1. DarkWoods

    DarkWoods New Member

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    Starting writing after a major depression

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DarkWoods, Sep 16, 2018.

    Hi everyone.

    I just came out of a long depression of about a year. I am now feeling way better and I am more interested in spending time with my hobbies.

    At first, one of my goal was to write my first novel. Eventually, I tought that maybe the best thing to start me up would be to start with a few short stories to keep my motivation and inspiration.

    I am an Earth sciences and wildlife specialist. I would also like to write a few nature books to educate people about the importance of plants, wildlife and ecosystems and how we can increase biodiversity in our backyard by using native plants to attract more birds, bees and butterflies.

    I would like to have a few advices about what should I do to start my journey into creative writing? What should I keep on my desk and what should I remove so I can concentrate? What should be my morning and evening routines? My iMac crashed a few months ago so since that time, the only computer I am using is my iPad with my keyboard. I just bought "Scrivener" but never used it yet. How often should I read? How often should I write? I am reading Stephen King's book "On writing". After that, I am planning to read "Plot and structure" from James Scott Bell.

    Thanks for your help!
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
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  2. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

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    Hey welcome to the Forum! Glad your feeling better, hope you get plenty of good writing in.

    On that note, really writing processes depend highly on the individual. In my experience a lot of finding out the hard way I work better doing this than doing that. For example, pansters vs plotters spectrum. Pansters just sit down and write, while plotters give themselves a detailed outline to 'fill in' before they start writing. I am more of a plotter than I've realized, I think. I need 'landmarks' to hit but there's a lot of flex room on how the specific scenes go down.

    As for the desk, again that's up to you! I don't even write on a desk, I just pull up my writing software and try not to get distracted by the internet. (It doesn't work that well tbh but I haven't figured out a better way that I'll actually do yet.) If you're at your desk and it distracts you, get rid of it, if it doesn't, then let it stay.

    As for the reading/writing thing, again, up to you! I did a thing a ways back where I'd beat myself up and get mad at myself for not writing 'enough'- don't do that. Writing should be fun and a guilt-free activity (esp at this level), if you end up making it to where it's not you'll subconsciously start avoiding it.

    The best thing you can do to start with is be persistent. Try to write every day, even if it's only a sentence or heck even a phrase. But if you don't, don't worry about it and pick it back up the next day. Eventually you'll get through that novel.
     
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  3. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Member

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    5. Here you are. These might be good or bad or something else. But there is a lot of good will behind these advices.

    1. Then most important thing is not writing but recovery.

    One definition about depression is that it is sorrow that has not been grieved/mourn.

    When you mourn/grieve it, it transforms to recollection and starts to fade away.

    2. Good goal.

    3. Fore some reason area east from Fiji interests me. Why it is so active so deep? 500-600km?

    4. Don't educate people. Motivate and help them educate themselves. It's more fun and more effective.

    5. Five again:
    - Separate creative working and production. When you can do creative working, do it. If you can't do production.
    - Read about writing.
    - Write every day if you can.
    - Think writing as phases. Your goal is not to make exellent text but to finish that phase. (You can see my phases in Progress Journals: Aspies Pipeline.) Then you go to next phase and do it.
    - You should think about the nature of your journey. Is it a business trip, discovery, adventure, holiday...?

    6. Your choice. My table has laptop, it's stand, screen, keyboard, pad and nothing else.

    7. Your choice. Many, many writers say that best writing time is right after waking up. I do agree.

    8. Every day.

    Momentum and inertia work for you if you can write every day. If you can't keep momentum up, it starts to work against you.

    Working every day = 5 pages a day = 35 pages

    Working every day but monday =
    (Monday is zero, Tuesday is difficult ≈ 3 pages, Wednesday = 4 pages, Thursday = 4 pages, Friday = 4 pages, Saturday & Sunday... very very difficult if you have family and no constant momentum, so... = 3 pages combined. Loosing Monday means loosing 17 pages because you lose your momentum and inertia works against you. And the risk of failing at least triples.) 18 pages.

    This sounds like "can't be true but it is with many, many writers.
     
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  4. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Member

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    My advice:

    Think about this discovery writers <==> outline writers line. Where are you?

    1. Draw the line and put a X to where you think you are.

    2. Start fast and rough practising of that type of writing that has longer distance to your X.

    3. Point of that practising is this:
    - X is the place where you are.
    - Creativity need room.
    - Place is small thing.
    - By robust training you change your position to your area.
    - You have more room to create, make mistakes and succeed.

    4. Chancing a location/place to an area/territory is good, fast and easy thing to do.
     
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  5. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm glad you're feeling better and are wanting to do something as exciting as write. Sounds like you already have many topics in mind to write about that are non-fiction. Non fiction might get you started—but fiction is different.

    If you decide you want to write fiction, I'd say the first and most important thing is to come up with a story you want to tell. Get it in your mind, think through aspects of it (you don't have to plan the whole thing if you don't want to, but just get familiar with your story ideas, characters, setting, etc.) See if you can get to the point where you start to envision scenes and can hear dialogue and feel the characters' emotions.

