1. vinniram
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    vinniram Member

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    Winding Down after Writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by vinniram, Feb 2, 2010.

    I find that as I get deeper into a story I'm writing, it starts to take up my mind all the time. Of course, this is good when I'm writing, but after I stop writing, I will still be thinking about the plot, obsessing over things, wondering whether this way or that way is better. I find it hard to just step back and focus wholly on something else when I'm that into a project.

    I'm just interested to see what others' experiences with this are. Can you write and then switch off until you next sit in front of the keyboard? Or do you find the story constantly filling your mind, refusing or making it hard for you to focus on other things?
     
  2. aliceinwonderland
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    aliceinwonderland Member

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    For me, it's not hard to focus on other things, but it is hard to find myself fully satisfied. There is only one piece I wouldn't change a thing about. But everytime I finish writing, even though I'm usually happy with it right away, I find myself thinking if I should've used a different figure of speech, or described something differently, or explained something better.

    But when I am writing, I do get the same feeling as you. The more I write, the more I get into the story... when I'm really into what I'm writting, I get the weirdest feeling. Ironically, it's hard to put into words, but it's like I don't know if I'm more in the real world or the fiction I'm creating. Don't you get a rollercoaster kind of rush when you get to the ending?
     
  3. vinniram
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    vinniram Member

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    haha yeah I can't wait for that rush - unfortunately I'm at 30 000 words and my plot is just getting more and more complicated :p
     
  4. ChimmyBear
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    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I am writing a piece of work I find it hard to escape the drama. My characters are constantly popping into my head with dialogue and I am always considering where I am going to take them. It's funny, I can be shopping for groceries and right there in the snack isle a potential conversation will flood my mind. I love it. ;)
     
  5. jacklondonsghost
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    jacklondonsghost Contributing Member

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    Haha I'm the same way, Chimmy. I have a hard time paying attention in classes sometimes because I'll be so engrossed in a mental dialogue or scenes that play like movies in my head. I've never tried to stop it; it gets me some really good, creative stuff sometimes.
     
  6. MCWhite
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    MCWhite Contributing Member

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    As the story I'm working on evolves I find myself more and more immersed in it, harder to yank myself out of the world I've created, even when I'm not writing it. And while I don't consciously seek inspiration, at random times throughout the day, I get ideas, sentences, dialogue, usually products of my surroundings, things I've heard or seen, that I have to write down. I think this is proof that I can't separate myself from a story once I've started. Sometimes it's tiring, always having it linger in the back of your mind. But for the sake of the writing, it's probably a good thing.
     
  7. Cosmos
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    Cosmos Contributing Member

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    It feels like ever since I've become a writer I've been constantly immersed in the writing world. It doesn't matter what I'm doing writing tends to pop in from time to time or moreoften, for that matter. I can't shut it off, though I can put it to the back of my mind. In a way that's a good thing since it means I'm constantly improving and detailing my characters and worlds; on the other, it makes concentration in general difficult, and is frustrating when I can't actually put to paper what comes to mind because I'm in the middle of something else.

    And I wouldn't have it any other way. :p
     
  8. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I try to stay fully present in the moment I'm having, however this only applies to activities that involve others. If I'm standing at the sink washing dishes, or folding laundry, or doing some menial task at work, I allow my mind to wonder to the story I am currently working on, or to any type of thoughts that might run through my mind.

    I try not to allow my mind to wonder while I am having conversations, driving, or, well, any other activity that involves another person. If I find I am, I bring my focus back to the task, or person at hand.

    Being aware of this and learning to focus my attention was something I picked up in acting class. It is a very handy little skill to have, learning how to stay in character, that applies to many places in life.

    So, I never really get taken over by a story. I imagine it is much like falling in love. All the same emotions and all the same risks.
     
  9. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting subject...kinda makes me laugh because it's a daily struggle for me.

    I don't want to "wind down" when I'm working on a book. On the contrary, I want to "wind up" everything else that interferes with writing so I can get back to the book. Last weekend, I worked twenty hours in my office preparing illustrations and presentations for clients this week. Got home at 10:30 Sunday night. The whole time, my mind kept drifting back to the manuscript that is almost complete. Yeah, I got my work done, and will have happy clients this week, but I can't wait to get past this period of heavy business demand so I can get back to writing. I never want to "wind down"...I'd much rather retire from "work"...LOL
     
  10. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah. That's my thought, too. When I'm not writing on my computer, I'm writing on paper, or in my head. I work out concepts, ideas, and various sticking points in my ms. (Right now I'm dragging my feet because I have to kill off a totally innocent character, which will break many hearts, mine being the only actually beating one. It takes its toll.) But I consciously work on those things even when not at the keyboard. Even now, as I write this, I find my mind wandering to the characters in that story and tweaking events and character emotions and reactions.

    I find writing as vital to my survival as water for my thirst or blood in my veins. The only time I can't cope with life is when I can't write (and that is a terribly self-sustaining vicious cycle!)

    Wind down from writing? Can't do it. Won't go there.
     
  11. vinniram
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    vinniram Member

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    heh, I feel better now. I guess I will just give in to immersing myself.

    I like what you said though, Bluebell. It's important to have a moment-to-moment awareness at certain times, and I find that very important (I practice mindfulness). I think I just need to find a good balance - times when I can just think over my story, and other times when I need to bring my attention back to the breath, and the present moment.
     
