1. Liza
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    Liza Active Member

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    Writing Every Day

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Liza, Jun 5, 2011.

    Okay, I proposed to myself that I would write at least 900 words a day, or around that. I realized that after a few days of writing, this was impossible. So I try to write around 800 or so and it works.

    But now I have trouble writing, even if my beginning was quick, compared to other stories. I wrote only 1000 words words yesterday and Thursday combined. 500 each day. That's only when I really forced myself. Today? 200 so far. I'm disappointed in myself. Is there any way to get my muse up? I know you must force yourself to write and blah, but I just sit and stare at the screen, forcing meaningless words to come out. Should I just take a (very) short break? Not write today and tomorrow unless I have muse? Maybe I just need to rest a little.

    What do you think? Any tips?
     
  2. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    You have writer's block possibly. There are many cures, which include going out for fresh air, watching/reading/what have you great entertainment, or, you can do a strategy called automatic writing, which is where you put no restrictions on what you write, writing whatever enters your head. No restrictions on type, poetry or prose, or genre when doing this. The writing may end up being a garbled mess, but it has a good chance of re-stimulating you. Hope this helps.

    PS: Aim for a goal of 2,000 words a day. I know, it's very difficult and I'm nowhere near that, however it's a good goal to reach for.
     
  3. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    I'm a firm believer that you can't wait for inspiration to hit you, you have to chase it down.

    If staring at a blank screen isn't helping you find it, discover it another way.
    Do you know what happens in the next scene you're going to write? If you don't, plan it out - sometimes that can get the juices flowing, even if you only plan each scene before you write it.

    Let yourself imagine the scene without necessarily writing it down.

    Get into character. This always works for me. If I can't write, I'll slip into the POV character's mindset and start acting like them. I'll go out and do things to put the character in new situations, and see how they'll react. It always helps me find a new angle on things.

    If you don't want to do that, just working on your characters can help - really ironing out the intricacies of their personalities.

    These are just my techniques, and may not work for you, but yeah - I did write 5k a day on my first draft, and on my second I'm writing 2k, so inspiration is never a problem for me. It's not that I don't get off days, its just that I don't let them get in the way of my story.

    Experiment! Fimd your own ways to push through this barrier, but don't let it hold you back from writing, as it has a habit of doing.
     
  4. GraceCousins
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    GraceCousins Member

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    I try to avoid setting words-per-day goals, simply because if I don't meet them, I feel terrible. It doesn’t make my writing any worse by not meeting my goals, and in fact, I often have to re-write a lot of what I’ve written if I’m in a hurry to make a word count goal. I’ve found broader goals are easier to meet and meet successfully. For example, my current writing goal is to reach to the end of chapter 6 by Wednesday (it’s Saturday). This way, if I don’t have time to write a certain number of words one day because of writers block or other commitments, it doesn’t matter, I can make it up another day.
     
  5. Greendog
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    Greendog Member

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    I read an article today saying that writing lying down can help improve your flow. Might want to try that.

    Maybe try pacing around until you get a good idea, develop it in your head, and then come back to the computer and write. Or you could even try writing on paper, that helps me sometimes.
     
  6. _Lulu_
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    _Lulu_ Member

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    Perhaps as you're setting yourself a certain amount of words to write, it's putting you under pressure and you're too focused on meeting them your mind is just closing up? I suggest to remove your word count limit and write freely, then you can focus on your characters and story. Once you get the flow going then perhaps introduce it back in?

    I find taking a day off writing makes it harder to get back into the mindset of it, for example this is my third day of not writing and I believe as it's I'm worrying too much about a certain aspect of it, so 'cause of that pressure I'm putting on myself my mind is closing up.
    To help me get back on track I normally lay back and picture it in my mind like a film and see where it takes me.

    Good luck!
     
  7. MatthewR
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    MatthewR Member

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    I also believe that words per day goals seem like a good way to disappoint. Trying to force creativity often backfires.

    Freewrites often help break through tough blocks as you no longer need to make sense or have form.

    Either way, I wish you the best of luck.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you requiring yourself to write fiction? And are you requiring yourself to write a sensible, coherent addition to an existing work?

    If so, I might suggest breaking one or both of those rules and making the rule "just write" - if you can't write anything useful and coherent, just write about how your feel feel in your shoes, or describe the spines of the books on the shelves next to you. Just spit out words.

