1. yellowjello
    Offline

    yellowjello New Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    serious problem with getting my thoughts on paper

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by yellowjello, May 28, 2010.

    When I'm thinking, I have so many thoughts I really want to write down. When I hear them in my head they sound perfect. But as soon as I get to my computer, or to paper, I blank out. I can't grasp them. They aren't concrete and they become a big swirling melange of thoughts.

    This is really debilitating because it happens all the time for almost everything. I think of what to say, what to write, but when I try to put it on paper it doesn't come out.

    Does anyone else experience this?
     
  2. Forkfoot
    Offline

    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,034
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    San Francisco bay area
    No. Sounds like something that will get better with practice, though. Kinda like running; at first it sucks and you hate it, but you force yourself to cuz you know it's good for you & will get easier in time. Before you know it you're all skinny & trippin' on a grade-A runner's high.
     
  3. Mantha Hendrix
    Offline

    Mantha Hendrix Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Northern Ireland... the place I've taken for grant
    Couldn't agree with Forkfoot more. Practice is all it takes.

    Barely even think about whether it's bad or not when your writing, deliberate after. You'll start to pick things up over time
     
  4. Nobeler Than Lettuce
    Offline

    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Anytown USA
    From a plain scientific standpoint, human speech is roughly 365 words per minute during normal conversation. Human thought is something amazing. It speaks too, at around 365 words per minute, but it also says things at the speed of chemical transfer, which to you would seem almost instantaneous. When you are writing, the dialogue that you are thinking should be said slowly, as to represent properly the process by which you derive such thought. You are of course capable of commenting on what you are writing at great speed and can change what is printed easily.

    Nuance and subtlety will come straight from the gut. By no means am I saying this is not a mental process, but during periods of intense writing your muscles will begin to mimic the functions of the machine. In NASCAR drivers, this interaction is said to happen around the two hour mark, at which point the necessary chemical channels have "worn in" enough to be taken as part of unconscious memory. This same unconscious memory is what will drive what you write into the ground or throw it into the air, how deep and how high are options which you are confronted with when editing.

    Editing is a crucial part of the writing process. As a poor example, I write poems for fun, rarely spend more than an hour on one and consider my own wordplay inventive. After I post I re-read the poem too many times to count, and make equally countless corrections. Sometimes errors appear to me the minute after, sometimes the hour, and with great pride damaged, weeks or months after I've initially posted. You must sometimes abandon a work for weeks only to rediscover it later and find what, if anything, you would change.

    That and more you'll look forward to in the exciting world of wooooooooord plaaaaaaaaay.
     
  5. Sparrow
    Offline

    Sparrow Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's a quote from Anne Lammott. I've written it out and posted it on the wall above my desk.

    'Get it all down. Let it pour out of you onto the page. Write an incredibly ****ty, self-indulgent, whiny, mewling first draft. Then take out as many of the excesses as you can.'

    I keep that in mind and whenever I find myself vacillating over word choice or character actions or whatever, I tell myself, "It doesn't matter. I'll rewrite it later."
    So maybe taking the pressure off of yourself will help you let the words flow. :)
     
  6. Diablo Robotico
    Offline

    Diablo Robotico Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    3
    Yeah, this sounds like one of those situations where the best advice is "Just write."

    Get the mess out of your mind by writing something. Don't expect it to be good. Just write it and get it out of the way, then start over again when you have an idea how to continue in a way you like.
     
  7. bahloo
    Offline

    bahloo Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Canada eh!
    This happens to me all of the time. Every time I write. I get these vastly imaginative and descriptive scenes in my head, but I can't seem to recreate my imagination on paper. Its kinda frustrating, but it is for sure a practice makes perfect thing. Ever since I've been writing I've noticed some improvements mostly due to WF, trial and error, or reading a bunch. Unfortunately, like the running analogy, I'm still a little overweight and running in skate shoes. Soon enough I'll be buying some Nikes. Keep on writing!
     
  8. raian
    Offline

    raian New Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    It happens to me a lot. I keep a little notebook with me most of the time and I will jot down what's in my head, little snippets of dialoge my characters are having. An action scene I'm seeing. A plot twist that suddenly comes to me.

    Sometimes I incorporate them into the story, sometimes I don't.

    But I know how frustrating it is to have it slip into your mind and then just go away ... so jot it down as soon as you think it, save it somewhere to be used or abused later :)
     
  9. Manav
    Offline

    Manav Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Imphal, India
    Yes, I have experienced it.

    A writer's job is to put the ideas in the head on paper.... so, you have to first admit to yourself that there is something lacking in you as a writer. The reasons can be anything.... in my case, lack of vocabulary was one of the main reasons. I just don't have the words (I know... horrific). I identified my weakness, worked hard on it (still working on other problems) and I am much better off now while I write. Your reasons can be anything..... inability to develop concrete plots, storyline, characters.... or it can simply be lack of writing disciplines. So, read articles on writing and take part in discussions in forums such as WF, you'll be able to identify your problem..... once you've done that, you can work on fixing it.
     
  10. themistoclea
    Offline

    themistoclea Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Sydney
    Just throwing it in there, but if the words in your head are coming out faster than they can be typed, maybe try a recording device/program, or a diction typing program (if they exist, I am horridly ill at the moment and don't know how much sense I'm making)...
    I personally don't use either a recorder or special software, and the solution is usually to write now and reflect later, practice makes perfect/better etc., however experimentation with the process might bring out a way that suits your style.
    BUT if you decide to look into these try looking for a freeware/shareware version, because on the whole they can be a waste of time/money if you find they're not working for you.
     
