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  1. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    That 50K Wall (anyone else?)

    Discussion in 'Novels' started by The Piper, Apr 19, 2018.

    So I've been writing solid for about a month, sometimes 2 or more chapters a day, and even on the days when I'm not writing I'm itching to get back to the project because I'm so excited about it...

    Or at least, that's how it was going till a few days ago. Now every chapter I write seems a little bit more shit than the last and I'm losing motivation rapidly. I want to write - I've got a plan laid out that, even though it's changing all the time, leads to an ending that I've been happy with ever since the idea for this story came to me. Chapter by chapter, I have an outline that, until now, has made things really easy. And nothing in that respect has changed - it's still right there, in front of me. I know exactly what I need to write and where it's going...

    But. Well... Nothing's coming out when my fingers hit the keyboard.

    I've realised that this happened before - with my last book, I reached a point where I just felt I couldn't write it any more. No reason, just... Lack of motivation. And both times, it's been pretty close to the 50000 word count. About halfway through the story - pretty much exactly halfway, with this new one.

    Is this a problem anyone else has? They say that marathon runners reach a certain point and hit a wall, and it feels very much like that sort of thing. But how do they get over it? Or, if anyone else gets this sort of feeling, how do YOU get over it?...

    Would really appreciate some help with this one as I don't want to lose my latest baby to this wall (or whatever it is).

    Thank you,
    Piper
     
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  2. rincewind31

    rincewind31 Active Member

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    So what did you do last time?
     
  3. GB reader

    GB reader Contributor Contributor

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    Unfortunately this thing with writing is lonely, you have to do it yourself and it’s hard.

    I only write short stories, so actually I have no idea how you could even try to write a novel.

    I need deadlines, without them I write things that are 50-75 percent ready. But then I leave them. No one is gonna miss them. But I don't stop writing, I just start writing something else. I use the monthly contests here at WF to give me a deadline. By posting there I manage to finish things.



    So maybe:

    Promise yourself that you will finish it later.

    Write something else.
    Come back to your story a week/month later.

    or

    Take one chapter and polish it absurdly,
    look for synonyms, read out loud.
    Try to get every sentence, or at least every paragraph reflect the mode of the story.

    or

    send a few chapters of to someone, and feel that you can't do anything until you get response, you are free to do whatever else you haven't done the last months. Feel that you are not responible now, someone else has the ball.

    And wait eagerly for response.

    (edited misspelled word)
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
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  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Same way a marathon runner does - I used to run a lot (until I fucked up my ankle - but I digress) when you're running a marathon or an ultra there comes a point where your body goes anaerobic because it needs more energy than aerobic breakdown can supply, then things start to hurt, and it would be much easier to just give up, your body is telling you to stop, slow down, take a break .... that's the moment that separates a a real runner from the wannabes - the latter give up, make excuses, slow down - the real runner grits through it, it isn't easy - if it was easy anyone could do it, but your marathon runner knows its coming, is prepared mentally for it and doesn't stop because it hurts, its supposed to hurt, you just keep going, put one foot in front of the other and think about achieving the goal you want whether that's a personal best or winning or whatever.

    Same for writers - if you know what you want to write, write it...it might not be very good at first draft but that's okay writers write, its what we do. Don't succumb to excuses, don't listen to the voice telling you can't go on - just focus on the finish line and write the damn thing
     
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  5. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman Extradinor Contributor

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    This, and....

    Don't write a novel, write a rough draft first, I hope that makes sense. Save all your details, all your descriptions for the Polish up in the revision. Just get your bare bones idea and concept on paper, the rest will come.

    And I recommend this till the cows come home, get a physical Journal for your WIP and write, what you want to achieve, your Concepts, thoughts about the book, etc. Or tape record yourself so you can play it back at a later date, maybe the energy of your past self might encourage you.

    It also doesn't hurt that multiple journals for other things. Personally, I have four journals not including my WIP Journal.

    Do you write by hand? I find that helps keeps me going one way, and forces me to save the edit for the revision. What you will be doing again, and again, and again, and again till is a polished silver!
     
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  6. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    Hi everyone,

    Sorry it's taken so long to reply to this, life is chaos and everything is Hell (this is the short version).

    Last time I had this problem, I couldn't see any way past it, and I gave up. Then I came across a website hosting a writing competition where you could post chapters online and potentially win a lot of money and I thought "maybe this will inspire me to keep writing it" and also, a lot of money. What more can I say? But it didn't help, and I'd almost posted all the chapters I had by the time I realised "oh shit, I haven't written any more".

