1. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Writing without a deadline.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The Degenerate, Jun 26, 2011.

    So, maybe this problem isn't all that uncommon, but it's bugging me nonetheless. I can't seem to write anymore.

    I've been writing steadily for the past few years, mostly because I majored in Creative Writing, so always had workshop deadlines to meet and what not, and had little time to procrastinate.

    I graduated in December, and don't start my MFA program until September. It's been since December that I've written anything subsequently. I don't know, I'll begin to write, can't find the words, and then give up in frustration.

    Even posting on forums, something I've done nearly all my life, is difficult these days. I can't seem to manage to write a coherent post that is up to par with my usual stuff.

    Truth is, I'm terrified that when I do start my program, I'll be writing like an amateur again. I've tried everything that normally helps me -- writing prompts, reading, revising old work. Nothing is working.

    I'm quite anxious in my day to life, so that might be a reason why I have no motivation to write, let alone sit still. I don't want to take medicine for it because I'm afraid it will alter my creativity, as I've heard happened to some people. But I guess it doesn't matter a whole lot since I'm not producing anything anyway. Usually though, when I've been depressed writing would help me. Now it's starting to feel like a chore I'm forcing myself to do, which is a bad sign for me, because I usually enjoy writing so much.

    Any advice? I really want to get back into this story I started writing, but I can't tap into the voice, can't manage a coherent sentence.
     
  2. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    Procrastination is the theif of time.

    I carry around a note-pad and a pen with me wherever I am and just start free-writing the story.

    Had a terrible time starting my last idea...I sat at my comp for like...two days straight unable to come up with any ideas. Then at work during break the first paragraph got into my head and I was able to write up a rough draft of the first part easily.

    Once I write it up it'll be about 2-3 pages in legnth, before double spacing, and then I'm sure I'll be able to continue up with the next part easily as it ties in.

    It's three parts and each part is separated by the timing of the day. - Daytime, Late Evening, Mid-Night.
     
  3. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    A couple things I do when I'm having trouble writting -

    Pick a theme song for the scene I'm trying to write. Then I listen to the song over and over while I write the scene.

    Make a schedule for myself. Write down on a calendar what I need to get done each day/week.

    Meet with a writers' group. When I know I have to hand out a scene or read it outloud (cringe) I get terribly creative.

    Write a dump or some call it stream of conscious writing.

    Another thought is that a girlfriend was having a terrible time writing a fight scene and it wasn't until she made up with her husband that she finally was able to write the scene. Sometimes you have to figure out what the real problem is and fix that.
     
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  4. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    Create some structure in your life? And give your self deadlines and reasons to write. The difference between self motivation is the difference between successful people and non successful people.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds like you're the opposite of me. As soon as I get a deadline, I lose all motivation and just stop working on something, even if it's just something I've done. I lose motivation if I tell too many people about it, or if I say, "In a few months, I'll have this finished" or so on, so forth.

    Last time I did that, I figured out how long it should take, at minimum, to write the 60,000 word story I had planned slightly, and I put some markers in my phone calendar, like, (7000 words, so many chapters // 14000 words, some more chapters // et cetera). The next time I went to write anything on it, I just sat there and stared at it. Then I quit and went on with something else.
     
  6. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    I doubt that very much.

    Your writing, IIRC, is evocative, is assured and has polish. No chance you'll be writing garbage.

    Look after yourself. Spend some time with good people. See what comes of it.
     
  7. Daydream
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    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

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    I definitely also use your music strategy! I feel like I can think alot better with music. Has to be with headphones though, otherwise it doesn't feel like im in my own little world :p...
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    If you like working on deadlines and suddenly have no deadline to race toward, then I recommend a bit of software called "Write or Die." There's a desktop version, but it's also free online in someone's blog. You have a textbox to write into, and if you stop typing for too long, you'll have consequences. You can pick how long of a grace period you want (5, 10 or 20 seconds I believe), what consequences do you want (pop-up box, obnoxious music, or slowly having your words eaten), and you can set a time goal and word goal for yourself. Once you meet the word goal, you're "Safe" from the consequences, but when you're under the word goal, you can only pause once. If you google "Dr. Wicked Write or Die" you can find it. I think it's quite helpful and use it all the time.
     
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  9. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    Make deadlines? Sounds like you're so used to deadlines that now that you no longer have it, you're a bit lost.

    Same thing happend to me when I graduated and no longer had things to do. I was a bit lost and felt like I was wasting time with what little I was doing. A part of that was that I had so much free time that I couldn't decide on what I wanted to do as I wanted to DO everything. Before, I had things that were decided for me - projects and things related to class, but when I suddenly had no limitations, it took me a while to figure out which projects to pursue and which ones could wait.

    My suggestion is not necessarily random writing prompts, but actually writing something you're intrested and have always wanted to do.

    It could even be that you need a break and this is your mind telling you take a break. Maybe you could make it an experiment of sorts - have it part active, part writing. Do somethign that requires you to do active research - so visiting your local mourge and interviewing someone there and then writing about it. It could be researching your city, but whatever it is, try to come back and write something about it.

    Blogging my even help in your case.
     
  10. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Well, I took your advice and gave myself my own deadline, until the end of the night. Completed a story from start to finish. I suppose the motivation of wanting to write when I feel unable was motivation enough, if that makes sense.
     
  11. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Sounds awful to me. It'd probably just make me flustered and write terribly. Also what if say I need to pause to look up some fact or figure, or to have tea? Might work for some but not my cup of tea.
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yay! :)
    Well done!
    I have never worked towards a deadline when it comes to writing and I wonder how I would react to it...especially if I did that on a regular basis. I think it would make me a little blocked, but in the same time I have done a NaNoWriMo-experiment by myself and fond there was no problem reaching the goal of 1600-something words a day. I guess in my case it might depend on how much planning I have done beforehand. Just writing 1600 words a day with no clue whatsoever what to write about would be a disaster, no doubt about it.
     

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