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  1. radkovelli
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    radkovelli Member

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    Writing Burnout?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by radkovelli, Sep 19, 2016.

    For the past year, I feel like everything I write isn't the story I want. It's hard to describe, because the actual writing itself is really good and something I'm proud of...the problem deals entirely with the plot. It's a vicious cycle. First I have a plot that I think I like, then I find a reason for it to fall apart, so I search really hard for a new plot, try the new plot, dislike it in general, search really hard to find another, etc. I'll occasionally come up with a plot, but it just never feels right. None of the plots get me excited like my plots in the past would. I used to get so excited and have such a fun time writing or thinking about my old stories...I was younger when I wrote those, so even though they're finished, they now don't interest me, considering I'm in a different stage of life now. But at the time, they were my everything!

    I just feel so incredibly stuck because I want to write, but I have no clue what. I also put an immense amount of pressure on myself because I want nothing more than to be an author, but I feel like I'm further and further away from that goal the longer I prolong having a plot. It makes me so frustrated, I'll actually cry.

    Anyone else go through this slump and have tips on how to get out of it?
     
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  2. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I think the only thing that helps is to read good stories with good plots. That's what I do. I read a ton, and I never fall short on plot ideas. Reading more really works wonders. Or if you're not going out and interacting with the world that too can interfere with the flow of story ideas. You'll know which one you need to do more of.
     
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  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It doesn't sound like burnout. It sounds more like over-self-criticism.
     
  4. Mocheo Timo
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    Mocheo Timo Active Member

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    I agree with Ed. It does sound like over self-criticism. I'm not the most experienced, but I'd recommend choosing one of the plots you've come up with so far and work with it. Even if it seems wrong or hopeless, stick with that one plot and try to continue it. Maybe as you write you won't feel so excited about it, but as you continue it, you'll perhaps find out ways to fix it.
     
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  5. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Maybe this is the problem? Rather than abandoning the first plot, plug the holes. If you realise the villain should win because he's stronger, then find a way to make your protagonist smarter. That's how people come up with believable, twisty plots that don't feature characters too stupid to live.
     
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  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    One other thought...might the problem be that your protag doesn't have enough going wrong? After all, it's the obstacles and pitfalls that make a character's struggle worth reading about.
     
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  7. Elven Candy
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    Elven Candy Contributing Member

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    You said you have put a lot of pressure on yourself to be an author. Might this pressure have started about a year ago? It sounds like that pressure isn't motivating you in the right way, and it might actually be hindering your creative ability. Try to relax, find a story you like, and write it however you like. When I was trying to write for other people, I went nowhere. I ended up hating the characters and plot. When I started writing for myself, I loved my characters and plot.

    The last (first one ever attempted) book I was trying to write has some major holes in it, and I realized I had to rewrite it (again). By then, though, my inspiration was wrapped around another story that was inspired by a character-gone-wrong in the first book, so I decided to work on the story I was inspired to write. I am now nearly 19,000 words into it and I'm LOVING it. I absolutely love it more than I did the first book, and I'm not struggling nearly as hard. I still plan to rewrite the first book, but not until this one's finished.

    Let your imagination flow and don't stop it. If an idea seems silly at first, let yourself think on it. Do you like the main character? Find a world for them to not fit in, and make them figure out how to fit into it. Are they going to become a hero? A villain? Or maybe it's their lifelong dream to become a stable hand. Don't knock an idea unless you find it boring for yourself.
     
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  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with what the others have said, but would like to add this. Maybe the problem is that you're looking for a plot that excites you. Maybe you should be looking at something else to get you started instead.

    Look for (or imagine) a character, or a couple of characters, who excite you. Think of a setting that makes you want to be there. (OR run away from.) Then pick a situation in life that motivates you. Finding the right mate? Overcoming a bad childhood? Overcoming guilt? Being noticed by people you respect? Pretend your characters are trying to make these things happen, in the setting you've chosen. A plot will develop from there.

    Starting with a plot is often the wrong way to begin. Start with something else and build a plot around it. In other words, choose a REASON for the plot, besides ...gee, I've just thought of a really great plot. (Now what?)

    I've always thought that if something isn't working, there is no point in repeating it ad infinitum, getting more and more depressed because it doesn't work. Accept it. It doesn't work. Instead, change your approach, start something new in a new way, and see what happens.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    ^THIS!

    Invariably, it's the characters I come up with who pull me into a project. Every single idea I've ever had for a novel has started with either "who" or "where/when" (my main interest being historical fiction).
     
  10. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    First you need to write a story, then you can think about being an author. Or am I wrong? I think, just stick to a plot you think sounds interesting and then just write the whole thing out (if that's possible). I don't think the plot has to be very complicated. In the short-story I'm writing (I scrap and restart all the time, btw) I just write 'crap' just to get through and hopefully finish it. I don't care how it reads right now (i.e. "Walked to the door, walked out and then sat down") it's just for me to figure out of the story, because I don't really know it yet. I think when you're nearing the end you will see if the plot is good or bad, or if there is a plot at all. I think the wisest thing to do is not stress about it and don't take it too seriously, and hopefully in the end you will get there. You just have to push through even though you don't think the plot is interesting, and then maybe you will get new ideas or figure out a way to solve the existing one. I find plots difficult too, many times I don't think I have one, or that it just get muddled as the story progresses, but I can't go leave all stories I begin just because of it. Then I'll never finish anything (and I never do, so it's an ongoing struggle for me :p)
     
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  11. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I know this is going to sound a bit obsessive, but consider this.

    You save each new plot you write as a sub-category file just below your main story file i.e.: TitleA, TitleB, etc. (Numerical works too)
    Then you compare and sift through all of the these sub-categorical plots with what you have in your main story.
    Once you have sifted through all of it, you might:

    A. Listen to @Tenderiser and find a good one and fill in the holes.
    B. Figure out a way to mesh one or more together for a really interesting plot amalgamation.
    C. Reread through what you already have and see where you started from and decide whether or not
    it would be necessary to change the existing plot, or try to figure out how to strengthen it.
     
  12. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    a) A vacation in a new place, forget everything for a while, including writing.

    b) Back to writing, discipline myself to write a set amount each day.
     

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