March 11, 2020 at 7:16 pm #108684Anonymous
Every week is the same. I think, I’m gonna actually write this time. I only have a few days where I can actually write, where time presents itself and I could easily get stuff done. But do I? No!! Why? I don’t know!! I can’t do anything! What a failure! I’d like to be able to do something! I’d really really like to be able to do something! Instead I’m wasting away minute by minute all because for some reason, writing is too difficult for me. I used to be able to write up to 10k words in a day. Now I can’t write one. Can someone maybe give some advice, maybe scare me into writing somehow, maybe make me feel bad enough that I actually start doing something, anything helps guys, anything at allMarch 11, 2020 at 8:22 pm #108694Taylor Clogston@taylorclogston
@phoenix “maybe scare me into writing somehow, maybe make me feel bad enough that I actually start doing something”
I can tell you from experience…
Nope. Doesn’t work.
Start journaling, though. On a day you’ve decided you’re going to write, start with a mandatory 100 or 500 or 1000 words or whatever on literally whatever’s on your mind, even if it’s just how frustrated you are with yourself that you can’t write. If, at the end of that mandated period you still can’t bring yourself to write, then just be done for the day.
Also, ritualize writing as much as you can if you want to make it a habit. Get a variety of tea you always and only drink when you’re writing, make a writing playlist, do it as close to the same time each day you do it, etc. I made myself drink a certain flavor of V8 and listen to a certain lofi hiphop playlist every day for NaNo in 2017, and it was 100% the reason that was the first year I finished it. Even years later I still associate both the drink and the playlist with “writing time” when I come across them again.
From one neurotic and unwillingly lazy writer to another, just do it cause otherwise it won’t get done. Literally no one cares if you never write another word again, unless you’re the one who cares.
"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and MargaritaMarch 11, 2020 at 8:42 pm #108698Urwen Starial@urwen-starial
Sounds like you need to calm down a bit.
First off, I want to say that you ARE NOT A FAILURE. If you believe that, which isn’t true, how is that going to encourage you to write more? You cannot force yourself to write, but you can always talk through it. You can always ask for ideas, ask for support. How is believing your writing a mess and yourself a failure going to bring you ANY good? I ask you, why would you believe that? You are unique, maybe you struggle to write, but that doesn’t make you worthless. Material things do NOT define us.
Now that that has been said, here’s my advice.
Routines are good, but you cannot expect your brain to give you ideas because you want them.
I suggest you take notes on things you are planning, write your ideas out ahead of time so you know what you want to write.
Skip a scene if it’s frustrating you, take breaks for fresh air, try moving your writing space to a different location. All of these are things that can help.
It’s possible you might be overthinking it. It doesn’t have to be the perfect combination of words that flows perfectly and has correct punctuation.
Idk if any of this makes sense, but I agree with what @taylorclogston said, routines can help, and setting goals ahead of time can too.
Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you, I’ll always be here to encourage you if you need it, just say the word and I’ll be there. 🙂
Hope some of this made sense. XD
"Peace in our time. Imagine that."March 11, 2020 at 8:47 pm #108702Taylor Clogston@taylorclogston
“you cannot expect your brain to give you ideas because you want them”
(actually yes you can, it works really well, you literally just tell your brain sternly you need idea or solution to X problem and then forget about it, works wonders if you do it right before you go to bed at night, the human subconscious is basically magic)
"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and MargaritaMarch 11, 2020 at 11:31 pm #108708PenSword@pensword
How long have you been dealing with this? What the others said is definitely good advice, but honestly, sometimes your brain just might need a break. It’s okay to give yourself a week of no writing at all, don’t even think about it. Then come back after the week, and work on the habits and such that the others mentioned.
And no matter what, forgive yourself if you’re not as “productive” as you want to be. Beating yourself up for not doing “as much as you could” isn’t going to make anything better, and it could be stifling if it goes on for too long. Know that it’s okay, and make yourself move on.March 13, 2020 at 11:41 am #108745The Inkspiller@the-inkspiller
@Phoenix Brother (or sister), I don’t know if this will comfort you, but I will do my best. What the others have said is all helpful and true, and I would counsel you to breathe and pray – I am familiar with your place of panic and angst, and it is not a good place to stand – not even if you’re “taking care of business.” I have tried many times, and I can’t scare myself into writing more and better; it comes when it comes. All I can do in the interim is prepare my notes and stretch my brain for when the inspiration does come.
You are not alone in this. I have been in your shoes for quite some time. Without blaming it on ADHD – I understand your frustration of wanting to write, having the opportunity, and utterly failing to make use of it and producing nothing. I also remember when I used to be able to write a stupendous amount, or at least consistently write every morning and over time produce a great quantity of words and progress – and now that progress often seems sluggish and infrequent if indeed it appears at all. I’m not as devoted to completing my own projects as I used to be, and I can’t even chalk it down to just being busier than I used to be, because I’m not.
Take a breath and take a tally – not of the reasons why you can’t write (that comes later), but of your priorities. What is best in life? What is most important? And what is most important to you?
God comes first. Consider where your writing fits in there; it may well be that in your heart (as it has in mine from time to time) writing and accomplishment has come to supersede God in priority, and to draw you back to Him, He has for a time taken away your pride and joy that you may find lasting pride and lasting joy in our Father who provides all that we need, He who in us always perfectly accomplishes His will. We should not martyr ourselves for our writing, but only ever for God, and believe you me, you’ll know when a martyrdom is in the works. This is not it; I used to believe my writing was my holy gift to God and He has corrected me many times since. As the Lord through Samuel to King Saul, “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22). Though we may get our kicks and our highs from crafting our worlds of fiction and fantasy, there is no higher joy nor catharsis more exhilarating than confronting ourselves with the earth-shattering reality of our Lord’s very existence, what He has done for us already, what He works in us day by day, and what He still has waiting for us.
