1. Toothache Fairy
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    Toothache Fairy Member

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    Writing Makes Me Nervous - How Can I Fix That?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Toothache Fairy, Jun 25, 2009.

    I dunno why, but whenever I start trying to plan out a story, I get really nervous. I never have good ideas, and I can't help but think about how embarrassing it'd be if someone caught me writing something really crappy before I got the chance to go over it and make it better. Probably because when I was little, I'd bring little notebooks to school with me, just for writing stories, and other kids would take them and make fun of them. I guess I'm traumatized or something :redface:

    But it really bothers me, because I want to write, but I get all tense and paranoid when I try. Is there anything I can do to stop that?


    Erm, sorry if that doesn't make any sense. I'm not really used to posting on forums.
     
  2. KurtistheTurtle
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    KurtistheTurtle Member

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    So you know why you carry this belief inside yourself and where it comes from. Change it. Think these things instead

    -Some of the stuff you write is worthy of a reading without any editing.
    -Your writing is private. Nobody will read it if you don't want them to
    -If somebody else read your stuff and made fun of you, what do they know?

    The way to change self-limitations is to just brute force through them and reframe the negative beliefs in your head.
     
  3. Toothache Fairy
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    Toothache Fairy Member

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    I dunno about your first point, but the rest makes sense. Guess I'll just have to toughen up :D

    Thank you!
     
  4. Soup
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    Soup New Member

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    I've had the same problem, so let me tell you what I've discovered.

    The reason you're nervous about writing is because you are not well enough prepared. If you're like me, you do not work well with chaos. Some people are discovery writers. They like to go right in with very little planned out ahead of time, if anything. Others, like myself, are preparers. The more material done beforehand, the better. It's probable that you're a preparer. This has no impact on whether or not you're being creative. You are still creating everything, you're just doing it before sending it out to the assembly line.

    Before writing, have as much prepared as possible. I find it's easier to write an essay than a story, so most of my notes are in essay form. My personal preference is to start with setting, then characters (because a setting has great influence on a character's job, perceptions, beliefs, and many other things), then plot. After that, I'll go even further, and take what I have for plot, and write a synopsis for each individual scene. Only then am I ready to write. Break things down into small chunks, then even smaller ones. It's not so scary after that.

    My next suggestion is to do research. Whenever you get stuck or apprehensive, ask yourself why you're feeling this way. I've noticed that whenever I've done this, the answer is that I lack the skill for what I'm trying to do. Your brain is telling you that it needs help before it can accomplish the task you've assigned it. Help your brain out by looking at what you're doing, and then go train yourself to do it. Often, you don't even have to leave your desk. For example, if you're stuck on a piece of description, do a google search for descriptive writing, then move on with your new toolbox.

    My last suggestion is to ease yourself in. Every time before I go to write, I get nervous. That blank space can be very intimidating to certain people. I think it's your brain trying to conserve energy. All that thinking surely has a biological cost, so your instinct is to reserve it indefinitely. You can trick your brain into helping you work though, and it's really not cruel or complicated. Start writing about why you can't write. Some people say to just write about anything, but even that makes me nervous. Write about your story and why you can't work on it. Inevitably, you'll realize that you are actually writing the story, and you can go from there pretty easily.
     
  5. Rose
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    Rose New Member

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    if i have the time to write, and i go and concentrate on writing, nothing gets done, id just learn how to make good paper planes, but when im busy, ill sometimes come up with a really good idea, and then go, "damn i cant write it down" do set time for u to write, just do it when u think of something. If u have the time, and u cant think of anything, then do something... go for a walk, or something, try to get somewhere completely silent, but for your thoughts, and dont think of it as "I must think of an idea to write" just relax. You'll think of something then
     
  6. Indigestion
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    Indigestion Member

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    I just get a piece of paper before me and let the ideas flow. Try that, not preparing anything.
    Also, I have found out that during the day it is difficult for me to write, but that around midnight it is the best time. Try it out!
     
  7. beaufel
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    beaufel New Member

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    I know how you feel, i'm still in school and whenever my roommates or friends look at what i'm doing I alt tab to myspace. I used to be worst but I just try to think it's important to me and who cares if they read my first draft over my shoulder and laugh it adds fuel to the fire to improve it.
     