    Is there something you always wanted and never got? You can create characters who do 'get' these things. But what happens when they do? Many fulfilled wishes have their own problems the person who wished for them didn't forsee. You want to find the love of your life? You find that person, and they love you back? Then what happens? You now have something to lose. That can be where the story starts. You're losing them, or afraid of losing them, or something you both wanted together is being lost or threatened. Explore your ideas and take them to the farthest point you can. Play the 'what if' game. What if you did get exactly what you always wanted? What then? Happily Ever After doesn't usually exist. So what might happen next?

    Of course you can also read, both how-to books and other writers' fiction. But I think the most important thing that will give you the most satisfaction is to tell your own story without TOO much worry about whether or not you're doing it right. There is nothing you do that can't be changed afterwards during the many edits you'll be doing after you get to The End the first time. So don't worry too much. See if you can get these scenes down while they are fresh in your imagination. Think about where your story is going, and how to link events and scenes. And then, when you're ready, you'll wake up some morning (or the middle of the night) and just start writing.

    Speaking as somebody who did just that, I can honestly say it's the most fun I've ever had sitting down. Nothing else comes close. To transition from voracious reader to somebody who has actually written a book is one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done. I wasn't sure if I could do it when I started, and really didn't have much of a clue about the tricks of creative writing. But once I got my story out there, I learned.
     
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  6. DarkWoods

    DarkWoods New Member

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    Thanks MusingWordsmith for your welcome.

    I think I am, like you, more a plotter than a panster. I will see eventually when I start writing. A few days ago, I just sat for 30 minutes and wrote all different story ideas that came to my mind. I must say that I have lots of imagination.

    I will try to schedule a 30 minutes of writing each morning when I wake up. Eventually, I will rise this 30 minutes to one hour.

    Thanks Alan Aspie.

    Yes you are right about the motivating and helping people to educate themselves instead of educating them. You are spot on.

    Yes I also think than just after waking up would be the best time for me. After writing, I could train for 30 minutes and then have breakfast while, at the same time, listen to a podcast.

    Thanks jannert for your precious tips.

    Yes I was thinking of maybe start to write a non fiction book and right after start writing my first short story.

    I have a few stories ideas that I kept in a file. I should pick one and add more substance, imagine the settings, the caracters and the plot.

    Thanks again :)
     
  7. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Lively Fred

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    I also have a doc saved on my computer with all my story ideas on it. I've found it helpful, I'm able to set aside those that I'm not working on easier.
     
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  8. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Member

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    You are wellcome.

    People love to learn when they are not taught. They hate to be taught. So if you want people to learn, let them, don't teach.

    And if you want to take care of yourself after depression, pay attention to inertia/momentum of things. Try to make it your ally, not your oppressor.
     
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  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I started writing fiction after suffering through something that spun me right into a depression. And before I actually felt better I started writing. I started writing a short story every week. And I wasn't very good at all when I started writing them, but something happens along the way of writing 52 stories. You get better. I think most people have to put a lot of work into even being a decent writer let alone a good one. But it can happen. I wrote right through the hardest time in my like. And more than anything that came of it, it really did help me. So, I say do something crazy like write a short story every week for a year. It will elevate your writing so that after you will be more prepared for writing other things. And the accountability that comes with this challenge was really good for me mentally. Plus, you learn you can finish things and produce things on a regular basis. I know short stories are a lot different than novels, but writing them and working on them also has different effects on us. That's my story and my advice. Good luck to you! :)
     
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  10. DarkWoods

    DarkWoods New Member

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    Hi Alan, what do you mean exactly by the inertia momentum of things? Sorry but my first language is French and there are still lots of English expressions I have never seen before ;)

    Thanks deadrats for your suggestion of writing one short story every week. I am not sure I am yet ready for this challenge because I procrastinate a lot and there are still some days, like today, when I don't feel like doing nothing.

    I also have to declutter my condo because I feel like it drains lot of energy from me when I see clutter everywhere.
     
  11. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Member

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    (My first language is Finnish. And my English is not very good.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momentum

    You need more energy to accelerate than you need to keep on speed. You need more energy to turn than you need to keep direction...

    Depression eats your energy.

    1. You start something. You fail. You start again. You fail. You.. You really, really loose all energy you have and the risk of depression goes higher.

    2. You start something - but carefully and with low targets. You do it every day - but not too much and concentrating more to doing that to targets. You don't fail. You don't waste your energy to restarting and restarting and...

    In #1 you are fighting against inertia. In #2 you go hand in hand with inertia.

    After some time in the path 2 things are easier. You keep on doing and it is not hard. There is some momentum in your doings.

    Now you use your momentum to help you. You accelerate a bit. Not much, just a bit. And after this new speed feels easy, you accelerate very little...

    You don't put a target to finish something in the beginning. Your first target is to get at least some constant doing, then a bit more, then a bit more. And only after you have a habbit of going on every day, then you maybe think your productivity or goals...

    After depression it is important to get yourself moving and keep on. "Where I am going" comes well after "am I going anywhere".

    Imagine yourself as a VW Passat with 2.0 TDI engine and tank half empty. If you drive in rush hour traffic in Paris... well... you start, stop, accelerate, stop, slow down, accelerate... and your tank is empty.

    But if you drive nice rural highways with constant speed, now rush, not much accelerating and slowing down... 400km later you notice that you still have fuel for 100km...
     

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