1. Albirich

    Albirich Active Member

    Oct 31, 2013
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    Feeling like I'm losing my voice

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Albirich, Nov 12, 2015.

    I've been writing less and less on the book I've worked on for almost three years, not because I don't know the story or feel less motivated to finish it, but simply because I feel like I'm at a loss of words.

    I have a folder for each of my eight PoVs and swap between whom I'm writing regularly, but currently I'm struggling to find my voice to any of them, I find myself swapping back and forth three or four times before I settle on one to write on that day, even then I'm having issues getting the words out.

    I do know how the story of the first novel will end, and the direction I want most chapters to go in, so that's not the problem either, it's just I can't get any of it down on the page, and if I try to keep going and 'force' it, it seems wrong and an utter disaster...

    I've been trying to swap, as I said, to keep the voice 'fresh' and keep a constant change to make it more interesting to me as a writer, but it doesn't help me any. I've been trying to read a lot more than I usually do, but that haven't helped either...

    I simply feel burnt out.

    Anyone else felt like this about any of their writing projects? I've heard that taking breaks can help, a month or so, or something like that...but I'm not sure I can, I'm always meddling with world building, characters, history...there's always something to do. Then when it comes to working on the actual book and chapters, I feel burnt out. I don't think it's because of the world building and all that, because to be fair, that work has dimmed down, and it's never really been a problem.

    So what's your experience on this? How did you deal with it? Any tips?
  2. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Sep 24, 2009
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    Alabama, USA
    Wish I could help you, but I'm in the same boat as you. :[ My problem is that I probably have way too many stories, and some are almost exactly alike via characters and the plot sequences. I guess my advice here is to trim down on the stories, see if you can't merge the things you like from all your stories together for one stronger tale. Put the rest away for a later date.

    Hope this helps some. :D
    Dragon Scribe likes this.
  3. Dragon Scribe

    Dragon Scribe New Member

    Mar 17, 2014
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    I know how that feels. My tactic was to trudge through the garbage writing in order to get something down on paper. Upon rewriting those sections of rubbish is when I discovered that "voice" again.

    I'm not sure if it fits your particular story, but I second Link the Writer on trimming down the stories. In my grand work (haha grand in my mind at least) I had three main characters and far TOO much world building. All of my critics I got to read it suggested knocking most of it out. I went down to two characters and took away a good deal of tedious detail. The result was a much more interesting, better written work that I am proud of. It also left me with a significant portion done for an additional novel :)
    Lifeline and Burnistine like this.
  4. JenHLewis

    JenHLewis Member

    Nov 12, 2015
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    Have you tried writing a new book? I saw in an interview with an established author that they can have upto ten books on the go at any one time.
    I was in exactly the same position but writing a new story almost cleanesed me of the first allowing me to see in more clearly when I revisited it.
    Sometimes a book just takes years and thats that.
  5. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

    May 11, 2013
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    Virginia, United States
    The piece of advice that helped me most is this: the first draft is simply you telling the story to yourself.

    No one is going to see your first draft but you (unless you decide to show it to others), so what does it matter if it's crap? No one expects their first draft to be published. The first draft is always crap. It's supposed to be crap. If everyone wrote their first draft perfectly, it wouldn't be called a "first" draft!

    So first, stop worrying about it feeling like an utter disaster. Because they're fixable. They're edit-able. But you can't edit a blank page.

    Second (fun fact: my iPad autocorrected "second" to "scone" :rofl:), maybe just having a plan for how it ends isn't enough for you. I was in the same boat as you once. I'd get six or ten chapters in then hit a wall. I either didn't know where to go next, or my creativity would disappear, so everything I put on paper felt wrong. So I took the creativity out of it. I started planning my stories beforehand, writing a short synopsis for each chapter before I started working on my first draft. That way, when I sat down to write every day, I knew exactly where I was going with it. And since I stopped caring about writing that perfect first draft, I never hit a wall while writing.

    Third, I wouldn't worry about having your voice right now. Like you said, you had it once. You just aren't feeling it right now. That's okay. Focus on finishing the first draft first. Get the story down. Once you finish, it should be easier to switch that voice back on and edit your first draft until it's "you." For me, I haven't had my voice in months. Months! Part of me has been worried I won't be able to find it again. But it's there, somewhere. And now that my first draft is finished, I can focus on finding it again.

    Sort out your priorities. Your voice shouldn't be at the top of that list right now. Your fist draft should. Then your major plot editing comes next. Then your voice. Writing is a long process. There are writes and rewrites and re-rewrites and edits and beta readers and more edits. So throw perfectionism out of the window. You won't get far if you can't move forward because of the fear of not being perfect. I doubt any writer (even the world renown ones) writes a perfect first draft. Just write. Perfectionism comes later.
  6. Burnistine

    Burnistine Active Member

    Aug 11, 2015
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    I agree with Lea Brooks. Follow her advice. The other thing that I'd like to add is this: do something fun just before you sit down to write. Whether it be listening to a soulful song, spiritual uplifting music, to a comedic radio show. Could be your favorite episode of Frasier (which I highly recommend . . . the guys are idiots . . . intellectual idiots).

    The other day I read a posting by someone on this forum who said that she listened to music to help her write a particular scene.

    Because I think you are obviously overwhelmed, but can't stop writing no matter how hard you try, don't tackle the whole project. Zero in on a scene. And stick with it. Before you attempt to rewrite or embellish the scene, listen to appropriate music. And above all, don't be in a hurry. Allot enough time for the music to soothe (or agitate) you, depending on the scene you're working on, then proceed.

    I get the feeling you're pushing too hard. As if you're trying to meet some arbitrary deadline. Work in moments. Forget about next week or next month. Forget about what you haven't already accomplished. Remember, work with ONE scene.

    Send another posting and let us know how you came out of this fog. I'm be interested to know.
  7. karmazon

    karmazon Member

    Dec 25, 2007
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    I 100% agree. First draft is just building the canvas. Put the parts together, word after word. Don't worry about "art". Then, in subsequent drafts, you add the colors to the canvas.

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