1. mrieder79
    Offline

    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    280
    Location:
    Uyumbe

    Sometimes its just so darn hard.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mrieder79, Mar 30, 2016.

    For those disciples of Michael Scott out there, I'll just go ahead and get it out of the way.

    THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!

    Now that we have that out of our system...

    Sometimes when I write, I'm coasting downhill, ideas and words flowing faster than my fingers can possibly click the keys. But sometimes (read: today) it's like trying to get a six year old ready for school. I stare at the screen, then the keyboard, then my fingers, then back to the screen, trying to figure out who to blame. It is especially difficult as I have just finished my first book and starting over feels like moving schools. All the old friends and places I knew so well are left behind and now I'm stuck in a strange place with strange people who I barely know.

    My current response to days like this is to lower my shoulder and push harder (cue Michael Scott) until it gets easier again. Maybe there's a better way, who knows. I suspect that this, just like the downhill coast, is just part of writing.
     
  2. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,723
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Who's Michael Scott?
     
    IHaveNoName and Cave Troll like this.
  3. Commandante Lemming
    Offline

    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    1,241
    Likes Received:
    1,000
     
    BookLover and Lifeline like this.
  4. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,841
    Likes Received:
    10,017
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    It's hard to know which way to go on this.

    Sometimes I feel like:

    Just write, Wrey. Even half of what hits the screen is complete rubbish, just write; else, you'll stop writing and months will go by without a word, you know, like last time!

    And other times I feel like it's similar to insomnia. They tell you that when you have insomnia, get out of bed. Don't stay there or you'll make a connection between the frustration of not sleeping and the physical object known as "bed".

    I'm not sure which is the right answer.
     
    sprirj likes this.
  5. Wayjor Frippery
    Offline

    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    707
    Location:
    Tranquility Base
    I'm not sure I can offer anything in the way of constructive advice here, but I can certainly empathise. I go through what you've described on a more or less scene by scene basis.

    There should be an aspect of writing called 'Getting it Out' which is all about ejecting those pesky ideas from the old grey matter and turning them into printed words. Learned folk could write books about it (providing they can get the words out).

    If you find an answer, do let me know.
     
  6. Cave Troll
    Online

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,771
    Likes Received:
    2,397
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Sometimes a break can help. Also rereading what you have already written to get back in touch with your story. At least this works for me. Like all great works they cannot be forced. :p
     
  7. Witchymama
    Offline

    Witchymama Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    187
    Breaks are good. Stepping away can be good. It gives you the chance to do other things, and maybe figure out what has you blocked.

    If all else fails, coffee.:agreed:
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  8. Cave Troll
    Online

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,771
    Likes Received:
    2,397
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Totally agree with @Witchymama, coffee is like writers Mana. :D
     
    Witchymama likes this.
  9. PassTheDrinks
    Offline

    PassTheDrinks Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Porltand
    I've been having this trouble a lot as well lately. I'd have the story in my head, the plot, the characters, the entire thing. But I still stare at the blank screen unable to start. Unable to find what words should go first. Unable to put my idea into words. I've heard countless advice of the same thing. Just write. Write anything. The first thing that comes to mind. I try and I'll probably get a sentence or two in and then erase it and have nothing again.

    With the novel I want to finish now, I have this urge to throw what I have away and start again (I do this often, resulting in a pile of waded up pieces of paper that all have basically the same thing written but not good enough in my opinion). For once, I'd like to hear advice other than "just write anything", as it frustrates me because it doesn't seem to work.
     
    RahnyJae and Witchymama like this.
  10. mrieder79
    Offline

    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    280
    Location:
    Uyumbe
    @PassTheDrinks:

    What helped me through my first novel was giving myself permission to write things that I thought were utter crap. I wrote a LOT of crap in my first novel, but guess what: I finished it. Then, once I could see the whole story I started cutting and cutting and polishing and cutting and now I am very pleased with the result. No pulitzers in my future, but I am happy with it.
    When you set out to write you need to take your inner critic, tie him up, and lock him in the basesment. Let him out when the first draft is done and you need to start editing.

    Stop erasing. Stop throwing stuff away. Keep it. Allow yourself to follow ideas even if they seem a little silly or imperfect. You can fix it later. Just get your ideas on paper and then start molding them.

    ETA:

    When I get hung up on a scene, I try to visualize where I see it going and then I will write it out. Sometime it is a very rudimentary run-on sentence, but it helps me organize my vision for the scene. Then, once my thoughts are a little more organized I can explore the details that need to be there.
     
  11. Justin Phillips
    Offline

    Justin Phillips Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    144
    " I stare at the screen, then the keyboard, then my fingers, then back to the screen, trying to figure out who to blame."

    I like that line! I'll try not to steal it!
     
  12. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,963
    Likes Received:
    5,487
    What I've found:

    The story in your head is in pictures and movement and sound and mood. But those things don't automatically transform into words. The creative inspiration in your mind, and the way that that inspiration can be recorded, are very very far apart.

    It's not like having a song in your head; that song forms in your head in the form of music. An argument or essay most often forms in your head in the form of words--maybe you hear the words in your own voice, and maybe you have the sensation of emphatic gestures, but it's mostly words. A painting or drawing forms in your head in the form of visuals. Many creative things form in your head in a form that is close, or at least closely related, to the form that you record them in.

    Fiction does not. It just...doesn't. The translation from a movie in your head to words on a computer screen or a page is a big, big translation. It's not a natural translation. It's not going to come naturally.

    I realize that that doesn't help--you say, "It's hard," and I say, "Yep." All I'm saying is that you're not missing something obvious, not missing something that should just be working. You are correctly recognizing the difficulty of the task.

    I have abandoned all hope of getting a scene to flow from my mind into words. Instead, I see a scene. I write words that are kinda related to the scene. I read the words. Those words form a scene in my head. That scene is imperfect. I change the words. I read them again. They form a scene in my head again.

    The final words, and the final scene that they form in my head, may or may not look anything like the original scene. The original scene was just a spark for the first set of words. That's all. I do not anticipate that the experience of the scene in my head flowing into words on the screen will ever happen.

    I have experienced an increased sense of flow, but that flow is not going from scene-in-my-head to words. It's instead a process where the words I'm writing more readily produce a scene in my head--I get the feedback faster, and in fewer rounds. But it starts with words.
     
    Indefatigable Id likes this.

Share This Page