    And you might pick a lower number - perhaps numbers around 1000 are just too big. You could start, say, with "just write" at least 200 words a day. And when you've had, oh, ten unbroken days of success you could bump it to 300. And so on.

    I realize that these may seem like insufficient goals, but I think that succeeding in a smaller goal can form better habits than struggling with a larger goal that you don't necessarily succeed at.

    ChickenFreak
     
  9. Declan
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    Declan Senior Member

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    Precisely.
     
  10. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writer's Block does not exist. This is not a valid response.

    I sometimes have the problem of petering out to nothingness on a project I'm working on. Sometimes motivation and perseverance just aren't enough. I've found that I really only complete stories where I feel a connection to the plotline. Not to the point that it's about me, but to the point where I can connect with every character, where I can be perfectly and utterly empathic to every single action in the writing.
    Maybe you're just not connected to your storyline enough.
     
  11. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Are you trying to become a writer or typist? Typists type, but writers do a lot more than just write. I spent 6 hours today watching the show Justified, and as a writer, I felt I was.
     
  12. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't really set word counts.

    Unless there is a deadline (such as with Uni work in the past), I like to just write and not worry about hitting some target. There have been insane days where I've written thousands of words, others not many at all.
     
  13. Contacaton
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    Contacaton New Member

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    That actually makes sense, because your body would be on a more even level so your heart wouldn't have to work as hard to pump blood through the body, meaning it wouldn't use up as much oxygen to do so, meaning more oxygen would be available for the brain to use.
     
  14. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    My advice to you is to plot while you're inspired and write when you're not. The thing about inspiration is that it makes everything look good. When I'm inspired I write a very detailed plot-outline, make up characters, figure out where they live, etc. Then when I'm starting to lose inspiration, I leave it for a few days, maybe work on something else. Then I come back to it, and if it still looks good, then I start writing.

    I also set word goals on a day-by-day basis. If there is a day where I have nothing to do, and if I'm not writing I'm just gonna watch TV or something, I set my word goal as high as 5000. If I'm really busy one day I set it as low as 200 (my absolute minimum to write each day).

    I do force myself to write, but after about 15 minutes of writing, I usually get into the zone again, no matter what mood I was in when I started.
     
  15. haribol
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    haribol Member

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    Writing something creative is not a mechanical act and it must happen of your own accord and it must involve you deeply. Or else what you write will be superficial and it cannot touch the heart of your readers. You write because you enjoy writing as you enjoy walking or eating or loving someone. It is a natural phenomenon and it absorbs you. When you write you and the writing will be one and the same and if you do not fee at one with what you write how you can expect your readers to be consonant with your writing. Getting someone interested in your writing demands of you a great amount of wielding what you are capable of and what you have learned in your life. Writing something takes all of you and your time and your energies. You get soaked with your writing and in the process of writing you will empty yourself of what capacity you have. But while emptying or draining yourself you will be unaware of what you are emptied of. You enjoy the work no matter how tiresome it is to write a great epic. Imagine how Tolstoy write his masterpiece war and peace. How much study he had to do and what amount of patience he needed to complete the magnum opus. He wrote continually in a time when there were few amenities. Today you are happy as a writer. You have you i pad, an access to eBooks, and the internet that can avail yourself the vast repository of information. Today you are connected globally. At just a click the world shrinks into your laptop, just imagine. Your room has been in miniature a small world.

    What we lack is will power and we have none of our predecessors. We have no persistence and doggedness. We are tenuous and that is why we are unsuccessful writers. Some of us maybe successful but not in the degree or height Tolstoy, Dickens, Joyce were. We do not write in the spirit and manner they did when they lacked all we enjoy. You have to sacrifice some of the pleasures of the world to make to a world of success. You will have to burn the midnight's oil or else you will end up being a mediocre write, not a prolific one history will glorify.
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think Killer and Dizzyspell said it well. Some kind of outline could help you and I like the idea of writing lying down, as I ALWAYS did that when writing in my teens, and I was writing like crazy :D
    Im not sure either if a specific word count is the best tool but I do believe sitting down and write something every day is a good way of getting you in a good routine. Is this perhaps even the beginning of the story?
     