I won’t make the error of Job’s friends by saying that your drought of writing is divine punishment for sin. But regardless of the season or reason, no harm can come of taking a moment to breathe and draw near to and draw upon the grace of the Lord our Father.
After God comes your responsibility to your family, your employer, your friends. Do you have others who depend on you for support? Are there others who (consciously or not) are watching to see if you are acting like the Christian you claim to be? Your original post does not suggest that work is the greatest constraint on your writing abilities, but it’s still something to consider. If you’re working an exhausting 12 hour shift of physical labor, you may have to modify your approach and timing to writing.
Like Taylor said, ritualize your writing. Habit is a powerful tool, one which we may harness for much good (and much foolishness).
There’s more I wish I could write but the words escape me at the moment. I will be praying for you.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1). You are not a slave to your work and your writing, even if you see it (rightly so!) as a gift from God. Live free, not in chains.
Non nobis Domine, sed nomini, Tuo da gloriam.March 13, 2020 at 5:28 pm #108783Michael Erasmus@michael-erasmus
This might sound abstract or even cheesy, but it’s what helped me in such a time, so hear me out. For me, the key to overcoming these obstacles is . . . LOVE! (This doesn’t just apply to writing, but I’ll explain it in a writing context.)
When you fan the flames of love for something, and embrace that love, then your focus will shift from yourself (“I don’t feel like it”, “I’m a failure”, “I can’t do this”, etc.) to the thing itself. If you love the act of writing, then focus on that, and apply yourself to having fun with it. If you love the story you want to tell, then dream of it, get lost in it until you can’t help but sit and let it flow from your heart. If your love is for your readers or the message you want to change their lives, then think of them and let your desire to touch their hearts be your strength.
Let your love burn fiercer than your doubts and weaknesses, brighter than fear and self-consciousness. Do this by thinking about what you love, praying over these things, and drawing nearer to He who’s the perfect source of love.
I hope this makes sense, and I hope you find what works for YOU. Best wishes!March 14, 2020 at 8:31 pm #108821Anonymous
Thanks everyone who responded
@taylorclogston the music thing is tricky for me because I get tired of the same songs in the same playlist really easily but I made one anyway. I think the journaling tip is actually helping me though. I have no idea why.
@urwen-starial hey, you’re right. I tend to forget that. Thanks for the reminder
@pensword it’s been awhile. Yeah I think there’s a whole culture going on now where writers have to have this massive output in order to be worth something. The words “taking a break” instantly make me recoil because I’m so used to the idea of breaks meaning you’re weak and can’t handle anything. And look how that’s going for me, I can’t do anything. I’ll keep it in mind that breaks do in fact still exist.
@the-inkspiller I rarely turn to God unless the emergency is life-threatening but your reply kind of made me think about that, one of the main reasons writing was so hard for me was because I really did leave God out of it in a purposeful, malicious way. That’s a whole long, boring story no one cares or has the time to hear, but yeah, you’re right and I’ll try at least.
@michael-erasmus Ive given that same advice to a friend before but I rarely see other people give it, so it’s interesting that you say that. I certainly do love my story a whole lot, but it’s so much easier to just daydream it instead of writing it. Or draw something based on it instead of writing it. Or talk about it with my friends. Not sure how to get the whole love thing to focus itself on writing my actual story though. Maybe it does do something though because today I went through my drawings and everything and was inspired enough that I wrote one thousand words. Terribly tiny compared to my previous feats of 10k, but I’m seriously not about to complain because like, I wasn’t writing anything.March 15, 2020 at 2:08 am #108826Michael Erasmus@michael-erasmus
For what it’s worth, my daily goal is 1,000. With full-time work, other responsibilities, and exercising (which also helps having a clearer mind for creative work, I might add), I have neither the time nor the energy for more. On some days I squeeze in 1,500 or more, but then others I barely do 500. So don’t feel bad about that. Start small, but start consistent, as others have said.
Also, I think of all the advice given here, @the-inkspiller ‘s should be taken the most seriously. When you walk with God in intimacy (NOT trying to be “good enough”, but simply enjoying that gift freely given), things change drastically, even writing. I have experienced this.
Good luck out there. You’ve got this!March 15, 2020 at 8:13 am #108831Naiya Dyani@naiya-dyani
Wow. Can I just say that this forum is an amazing place?
I can’t “compete” with what everyone else has said (not that I’m trying to lol), but in the sense of simply keeping up writing, staying involved with a community like this definitely helps. It keeps you accountable to keep on writing in a way, especially when you word war with others! (Seriously, I love doing those, even though I usually lose.)
But yeah! Everyone’s had some really good advice. *virtual hugs* Good luck out there! I’ll be praying for you.
Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.March 15, 2020 at 8:14 am #108832Naiya Dyani@naiya-dyani
(Also, I don’t mind hearing people’s stories. 🙂 )
Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.March 20, 2020 at 2:02 pm #109172PenSword@pensword
@phoenix I think we live in an achievement oriented culture as it is, and that doesn’t help with anything, but especially things like writing. I hope you find something that works for you.
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