  8. Beaumont Hardy
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    Beaumont Hardy New Member

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    Hi, Toothache Fairy,

    Part of your nervousness might come from an overactive inner critic. You think of writing something, and the critic in your head tells you it's not good enough or that everyone will hate it.

    I find that distracting myself while writing often helps in these situations. I turn on the TV or the radio and write while listening. I hardly pay attention to what I'm writing, because I'm mostly listening to what people are saying or singing on the TV or radio. I don't have enough mental capacity to listen, write and criticize myself at the same time, so the criticism falls by the wayside. I often end up surprising myself at what I've written.

    You might try writing while watching or listening to something that really interests you. I think you might be surprised by what you end up writing.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Or just tell your internal critic -- the nagging one, not the one that points out flaws and how to fix them -- to shut the hell up and go suck an exhaust pipe.

    That voice of insecurity is an amalgam of all the bitter dead-end guidance counsellors and no-talent relatives who told you you'd never amount to anything. all the tenured teachers counting down the days to their pension and too lazy to teach, all the gloomy Gus losers that never made anything of their lives (so, of course, no one else will, either).

    In other words, no one you need to listen to. So just tell that voice to sod off.
     
  10. Ragnar
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    Ragnar Contributing Member

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    Ignore it, don't look down on your own ideas, let them play themselves out and then judge.
     
  11. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    I know how you feel about the trauma.. when I was 17 my DIARY was stolen. I lived in a small town where most people know each other, and in this diary I had written many different detailed and extremely honest entries about everything from my sex life to other people's sex lives to (the worst) my desire to beat up other girls in the town, which of course was just me VENTING into my diary in typical teenage girl fashion, but I knew if it got out could seriously put me in danger (I'm from the ghetto, all the gangbanger girls here don't mess around lol)

    It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, I had to seek therapy from it, and no, I never got the diary back and to this day don't have a clue who has read it or what happened to it.

    The way I personally dealt with it was by making the choice to let the world see me. In brutal, terrible honesty. Try and think, whats the worst that would happen if someone saw your unfinished work? Maybe they would laugh, if even that. And if they did, so what? Decide right now not to care. I think if you can start making the active choice not to care, it will help you get over your nervousness. Maybe consider posting some of your work online too, having others read it and seeing the way they react will definitely help a lot.
     
  12. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I don't discuss what I am writing with anyone. No family or friends. I simply say I am working on yet another project and no they can't read it. I don't let anyone read what I write till I am good and ready. But fear of writing stupid crap doesn't stop me from writing it.

    I've got some doozies of stories on my computer that I wouldn't want another living soul to be subjected to. THey might actually induce bleeding from the eyes. Didn't stop me from thinking it was the greatest thing since slice bread while I was writing it.

    You have to get in touch with your inner narcissus. Build yourself up to think you're the greatest thing since Elvis and that everything you write is gold. And the best way to do that is to fake it till you make it. Approach every story idea like it is the next greatest story every told and then write it. Don't worry about proper planning, or outlining, or any of the school-taught crap, just write. Once you start to see where it is going then you can decide if you want to plan it out a little more thoroughly or if you can just keep plugging away at it till it is done.

    Then edit, edit, edit, put it away, come back and edit some more.

    Also reading bad writing is another way to feel good about your own story telling ability. If you can't identify bad writing, which I know you should be able to, then you need to get yourself some books on writing and how to analyze writing.

    If you're still afraid to write, then don't. It would be like for me, to go skydiving. I am terrified of heights. SO I don't go sky diving. I do however, go on rollercoasters and some other rides. As long as I am strapped in I'm ok. But, I'm not going to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable. You shouldn't either.

    If you want to write, then the desire to create and craft a story should overcome your fear of failure and being made fun of. WHy do you give a darn about what other people think at this point in you life? I know I don't. LIfe is too short to care what other people think.
     
  13. Atarxia
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    Atarxia Member

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    I think it's easier to relax and write when you have some materials already planned, like some people said. For me, what I did was to capture new ideas by compressing them into few words or less. Whenever I am in a mood for some writing, I just go look over the fleeting thoughts already caught in some note.
     

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