1. CLM1188
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    CLM1188 New Member

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    Thoroughly Discouraged

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CLM1188, Oct 31, 2011.

    To anyone who has a dream of being a writer please allow me a moment of your time:

    I am a college student with a dream of being a writer. I want it so badly, but I have recently become bogged down by a series of things in my life, and that has led to writer's block. I feel thoroughly discouraged as though I can not put pen to paper and write anything coherent. I hate this feeling, and I know how little truth this feeling holds, but I can not bring myself over it. I am not alone in my predicament. Millions of writers struggle with their inability to overcome a block. I want to listen to those who know how I feel, and I want someone to calm me down and give me my courage to write back. Are you that person?

    Thank you.
     
  2. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Think about this: You don't need courage to write. You might need courage to show your writing to other people, but before you do that, you can go over it multiple times to make sure you won't embarrass yourself. Nobody needs to see what you write. It can be utter garbage, but that doesn't matter, because you'll be writing. And if in twenty pages of garbage there is one paragraph that shines like a newly cleaned toilet bowl, it's worth it.

    There. Feel better now? :)
     
  3. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're in college. Your profile says you're 22. Unless you have an illness (and I'm sorry if you do), then you've got time, my friend.
    In fact, you've essentially got your whole life ahead of you.

    Aside from the fact that you can afford to be patient with it and make sure that it's not just a phase (hell, when anyone says they "recently" got into something, it has the potential to be a phase), you've also got to realise that writer's block is not a thing. It's not a valid excuse. It's nothing.
    If you really want to write, you've got two choices. 1) Force yourself to write. I don't suggest this. 2) Wait until you get in the right mood for it. This, I suggest. This is what I do. I don't write when I don't write. Instead, I write when I do write. It's slower, but you're more likely to come out with a high average quality.

    As for your courage, you can find that in a mirror. You don't need other people for it.
     
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  4. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I agree, time is on your side. If you don't feel you can write at the moment for whatever reason, don't. Put it aside for a while, play video games or read or watch movies. Have fun and enjoy your life. Writing should be a passion, something you want to do and if you don't feel that way about it at the moment, then even if you could force yourself to write, what you wrote would probably not be your best. But when you've recovered your passion, when you feel inspired again, then you'll write like the wind and with your heart and soul in it.

    Cheers.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    While I agree there's no such thing as writer's block, I don't quite agree that one should wait until 'in the mood'. Taking a deliberate vacation from writing to rejuvenate is one thing; just waiting until you feel like writing is another. Unless you're doing the former, you should write every day - either a certain number of words or for a certain length of time. It doesn't matter what you write or how well. Writing - and becoming a good writer - demands discipline. The longer you allow yourself the indulgence of "writer's block", the harder it is to get started again. (Been there, done that)
     
  6. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. I know what you mean, and passion certainly can be a wonderful bonus to writing. When it feels good, it's like a drug. But... big but... I think the long slog is an essential part of the process. I liken it to practicing a musical instrument or athletic training. You have to work the muscles whether you feel like it or not. You have to sharpen the eye, the ear, your sensitivity through practice. And failure, bad days, etc, are not aberrations; they're just as much a part of the writing process as success. Read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. She discusses the perils of perfectionism and the necessity of allowing yourself bad days and bad writing as an essential part of the creative process. It's a wise and freeing book. It might help you see the other side of inspiration (you know, perspiration and all that).

    And while we're on the subject of reading... I want to point out that psychotick's advice to play video games and watch movies when you're feeling fallow is perhaps not the best (at least not all the time). Reading good books is not only instructive but it can also inspire you to pick up the pen yourself. Read read read. I once had a teacher who said that for every word you write you should have read 1000. This may be a bit extreme, especially when you're starting out, but over a lifetime it's probably accurate.

    Good luck!

    Edited: Sorry, Psychotick. I just reread your post and you do mention reading. Still, I think it's worth highlighting it. Cheers!
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if it's a mentor you want, drop me a line...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Guys,

    I understand you objections and I agree that writing is a discipline. But in the end what powers you, what makes you turn up at the keyboard day after day has to be passion. You will write if you want to write, and if you don't want to then at least for me, it would be better that I didn't, since what comes out is utter rubbish. Sometimes I can force myself a little, but if I don't find that passion, then the likely result is a pile of drivel and me staring blankly at a screen.