  11. blackzacharia
    Offline

    blackzacharia Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Arlington, Texas
    storm

    Just Write It. That's what editing is for. Once you have it down, when you come back the idea will have probably developed in your mind and you build on it from there.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    5,506
    Another vote for Just Write It. And assume that it's going to be bad. Maybe it will be bad, maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised, but at first make it your goal to just get those words down, and don't worry about the quality yet.

    If you have trouble making yourself do this with your most special ideas, then do it with some less special ones. Just keep typing, get thousands and thousands of words down there, and I suspect that slowly all of those roadblocks - from ideas, to words, to your typing fingers, to the words on the page, back to your mind as you read those words on the page - will be less obvious to you, and you'll feel more of a flow.

    And you'll learn things about yourself. For example, I don't write "in order" - I generally just spit out my thoughts nearly at random, and then when I have a large enough body of text, I start editing and rearranging, and often eighty percent of what I've written gets thrown out in that editing process. I go through this whole process for something as small as a _blog post_ - I simply don't write in order.

    So if you have expectations about your writing, like the idea that you "should" initially write it in the order that it will eventually appear, try to recognize those expectations and see if abandoning them reduces the roadblocks.

    ChickenFreak
     
  13. SchalaofZeal
    Offline

    SchalaofZeal New Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree 100%. The best thing you can do is, at the very least, get started with your project. A free stream of thought is the very best thing for not only your thought process, but for writing construction. I've found that I have become a better writer by just writing as I go. When I look at my writing later on, it's far easier for me to see my errors. When I try to literally READ my thought process, I find it's more difficult to read later on. If it's difficult to read, you have to try harder to fix it.
     
  14. solarstarrkatt
    Offline

    solarstarrkatt Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Indiana
    This happens to me all the time! I get a good idea, then I think about it for a couple of days. I add characters, plot ideas, twists, bad guys maybe, then I write it. Come back a day later. This seems wrong with what I want to do later on. Type, type, type. Add some to the end. Brainstorm to 30STM. Go to bed. Boom! Good idea. Add more in the morning. So on to the end. Then I take out a lot of the unimportant parts, then I add them again. Long process, but I love it :love:
     
  15. Nikhil
    Offline

    Nikhil Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2008
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    India
    Exactly same problem. Was going to post myself.
     
  16. Gingerbiscuit
    Offline

    Gingerbiscuit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Melton Mowbray in Merry old England
    I write adverts for a living (bad ones - radio ones) and that means coming up with about seven or eight different ideas a day. Unfortunately, like most writers, I have no control over when these ideas come to me.

    So if you ever see me in a queue in Subway talking into a dictaphone about singing pickled onions or a dog that can read people's thoughts - you now know why.

    Get a dictaphone, is my advice - then you can speak your thoughts exactly as and when they happen. And when you've got one you can also tell me whether or not I'm spelling dictaphone correctly.
     
  17. Brandon_Trotter
    Offline

    Brandon_Trotter Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Peterborough
    I sugest keeping a notebook and a pencil with you at all times. The second an idea pops into your head write it down. Keep your ideas with all the time so that when you do go write your ideas down in good you have those ideas writen on paper. Then you can start writing with that idea right there in front of you. I also sugest starting a dream journal, I have started one as my dreams are very... unique and they are great sources of writing. This could be a probelm if you have a bad memory for your ideas but, if you do start one, write it down the second you wake up. If you need a way to genarate ideas try using pictures, your sourunding or best yet perosnal experinces that have realy effected you. The best advice I have ever been given ( many times I might add ) write what you know! if your an artist, like me, than write about your art; the feelings, the hardships ect... If you use your experiences to write and combine them with your best skills as a writer I can personally garauntee you satifaction in your writing. ( It has worked for me so far ) The most important tool for me as a writer is my imaganation ( and as a artist ) and as my imaganation tends to wonder I to tend to sidetract from my original idea. This isnt alway bad as it can create great writing, sometimes. The best way to make sure you stay on track is lots of editing. I know not being able to write down exactly what you are thinking can be frustating but, the most imporant thing when your writing ( at least for me ) is to express yourself so if you start to wonder, just make sure your still expressing your orignal idea.
     
  18. Rose
    Offline

    Rose New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    i agree with Gingerbiscuit, i do practically the exact same thing. Its really handy especially when you're thinking too fast for you to type out everything you're saying and still get down exactly what you thought.

    Even if its jumbled up and you can barely make sense of what you were thinkging, keep it, it might help you later on
     
  19. Brandon_Trotter
    Offline

    Brandon_Trotter Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Peterborough

    So true! When I have writers block I take a step back and relax until the creative juicesa start to run more smothly.
     
  20. Lankin
    Offline

    Lankin Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Germany
    Funny thing is, I don't only experience this approx. 2h mark with writing, but also when I was still making music and practicing or rehearsing.

    In fact, I think the Baroque flutist and teacher Quantz mentioned something like this in his "Art of playing the flûte traversière". He recommends practicing a bit more than two hours at a time; I always thought that with this given time scale he wants his students to practice this particular switching-point, and maybe enable them to get to it even earlier.
    Actually doing your "warm up" with the ever same routine of senseless scales, arpeggios, etc. also helps. These are exercises especially designed to switch the conscious part of your brain off, by and by, because at the speed these exercises are done you cannot think of fingerings and the single notes comprising them any more, so you get into a kind of flow.

    I'm not sure if this corresponds to anything in writing that authors do, perhaps you have hints!
     
  21. KillianRussell
    Offline

    KillianRussell Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Glasshouse
    I too have suffered this, my greatest inspirations never arrive convenient .I no longer let perfectionism act as my oppressor.
    With no regard to grammar, spelling , I capture as much as I can on matchbooks, tampon boxes , cheese steak wrappers before the vibe eludes me forever . Later the hurried prompts catapult me back to my brilliance ....ya dig
     
    1 person likes this.

Share This Page