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  1. Reaper

    Reaper New Member

    Dec 30, 2009
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    I feel like I've lost my nerve when it comes to writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Reaper, Oct 23, 2010.

    I have never been a confident person, but at least it never affected my writing. Now, every time I try to write something, I start to panic. Sometimes, when I'm sitting in class I can jot down a couple of lines, but when I get home and try to develop an idea further its like a there is a brick wall in the way.

    I have an idea, I have characters and I want to write. But I'm not sure if I can get past this mental block.
  2. Tyrolancer

    Tyrolancer New Member

    Oct 21, 2010
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    One helpful piece of advice I've learned is...

    Separate your creating from your editing.

    Granted, it's much harder than it sounds. It's going to take a long time to be able to turn off your inner editor while you write words down on paper. Most fear, when writing, comes from the question, "Is this really good enough?" But writing has an advantage that most other activities don't: you can revise as many times as you want!

    I would suggest the following: set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and sit down in front of a blank word processor. Also, make sure to turn off all distractions (maybe pull out your internet wire). Until that timer hits 0, do not stop typing. Just type, type, type about anything that comes to your mind. This is a throw-away exercise so it doesn't matter if it's good or not, just type!

    This will get you into the habit of turning off your editor when the creator within you is working.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Taylee91

    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

    Jul 13, 2010
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    The Bay State
    That's a great suggestion, Tyro.

    Hey, Reaper. Your predicament completely describes who I was months ago. I was hypercritical. I procrastinated. I was a perfectionist in every single minute way. Everything had to be "really, really good."

    But nothing the first time is "really, really good." It's the first try! The first time you drive a car won't turn out to be perfect. Or maybe the second time. All that really matters is that you're practicing, getting into the routine.

    In my mind, it's that evil little man peering over your shoulder. He has to just butt in and voice every single opinion of his, making your life completely miserable. If you can get to a point where that obnoxious little voice is no longer heard, you're on your way to breaking down that wall of bricks. Where doubts, fears, and despair stand in your way.

    My suggestion: it may seem unconventional in a way, but try scribbling at night. For some reason this always helps me. I think that's when my editor just decides to hit the hay after a grueling day of bothering me :D

    Good luck, happy writing :D
  4. Eunoia

    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

    Mar 8, 2010
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    I was going to suggest what Tyrolancer has. We actually edit our writing before it even hits the page. A solution to this is to just write down everything that comes to mind for say ten minutes every day. Even if you don't know what to write, write that, write that you don't know what to write and eventually you will have an idea. I've been doing this for a while and it's great. Also, from what you write, you'll see what kind of stories and such you write. Stop worrying so much over it and just write it. Basically, get the quantity down, and then worry about the quality later.

    Good luck! :)
  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
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    Puerto Rico
    I agree with the aforementioned... to an extent.

    If you find yourself stuck, crashed in a loop of self criticism, then yes, make yourself write without concern for what it is or where it is going. Don't worry that it does or does not belong to any project, that you start in the middle, end, beginning, etc. Doesn't matter. Your process is stuck and you need to unstick it before you can begin to use it again.

    I don't think this is a particularly productive mode in which to write once the process is working again, but as an "app" to get the process running again, it has a use.

    Sorry for treating your situation like a computer program, but I'm sure you can see the analogy.
  6. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Jul 11, 2010
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    Near Los Angeles
    John Steinbeck started each writing day when he was working on his novel East of Eden by writing a letter to his friend (who was also his editor). In these letters he'd just let himself ramble on about anything - the novel he was writing, his family, his house, the weather, the politics of the day, whatever. He did it just to warm up and relax - "getting his mental arm in shape to pitch a good game", as he put it (I'm quoting from memory; that might not be verbatim).

    I've found that this helps. Start by writing a letter to someone, even if they never see the letter. Start by writing a blog post or something. Unclog the pipes and get the words flowing.
  7. Melzaar the Almighty

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Aug 28, 2010
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    I find writing about stuff on an internet forum about writing helps a lot to get me used to typing a lot. :p
  8. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Jun 13, 2010
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    Queens, NY
    I like the idea of just writing, nonstop, just making it up as you go, as a way to break free of internal inhibitions. I'm reminded of the scene from "Dead Poet's Society" when Keating covers the eyes of the shy student and makes him just shout out images in his head from a photo of Walt Whitman hanging on the wall.
  9. Manav

    Manav Contributing Member

    Mar 26, 2010
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    Imphal, India
    I agree with everything that has been said by others, but one reason can also be that the idea you have formed in your mind is not sufficient enough to begin writing. In my own experience the process of writing actually involves spending more time thinking than actual writing. My process is this: a vague idea and chars are formed, I write one or two sentences, then based on the lines I wrote I spend hours developing the chars/scene in my mind, once I have done that sentences comes easily. You can try that.
  10. erik martin

    erik martin Contributing Member

    May 20, 2010
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    San Diego, CA
    You said you have an idea and characters, but do you have a plot when you try to start? By idea do you mean plot or premise? I get lots of ideas about situations or settings, and about characters, etc. But unless I can think of a good conflict to put them in that I care to write about I have nothing.

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