    Then the website offered to pay me via a separate programme they run to keep posting until the book was finished. Apparently, they liked it. So with a new chapter-per-week deadline, I had the motibmotivto start writing it again. I'm now two chapters from the end and, although the pressure meant that maybe some chapters didn't turn out how I wanted, I'm further along than I ever thought I'd be with this one - and of course I can always go back and edit.

    So that's how it worked last time. This time, I don't want to post my book online or enter it in a competition, and I don't want deadlines changing the way my story works... I feel really strongly about this new book and just want to finish it, polish it and maybe (just maybe) send it to every publisher under the sun (okay, maybe not every) good old-fashioned let's-write-a-book style.

    So I do like the marathon analogy here - I've realised since this, essentially, that all I can really do is push through this middle section and get to the end, somehow. If the chapters in the middle (that is, those that I'm writing now and struggling with) end up crappy, I'll go back once it's done and make them right. But I'm determined to finish this.

    I started a physical journal, but couldn't figure out what to write - in a weird kind of way, ideas don't come to me unless I'm in front of a keyboard. But I'm trying to get into the habit of jotting down anything and everything, so we'll see how that goes!

    Thaank you to everyone for your help and advice - since this thread I've written a little more, nothing amazing but I'm getting through it. Once again, thanks

    Piper
     
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  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    as Churchill said "When you are going through hell, keep going"
     
  8. Spirit of seasons

    Spirit of seasons Active Member

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    I hit the 10k wall with my first attempt at a story. Only by channeling my inner Stephan King was I able to continue till the story died due to problems with the settings. Pants off! I always get stuck when I try to make a detailed outline. Most of the time I can remember all of the plot points I want to include. Some times writing with no structure is best for writers block. But that's just what works for me, you might need something totally different.
     
  9. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I'm glad that little boost worked for you, but like you said, you don't want to do that every time.

    My own feeling is, if you get stuck, bogged down, bored, whatever ...try skipping ahead. Write a chapter or two that comes later in the book. Write the next part of the story that gets you excited again. Never mind how your characters 'got' there ...just get the later scenes written.

    I think once you get them in front of you—a concrete goal—you'll be more motivated to get the rest of your story written. I think it's more productive (and less wasteful) to skip over the sticky bits rather than trying to write through them, if you're experiencing a downturn in motivation. It's no trouble to go back later and write your linking chapters, scenes, whatever. You'll truly not be wasting time, because you'll know exactly what you're headed for.

    It also might mean that the parts of the story you thought you needed to grind through aren't all that necessary, and can be condensed. If you're stuck or bored at a certain point, perhaps your readers will be as well.
     
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  10. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    That's what I've been doing with my current story: Writing the first draft by hand, with pencil, in physical notebooks. I've even been making sure that the notebooks are the same brand, same size, just different colors to make it easy to remember which is which. But I'm the type of writer who always likes to make my writing look neat. I may cross out words or add some additional lines of text in between the lines, but otherwise I format a chapter header and indent all of my paragraphs. Doing that kind of superficial stuff is what helps me feel excited about my work. I've even gone about typing up the first 14 chapters (something I can do while I am not working on the rough draft, and which does end up giving me ideas of things to change later), and in my Word docs I choose my own fonts and make it look the way I'd imagine the book to look (even though I have no interest in being published).

    The thing about my rough draft so far is, yes, it isn't perfect. It's me getting through the story, chapter by chapter, and some scenes are going to suck, but all that matters is that I'm getting the story written down. I've even created scenes and ideas that I never planned on and have made it much more interesting.

    But, just like the OP, I, too, have struggled with getting stuck. I have written some fan fiction short stories and a longer Star Wars story that was 100-200 pages long, but I have yet to complete an original story regardless of its length. I have found that I cannot force myself to write if I feel too stuck. As much as I hate doing it, I have to set the story aside and wait for the motivation to come to me. The inspiration is there, the ideas are there, just like with the OP, but motivation can't be forced in my case. My experience has been that forcing myself to write just makes me stressed out and unhappy. But I'm hoping that I can actually finish this current story, and all I know is that I'm probably around the 60k-70k word mark (chapters 1-14 are roughly 50k at this point, but 15-27 haven't been typed, and the story isn't even done yet). Seeing that I've most likely made it past the halfway mark is a huge accomplishment for me, and is giving me a reason to keep going, even if I need to set it aside every so often despite my eagerness.
     
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