  17. Laura Mae.
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    Laura Mae. Member

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    Most people have said make goals but sometimes this isn't very productive, as you end up writing something so unreadable that needs major editing simply because you're writing whatever you can to reach the mark. I find that even writing one sentence, and if you can't do anything more, is enough. Or, I find checking over my world, all the files and documents and any notes concerning the plot, the characters, etc helps. Even if you aren't actually doing anything, you're not distancing yourself from the story like you would if you didn't write for days or wrote some utter crap because of a forced word count goal. I guess different things work for different people, you now have many peoples' methods to try :)
     
  18. haribol
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    haribol Member

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    I often feel I am running short of words to phrase my thoughts into beautiful sentence structures. We have plenty of experiences since the world itself is a huge book. Today more than ever before we have been more connected and we share our experiences on a global scale. Living in the age of the internet we have nothing that dampens our activity.

    We have no doubt plenty of words and yet are always unsuccessful at assembling them into a good piece of prose. Every event we bump into, every experience we have gone through, every circumstance, both bitter and sweeter we have lived through can be woven into a great piece of art if we have one thing – that is craftsmanship. I know I am not running short of words and I can construct wonderful compact sentences. But what I still have to learn is to translate my ideas, my dreams, my experiences, my thoughts and the events and circumstances I run into everyday into creative works. This is art. We do not need rare experiences. Everyday phenomenon itself is a treasury we can source at. Let us hone our skills and creative knack. That is how some of the greatest minds have excelled at their respective fields.
     
  19. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that sometimes it helps to write about things other than pure fiction. If you write about the things surrounding you, or how you feel at the time, or describe an event that has happened to you recently, it will help and you are still writing daily.

    I don't set myself a word count to work towards each day. I just make sure I do some sort of writing every day, even if it's just a ten line passage or writing about how I'm feeling. It all helps.
     
  20. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find I can't write much fiction if I'm in a bad mood, which is strange as most people say they're at their most productive when they're unhappy. Thing is, I'm a nightmare when going through PMS, so that's usually my vacation time away from writing. It's just a shame I'm experiencing PMS practically three weeks out of every month. :p

    Still, as long as you keep reading and writing, it doesn't matter how long it takes. Unless you have deadlines, of course. It's important to give yourself routine, yeah, but it's equally as important that you produce work of the best quality you can in a first draft. If you aren't in the mood for writing, don't force it. Go do something that inspires you and come back afresh.

    I also gave myself a daily word-count goal, but because of other circumstances, I've done a pretty shoddy job of keeping it up. Don't beat yourself up about it, just keep punching away at it whenever you're able.
     
  21. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not a big fan of rules about writing. I see them as counter-productive, because sometimes you just can't make your quota. Sometimes, you need to step away from it. Maybe it's more productive on a given day to read. Or run, or walk, or swim, or meditate, or listen to a symphony...take your pick or add your own soul-soothing activity. And sometimes, the real world just won't let you write your quota.
     
  22. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have noticed that even though I don't set goals to myself, I usually end up writing about 1500 words a day, on a good day up to 3000. but on some days (and even for a couple of days in a row) I might end up writing nothing, but when I don't feel creative I use the time for polishing the story, changing things about the plot or stuff I have already written that doesn't take creativity and I find it works, the inspiration comes back faster than it would have if I stayed away from it completely.
     
  23. unblocker
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    unblocker New Member

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    Wow, some great tips here on improving one's writing. I loved reading it.
     
  24. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    I set a daily writing goal for myself. If I'm stuck on writing the actual scenes, then I'll use my daily writing goal to do stream-of-conscious writing about the things that I'm stuck on, or uncertain about, or that I think need to be clearer in my mind, or that I have a nagging suspicion aren't working, or that thing I'm worried will become a plot hole.

    So, either I get scenes written. Or I work out a difficult I was having with the writing, plot, characters, or world. Or, if neither, at least by writing about it, I've jogged my subconscious as to what it needs to be working on in the background until the next writing session.
     
  25. wallomrslug
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    wallomrslug Member

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    As soon as you set deadlines for your writing, it just becomes another chore. The joy can be sapped right out of something that should be natural and enjoyable. I've found myself writing non stop for five to six hours and on other days, none at all.
    HAVING to write 800 words on a day where you really aren't in the 'zone' will inevitably make those 800 words less than your best.
    And they will stick out like a sore thumb.
     

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