1. GThor
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    GThor New Member

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    Dialogue The No Excuse Thread

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GThor, Feb 6, 2014.

    I love these forums. I've found answers to questions I've not yet considered asking. What I haven't yet found is a way to make myself stop researching and actually get down and do some hardcore writing. I seem to be finding excuses not to write, and it's so very frustrating! I think I love to write, but if experience is any indicator I'm wondering if I'm fooling myself.

    Help?
     
  2. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Damn, I have the same problem sometimes.
    When I sit down to write, suddenly I remember there were some others things I also should do...
    But that is just a procrastination and it can be cured. :)
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I've found I sometimes have the opposite problem - I am so impatient to write that I start before I've researched everything. Of course, I do pick up the rest of the research in due course, but I risk having to significantly rewrite something (or toss it altogether) if/when I find documentation that renders my fictional representation as nonsense. OTOH, I've found that sitting on an idea for too long - even for a legitimate reason such as insufficient research or pressing family obligations - is bad for my health.

    Lots of novice writers are afraid that when they finally do actually put something down on paper (or into data bytes), it won't be as good as they want it to be. So, they hide behind "I have to do more research" or "I have to read up on technique" or "gotta check out the latest on WF" or just plain "I'm not feelin' it today." Well, the sad truth is that no matter how good you are, it won't be as good as you want it to be, because writing is a process that requires continual work, review, learning and more work.

    But here's the thing: until you actually do put something down on paper, you won't really know how good it might be, or what kind of work you need to do to make it better. Maybe it will be self-evident. Maybe you'll find some answers here. Or in your own reading. Or in articles on technique. And maybe life will interfere here and there, slow you down. But it might also turn your head to things you never considered before. So, get off the internet, shut off the distractions, and put it out there so you can find out.

    And the best of luck to you.
     
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  4. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Trite as it may sound, it really is like jumping into the ocean. Once you get in, get your muscles moving a little, if its really for you, you won't want to leave.

    Speaking from experience, I can't tell you the joy I get from writing now, when in the beginning putting down words was a god damn chore. Things like this are delayed gratification at its finest. There's a price you have to pay, and the hard part is there's one at the very beginning before you get any sort of reward. When you say things like "I think I love to write," what you're really saying is you think that reward is out there for you. So yes, start with discipline and wait for the passion to come. If you're putting down 1000 words a day (consistently) for months on end and still hate it, we should probably have another conversation.
     
  5. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    I put the problem to myself as a question. Do I want to get a little bit closer to finishing this thing and seeing how it will end up, or not? Some days I really may not care. Sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I don't want to do it but damn, I need to get a little closer. I realize that when i PUT BUTT IN SEAT AND FINGERS ON KEYS and start the process, everything else in my life feels better. I'm where i belong.

    BTW lots of research isn't a bad thing. It may save you months of revisions down the line.
     
  6. GThor
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    GThor New Member

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    Ah yes, procrastination, the bane of my existence. No doubt, you're at least in part right, and I thank you for pointing it out. I think I cover it up with action of all the wrong kinds.
     
  7. GThor
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    GThor New Member

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    Ed, I'm going to print out your impactful reply so I can read it everyday. This is nail on the head advice.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the one thing no one can succeed as a writer without, besides a modicum of talent and good skills, is self-discipline!

    and no one can give you that, it can't be found online, or in any how-to... you have to develop it yourself...
     
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  9. GThor
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    GThor New Member

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    CSM, your idea of putting my concerns in the form of personal questions instead of personal rebukes might just border on genius. At first glance this appears to be a life changing concept.
     
  10. GThor
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    GThor New Member

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    This is the sort of reply that demands action, not words. So I'll say thank you Mammamaia, and get to work.
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Glad to help. Best of luck.
     
