and most of the time you'll need your idea first.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
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  3. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    What kind of stories interest you? (I'm assuming you'd like to write fiction.) Maybe instead of thinking of writing as being a writer, think of it as putting a story on paper. Maybe try daydreaming something and then writing it down.
     
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  4. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Good questions to ask right here. What interests you? What Inspires you to write? Fan fiction is often a good entry-point for writers, as the characters already exist and all one needs to do is put them in a new scenario.
     
  5. Lae
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    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

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    like @Renee J said, daydream and scribble. I daydream constantly (really inappropriate during conversations) and my head fills up with junk so i have to write it down somewhere.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    If I stopped to think about if I have a 'right' to be a writer - I'd never write. Think of it like a child at kindergarden, she doesn't care if she knows what she's doing or can make a perfect sun or house, or cat she's just happy to put her vision down and share it with someone.
     
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  7. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    Thanks for so much great advice. Maybe I need to try harder to sit down more often. It's strange to try something without deadlines or supervisors of some kind. I'm my own boss for this hobby and I sure am easy on myself. :))

    About the last question: I'm interested in writing because I think that I could be good at it (at least I thought that way until I actually tried it many times). It seems like a good hobby that uses equipment I already own and it takes up no storage space other than the hard drive and possibly some manuscripts and research materials. I'm not sure these are the right reasons for writing.

    I've been focusing a lot on the outline. Maybe too much. I have all these ways of avoiding writing though...I like studying other people's work. I wrote down what I liked most about all the movies I own but when I sit down to create it feels like I'm just trying to put new twists on what's already been done. It's hard to be original.
     
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  8. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    Thanks for replying. I like a wide range of books (including a few biographies) but I think science fiction is the most fascinating. I've been trying to outline a science fiction book. I feel like I'm in over my head, that I don't know enough about things like outer space. For example, I could never write anything like Neuromancer or Ender's Game.
     
  9. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    Thanks for replying. That's interesting. I don't seem to be able to do that. I carry around a notebook because someone said that I might get ideas anywhere but the notebook remains empty.
     
  10. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    Thanks for commenting. I wonder if someone will stick my work on their fridge. :D
     
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  11. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Yes, at some point you have to put all the books and outlines down and just write. Every new endeavor has the ice breaker moment. With writing, that moment is breaking away from the planning and prep phase and diving into the writing. While I don't advise diving headfirst into a frozen pond, you have to break the ice by doing so metaphorically. Or better yet, you can only break the surface tension in a still pool by taking the plunge. Once you do, there will be a rippling effect. But you have to get off of the diving board. :)
     
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  12. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Try dipping your toe in first with short stories. They are easier to see as a completed work and not nearly as daunting.

    I'd tried writing novels several times but always got bogged down. Having just taken it up again in the past year, and having great success this time, it's because now I have a story I'm passionate about, know more-or-less where it's going, and have found my 'voice' instead of trying to mimic other authors. The writing mostly just flows out of me now. It may take you some time to get to that point. Don't despair, but do try writing something (again, short stories or even just 'scenes' will help you).
     
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  13. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    :)
    When I first got back into writing (creatively) it had been 25 years since I'd written a word of prose. After doing some stuff in high school and college, I stopped for 20 years to go to work and raise kids, and do all the other things that made it impossible to summon enough mental energy to write fiction. I did do some non-fiction writing (articles and things) that were published in magazines and books, but I did nothing creative at all, and when I sat down to try when the kids were older and I had time, it was the hardest thing I ever did:(.

    You have to wait for an idea to come to you---a really powerful idea that you can't stop thinking about and that will break you if you don't put it down:). Then, even though it stinks and the words are horrible and you cringe every time you look at it, it gets easier little by little because you need to do it so much that you'll stop at nothing to make it better.

    You may not be at that point, and maybe it will never hit you that way. But I remember feeling the same---like I wanted to write but didn't know if I could and didn't know if I dared to try. When I read what I wrote compared to a good published writer I would have heart failure again, and it would just keep happening until I improved enough to have confidence and realized that every good writer started out in the same place----insecure and horrible:).

    You might never decide you want to write seriously, and you may never get an idea that means so much you have no choice. That's okay. I don't know how old you are, but it sounds like you're just waiting for something. Go ahead and do what you think (reading and trying to write), and if something hits you someday you'll know it, and you'll know just what to do:).
     
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  14. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    Thanks for commenting. That is a good idea. I'll try short stories.
     
  15. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. That's neat that your work was published by magazines. I hope that powerful idea comes to me. In the meantime, I'll keep brain storming.

    Insecure and horrible are the right words. :D I recently read a novel where the author briefly described flower stems as waxy. It so so elegant. It made me feel like I go through life not paying enough attention. I'll keep writing and reading. Thanks again for the help.
     
  16. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    Clear the deep end. :D One canon ball coming up!
     
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