1. agglutinations
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    agglutinations New Member

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    Writing, self-discipline and self-doubt...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by agglutinations, Aug 17, 2011.

    I'm a pretty decent writer, I think, but I lack discipline, discipline and self-confidence. As soon as I start on something, I'm full of fire and energy -- then, as I get going, I start to question myswelf, and doubt. Before I know it, I'm questioning the viability of the entire project. After a few weeks, or months, I abandon the whole enterprise for something else, for a new topic, only to find myself entering the same cycle all over again...

    Any advice on how to get the self-doubting machine to stop?
     
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  2. Leah
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    Leah Member

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    THAT .. is a loaded question.

    I know of what you speak. The hampster running around in my head has been threatened with certain death when my mind whirrs in that way.

    Just like a break up or other difficult situations, take it one step at a time. Don't allow yourself to worry about the end of the project "will it be any good"? etc...

    Worry about what you are writing in front of you at the time.

    Maybe jot notes down about how awesome you feel at the start of the project and keep it handy.

    Find somewhere that inspires you to write more than others and focus on that - or try somewhere new each time to shake it up.

    You won't know what works for you until you try and break the pattern that you are in.

    I, for one, have a difficult time finishing my projects - so I am changing my pattern (slowly, but surely). I now write at different times of days, in different formats and places and it seems to be helping me keep at it.

    Good luck :)
     
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  3. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    When I first started writing, I was very self-doubting, and still am to some extent. Personally, the way I got round it was I stopped thinking of every project as the be-all and end-all of my writing career and when I found problems with it I finished writing it merely to write, and get better at writing. If you think something you're writing isn't great, just use it as a learning experience and at some point you'll find the project that you were born to write! (sorry, that last bit sounded a bit stupid)
     
  4. jpeter03
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    jpeter03 Member

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    Leah and CH878 have given some great advice here- sticking to a project and seeing it through to the end are really what writing is about. Otherwise anyone could write and the world would be flooded with half-finished books. As far as how to stick to something, learn to love the process. Self-doubt plagues every one of us, but remember that you are accomplishing something special by simply putting your words on the paper; so few people ever have the nerve to do so and you should be proud of that. Save the pieces you never finish because you might just decide to "cannibalize" them as Chandler put it and work parts of them into other stories. Every story is an exercise until you finish it, and they can all be useful even if they never go anywhere. Use feedback from forums like this one to encourage you to keep going, and best of luck!!!

    J
     
  5. James Scarborough
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    James Scarborough Member

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    This is THE biggest problem I have as a writer as well but I have a couple of tips that may help overcome it.

    1. At the beginning of a project, when you're excited and full of ideas and energy, write out several positive affirmations on index cards and post them over your desk. Read them to yourself every day until you start believing them.

    2. Create artificial "deadlines" for yourself, as if you were a news reporter working for a demanding editor and had to get the your work done on time or face loosing your job. Alternatively, imagine that your deadlines are for a term paper, etc., for a course you're taking and must pass. No late submissions are allowed. You'll get a failing grade if you don't turn it in on time. No matter whether you're satisfied with it or not, you have to turn it in!

    Both of these techniques help me but I still struggle with this problem constantly and probably always will.
     
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  6. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    You just have to adopt the mindset that you are going to finish what you start.

    But that alone may not be enough to get you through, so you should break down the project into manageable pieces, and take pleasure in achieving small goals.
     
  7. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know that feeling. It's happened to me a few times...

    I think there were a number of reasons. It may have been a genre I didn't quite master (whodunnits), and therefore put aside, not having enough of an idea where I was going, or what I actually wanted to say. The only thing that worked for me was to find something that really came from the heart, so much so that I had to tell it.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have been through the same feeling a number of times, and the only thing that helps is thinking "I'll write this story for me, because I believe in it and because i enjoy writing it and whatever is going to happen with it after that doesn't matter", basically allowing myself to write a crappy story (but in the end it always turn out a lot better that i first thought).
    I also think I have had the same feeling as VM80 above, where I wanted to write a story that I can't quite handle, because of lack of experience or knowledge on what I'm writing about. basically I wanted to write this suspence novel but found I lacked some basic knowledge on the work of the police and other "professions" that appeared in the story, which made everything sound contrived, so i put it on hold while I wait to decide what to do with it.
     
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  9. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just remember that you're writing something no-one else can.
     
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  10. The_NeverPen
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    The_NeverPen Member

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    I heard a great quote yesterday. "Don't be afraid to write crap because crap is the best fertilizer" - Pat Pattinson, Berklee instructor.

    90% of everything we do as creative beings will suck, but you'll never find that top 10% unless you keep polishing. The answer is simple. Just write.
     
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  11. NaughtyNick
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    NaughtyNick Member

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    Personally, my self-doubt will not be conquered until at least one dispassionate critic reads my story and enjoys it, and that will only happen if I get published. If I don't, I will still have considered the process cathartic and worthwhile but the disappointment will be profound.
     
  12. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to have that problem as well, and here is what I do.

    When I'm inspired, I don't write, I plot. I jot everything down quickly, I plan the characters, the setting, do a lot of "what ifs" to see where the story could be going. Then when I lose inpiration, I leave it for a while. Then I come back to it and decide if I still like it. I often find I have "inspiration blindness", in which case I think everything is totally awesome, and when I lose it I realize the whole thing is weak and not interesting enough to be worth my time. If I DO like it, I clean up the plot so everything makes sense. Then I start writing. The first draft is done very quickly. I don't describe anything and just get on with it. In the morning I also decide how many words I should write that day, write it on a post-it and stick it on my computer so I can't do anything without that number glaring at me, guilting me into writing.
     
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  13. mikeinseattle
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    mikeinseattle Member

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    Build your confidence through writing. It will take care of itself.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016

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