    Having said that, for me the passion is usually there. I love to write even if no one will ever read it. What I hate is the editing -now that's where I need discipline and to force myself.

    Cheers.
     
  9. thebookdoc
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    thebookdoc New Member

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    I knew a writing professor who told us that if we were stuck and couldn't write we should take our favorite book by our favorite author and actually copy, word for word, what was written on the pages. Write as much as you can. He felt you were still "working the muscles" as "topeka sal" pointed out but you would also be having fun and learning at the same time. Hemingway was a fan of this philosophy. Before he became a war correspondent he had used this method to get his fingers and his brain to work together. He said he learned his "straight to the point" style by copying another writer's work. And as a war corespondent he developed his now famous, "not one extra word, not one word that wasn't absolutely essential," style of writing. Really, not kidding, it's a lot of fun to do this and it gets your backside planted firmly on the chair and your pen to your paper. Hope this helps.
     
  10. Gottagocit
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    Gottagocit Member

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    RE: Discouraged

    At 22 we all thought our lives were so complicated. It just couldn't get any more so......but it does. I promise you.

    You are going to have to find a place where you can drop all of the baggage you are carrying around with you to allow you to have a clear and focused mind for periods of time. If it's your friends that are the distraction, go to the library or other quite place and turn off all of your electronic bling. Perhaps tell your closest friend just so they don't freak if you'll always texting, etc and you now suddenly are 'missing'.

    I finished my first novel not too long ago and many times I found I couldn't focus. It's not uncommon. For some a break from writing works. Some need a long break while others only a few days. In my case my work caused me to take long breaks in a few instances but I found that it also gave me time to occassionally plot out where I needed to go next with the story. Yes, it took far longer than many I suppose to write (3 years) but I like the story and am very proud to have finished it. Now if I can get it published I'd be thrilled.

    If you are intent on finishing it asap, turn off the influences like the tv, radio, phone and even friends for a few hours each day/week. Oh, and if you are like most twenty somethings, don't take things so serious. You hopefully have a long life ahead you and it only gets more complicated the older you get for most and learning to put things on 'a shelf' that really aren't that important is something that many don't learn until later in life. It's all about setting your priorities and sticking to them.

    Good luck,
    Chris
     
  11. Arathald
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    Arathald Contributing Member

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    I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year, and one of the biggest complaints people have is there just isn't enough time. "No Plot? No Problem!" by Chris Baty is the official/unofficial handbook of NaNoWriMo. In it, he discusses the issue of finding time. What he suggests is that every day for a week (or was it three days?) write down *everything* you do, in 1/2 hour increments. At the end of the week, go through and color code your time.

    Essential things (homework, classes, work) are red -- you absolutely can't avoid these. Things you *could* miss if you really, really needed to, but you wouldn't be happy about (most extracurriculars) should be yellow. Things that you don't really need to do (say, watching TV, playing computer games, etc.) should be green. Now, take some of that green time, and reallocate it to writing. Baty says that he finds that 95% of people doing NaNoWriMo, no matter how busy they are, can do it without resorting to taking some of that yellow time. Casually writing every day is much less of a commitment, and you should be able to do it no problem.
     
  12. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    Well what I would say is that writing is merely one part of a much larger process, namely story telling. As a student, there are long periods of time when I just don't have the time to write. However, that doesn't mean I can't create stories. I used to find that writers' block came from feeling like I had to write. I find nowadays that even when I'm too busy to write, I still come up with stories, even more so if I just set writing aside for a while. The advantage is, when I do get the chance to write I have more ideas which have been bounced around for a while so they're better than if I try and make stuff up and write at the same time.
    Hope that all makes sense.
     
  13. KateEnglund
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    KateEnglund Member

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    I suffer with depression and it causes me to get dreadful writters block but i tend to look at photography on google and will usually find a photo that inspires me to write even if i do a little exercise like write a short story about the photo it takes my writters block away
     
  14. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you want to write you have to make time for it somehow in your busy schedule. Do you sit down to watch tv? Do you play video games? You can write as little as a 100 words in a day just to keep practice, but it is up to you to find the time.

    It is just like any other talent. It only improves with practice. If you let it sit and stagnate, it will deteriorate. But you should do it only if you want to write. And please note that I said want to write, not want to be a writer.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, there's a major difference between the two!
     

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