  12. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    When I write I usually go on a typing binge and finally pass out around 4 am. So for me this isn't a problem :p Although I think it's GOOD that you think about it more. Shows your passionate about it :)
     
  13. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Go with that. Enjoy the ride!
     
  14. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    I have a very mind numbing job during which I always let me imagination go and ideas for current projects run through my head for extensive periods of time until interrupted by maybe a co-worker asking what my problem is - mumbling dialog to myself.
     
  15. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    I think I do. I finish a huge piece of work then take a mental break and wait until my mind wraps up in a new story. Or rather I try and dream up ideas to create a new story.
     
  16. Jaybrownuk
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    Jaybrownuk Member

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    After a long writing session i go to do things like play some Xbox, watch some TV or a film. However when i start to focus on something else i get a sudden idea that i want to incorporate into the story or a line of dialogue that sounds better than what i have somewhere. It can get annoying at times.
     
  17. Twisted Inversely
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    Twisted Inversely Senior Member

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    Happens to me to, but the way I figure it, this is a good thing. It means I have something to write about next time.
     
  18. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    I can't just turn it off. A pause button would be really nice because it seems that I get most of my best ideas when I'm at work and unable to write or even scribble something down. Usually when I finish writing though, it's either because I've hit a wall and need to do something else for a while anyways or because I have some sort of time constraint. I usually distract myself a while by reading something else or making a phone call or really anything else that is mentally engaging. When I am bored or restless my mind wanders (probably why all my good stuff comes to me at work.)
     
  19. cboatsman
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    cboatsman Senior Member

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    It has been said by many authors that to be successful in writing you must be passionate. If you believe in this, then there really isn't a "winding down" process after writing. Your characters live and breathe with you. When you sit and eat breakfast in the morning you will find your characters there with you eating as well. You will find yourself discussing an event which happened in their lives despite what you may be doing at the time because your characters will not let you rest.

    The question at hand is do you ignore this inspiration, or do you welcome it. Finding inspiration in those other areas of your life is not something to be considered as annoying or inconvenient. It is a sign of your passion for writing and should be smiled upon. After all, if we didn't want to write then why would we be here?

    The best advice I have received for handling this random inspiration is to constantly keep a small note pad and pen with you at all times. This way when you get these jolts of creativity you will be prepared to write them down so you can use them later in your writing. You won't need to run to your computer or writing medium every single time you have a new idea, and you can rest easy knowing that your inspiration is now preserved so you may move on with your current activity.

    Just like your car keys during your morning rush, inspiration is found in the most unlikely of places.

    Caleb
     
  20. Sillraaia
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    Sillraaia Senior Member

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    Just a question, maybe rhetorical - why would you want to wind down? Why would you want to step away from your story? Do you dislike it?

    I couldn't write a story with a horror theme for the exact reason that once I start a story, I am so immersed in it that it does not leave my mind for a moment. Of course, I am present (most of the time) for the conversations of those around me, but my characters follow me around, and my mind is always searching for a better way for things to happen, or for a better twist in the plot.
    And I love it.
    My husband said when I am writing a book, I am overall happier, and don't get as upset by things; like children that have been unnaturally moody, and spend the day screaming and crying for this reason or that... heh.

    For me, that is part of what is fun about writing - the immersion, the escape - the outlet. If I am not feeling it, if I am not that far into it, my work feels empty to me, to the point where it isn't fun, and I don't care for it at all.
    If I COULD disconnect from my writing works like that, I couldn't spark all the excitement / creativity that is required when I sit down to write again. There is no on/off switch, and if you WERE to turn yourself 'off', you wouldn't enjoy doing it as much, even if you could get yourself back into it again, the moment(s) will have passed, for it is that passion that drives you onward, to finish the story, or to make it the best it can be.

    Be careful what you wish for. :)
     
  21. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    It doesn't help that I write about subjects that are important to me. I simply don't abandon my writing. Sometimes I think that my characters have their own conversations in my head (but I can't hear them ;)). I can think that one thing is best for a character, then the other character persuades me to do something through their dialogue (I usually let their voice do the talking), and I often have to change my plans for a part of the book. They're the ones that propose most good ideas. It's a good thing that I created them, or they'd buy the publishing rights, as well.
     
  22. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hah! Love it! I have people staring at me in heavy traffic because I have been know to carry on 'conversations' between characters while I'm driving. You know, when someone catches your eye, they think you're ready for a long-sleeved, wrap-around jacket! Just ignore them and keep on talkin'. They have no imagination!
     
  23. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    With the advent of Blue Tooth, people no longer think I'm certifiably nuts when I act out full-blown character conversations while driving alone. Thank you, Blue Tooth! LOL
     
  24. cboatsman
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    Haha. This is awesome. :)

    Caleb
     
  25. vinniram
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    vinniram Member

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    it's lucky to be able to engage with the plot and characters like this - that's what you guys've made me realize. I love the escape, I really do. It was just in the early days of my novel, around 20 000-word mark, the plot issues were causing me a real headache. I took a break, made a fresh start, and worked out a rough plot outline. Now I feel like I can think about my novel and escape into the story without it becoming a headache. There are lots of problems with it, plot holes, me not knowing enough about the day-to-day activities of a structural engineer and yet having my MC work on a building site as one, but these can be resolved in time. Of that, I am confident.

    45,000 words into my novel, and no signs of stopping :) I have officially overtaken my longest attempt to date at a novel - 30,000 words of absolute rubbish I wrote at the age of 13, simply for the sake of a long book. This time, though, the story feels alive to me. It's exhilarating :D
     

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