  12. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Sometimes to get by I have to quit looking at the big picture - that I'm writing a 350 ( give or take a few pages ) novel. *Knees wobble.* A huge undertaking which can scare off a lot of writers. So instead I try to break it down - Time to write a few pages or lets just work on a scene. Usually, I get so engrossed and I want to see the outcome I keep going. Just one more scene.
    But it doesn't always work some projects are harder than others.
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I'm not currently writing - haven't been writing since before Christmas and while I do want to write, I still feel no motivation for it for the moment. I'm in the stage/process of recovery from burnout.

    But, having said all that, and considering the fact that I never finished my novel - when all is said and done, hey, I have 3-4 finished drafts that's been through edits and written the novel from beginning to end from scratch 3 times. The current, unfinished draft (just can't bring myself to do it anymore right now) is sitting at 88k+ words. Right up until I hit rock bottom, I was writing almost everyday, and from time to time took a week-long break before resuming the almost everyday routine. After I hit rock bottom, I was still writing probably once a week, every other week - and this was when I was burnt out. About 50% of the 88k+ words was written during burnout.

    So perhaps I would not be someone to take advice from for actually finishing one's book to publishable quality, I daresay I do have the discipline. How I churned out so many words was this one simple mantra I repeated to myself, day and night, at the back of my head: "I WILL FINISH."

    Granted, I did not finish (though I still intend to). But I'm just saying, without that mantra - without having decided that I WILL finish no matter the cost - I wouldn't have got as far as I did in the first place. I would've given up on my rough draft. Say to yourself, I will finish. And then do whatever it takes to get there. Over the years, I've developed a nagging voice at the back of my head that says this, day and night: "Write, write, write, I must write!"

    That voice has dwindled to pretty much nothing now, but it's still there. Once you develop this kind of discipline, I don't think it really leaves you. Now my mantra, since I'm in my burnt out phase, has changed to, "I will write, I will write". It's just to make sure I do return to writing. At some point, this mantra must change, but for the moment I'm still mulling on a potential idea for another novel, and this time I don't want to repeat the same mistakes, so I'm taking my time.
     
  14. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    It can take me a while to get going, but I know I have to get something done or nothing will get done. Even if I write only a single scene or line of dialog or action, something needs to get done this day.

    I'm also finding that leaving off at a particularly juicy part, where I know what I want to do helps as it allows me to finish while I get more into the mindset.
     
  15. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I wish I had time to procrastinate! I have the opposite problem, hundreds of ideas and notes on how I plan to write them, but no time to sit down and actually type them up. Working seven days a week, twelve hours a day is a bitch :|
     
  16. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    “The ideal view for daily writing, hour on hour, is the blank brick wall of a cold-storage warehouse. Failing this, a stretch of sky will do cloudless if possible.” ~ Edna Ferber

    Okay, you said you want to stop doing research, so I assume you've read an assortment of sources on the basics of writing fiction for the printed word and are up to speed on what a scene is, how it differs from one in film, why it almost always ends in disaster, and the elements that make one up. etc. Here's the next step: if you want to be a writer, you have to write. Decide on a time you'll spend working. You're probably not going to make a full hour the first day, so start with a half hour.

    Pick a time when no one will call or interrupt. Pick a place where there's nothing to distract, not even the view through a window. No newspapers available. No books in reach. Just you and whatever you're writing with. Visit the bathroom, take a drink, and maybe a snack before you sit down. Turn off your modem or router. Then sit down and start.

    For the next half hour you can't do anything but sit and write or think about what you're going to write. You can't take a break, read a book, check your mail, or anything but work on writing. The first day may be torture. But it gets easier. And if it doesn't, you've learned that you want to be a writer but not become one.

    As for ideas, read the newspaper. Take a given story and think about the events that caused that story to come to be. Look in the phone book, pick a name, and speculate on what kind of person has that name. Take an aspect of society and say, "If this goes on..." and write that story. Place two people with very different, and conflicting goals in the same story and let them strike sparks. The possibilities are endless. But unless you sit down and actually write they might as well not exist.
     

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