How do I write again?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Devora, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Devora

    Devora Mystagogue

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    It's been a really long time since i've been back at this site. not sure if the old faces i knew are still here, but i figure i'd still try to go fourth and try to get a discussion going for a problem i'm having.

    I've been on hiatus for quite sometime after having to deal with a massive amount of writer's block due to anxiety and depression. It started with my experiences with my last job which caused me enough mental suffering that it killed practically all of my want to be creative, and i had seriously considered institutionalizing myself due to spiraling into suicidal depression.

    I managed to quit that job, but I did it in such an impulsive way that i was left unemployed, poor, and living off the charity of my friends. Luckily for me I managed to find another job after 6 months and i've been finding some sembalance of my old self before depression, but at this point i wasn't intrested in writing as i wanted to focus on my job and get my life back together.

    It's been a few months now, and now i'm starting to get the urge to try to be a writer again, but having been out of it for so long i've been trying to deal with a few issues i'm having. For one, i can't seem to sit myself down to start writing. It's such a struggle to sit down and convince myself to write because i get frustrated instantly and switch to something less productive, but that also stims from the fact that i have trouble getting the story started because i can never present my ideas in a very pleasing way.

    I know that most of these problems are easily fixable, but i feel like i'm back at square one as a writer and i feel i could at least ask the forums what to do to get back on the flow of being a writer.
     
  2. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    I hire thugs to grab me, beat me up, and tie me to a comfy chair... I call it the Spanish Inquisition Method.

    When I can’t find thugs, I sit and write. I’ve yet to find a magic psche bullet.
     
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  3. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Lore Master

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    Sometimes I just ramble thoughts and ideas into a digital voice recorder when I can't physically write down my ideas for whatever reason. And I keep little notebooks everywhere to jot down ideas/sketch out themes or imagery. After a while of the 'accumulation phase', usually "something" emerges. It's not always pen to paper, but I try to get my ideas recorded somewhere. A key to this is to 'forbid' yourself from erasing or throwing away anything for 3 months after generating the content, so you don't get too critical of yourself. (And if you find yourself fixating on an idea that you made that you 'hate', explore why or what about it you hate so much. That can be a surprisingly creative exercise.)

    You may also do well to try something 'creative' (or healing) that isn't explicitly writing, to explore new types inspiration/ frustration/ inspiration during uninspired times.

    Hope this helps you on your journey.
     
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  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

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    I second everything Night Gardener says. Try a voice recorder. Little notebooks for sure! I lived in those for the last four years of my working career. Not great for continuity, but it made me feel I was at least doing something.

    This might be a place for writing prompts. Writing about what is basically someone else's topic, writing something that no one will ever see, might help lower the bar a bit. Journaling is another way to start writing again.

    And no, I don't think there are easy answers.

    Welcome back!
     
    Night Gardener likes this.
  5. ApaCisare

    ApaCisare Journeyman

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    I get what you're saying--I've had similar experiences in the past. Life throws you a curveball and once you've managed to hit it, getting back to normal (or at least a new kind of normal) can be very difficult. Heck, it really does feel like you're back at square one.
    But you aren't. As much as it feels that way (and in many respects, you will have to relearn the discipline and inspiration you had before life's difficulties arose) you have, in some way, grown as a person.
    If you find creativity therapeutic, then let it be therapeutic. Don't beat yourself up over self-imposed deadlines or trying to match the output you had before, allow yourself to ease back into it. I always think of returning to writing after a long hiatus as a sportsperson returning to after an injury. You have to pace yourself to avoid another injury and to build up your stamina.
    My advice, don't be too harsh on yourself. Give yourself time to get back into writing, even if that means just a sentence a day, pat yourself on the back for getting something down.
     
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  6. SergeiMeranov

    SergeiMeranov Journeyman

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    I'd second Demesnedenoir. At the end of the day there is no trick to it. You just need to sit down and write.

    Touching off something you said, I too frequently worry that what I write down will be absolutely unreadable or terrible or what have you. I think the key is to write anyway. Just because it's on the screen doesn't make it immutable. Write it down, in whatever form, then revise it later or delete and restart it. They key to get writing is to just sit down and actually write. Even when you can't think of how to get the characters from point A to point B in a believable and interesting way you can still write "and then they walked to Point B". It's my way of getting past annoying writer's block.
     
  7. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step and all that jazz. I used this a lot for myself, and I recently found there's a word for it. It's called chunking. Basically, it's about taking a large, difficult task and breaking it down into small achievable goals. This makes things mentally easier. For me, a lot easier. You're not writing a whole book. You're writing a scene or fraction there of.

    For me, it's about breaking down a story into it's components, then taking those components and breaking them down further into scenes. I then take those scenes and sketch out how they'll unfold in point form either ahead of time or right before I write. Then when I sit down to actually write, I have a broad map of how I want things to go, and promptly go off in a different direction. :p

    But like I said, it's about breaking things down into smaller tasks that you can see yourself completing.

    Sometimes when I'm in a rough patch. All I do is sketch out a scene point form. I'll do multiple versions taking different paths from different starting points. I don't actually write any prose until I've sorted things out enough for me to be comfortable at taking a crack at it.

    IMHO, figure out what your baby steps are and start with them. Soon you'll be walking and then running.
     
  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Start by getting rid of the pressure. Start with a few sentences, a random paragraph, a stupid story prompt, a bit of fanfiction, or anything that doesn't make you feel like, "Writing this means I'm a writer, I'm writing my story and this will determine if I'm any good at it, my career as a writer depends on getting through this."

    Do stretches, get into your happy space, get your mind off the anxiety. Write - I dunno - three paragraphs about a dragon that's nervous because people are watching him clean dirt out of his scales. Take things slow and develop a tiny bit with every sitting. Think about the MC in the story you want to write - then write a scene of that character, as played by your first grade teacher - again, your struggle here isn't with writing, it's with your anxiety about writing. Deal with the anxiety first, and the writing should come back.
     
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  9. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Just keep at it. Sit regularly to write anyway even if the words don't come out. Be easy on yourself but consistent. The habit will return.
     
  10. kyrrimar

    kyrrimar Acolyte

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    This thread touched a nerve for me because I went through a very dark time where I set all my creative endeavors aside in favor of what I felt needed to be done because of extraordinary personal circumstances. Since all my other dreams and aspirations were crashing and burning, it didn't seem hanging onto the writing was worth doing either. I had to focus on Real Life. Nothing else mattered. I was SO wrong. Giving up writing was probably the worst mistake I ever made because in so doing, I sacrificed part of myself--a part of myself that had been a gift to begin with and would surely have provided light during some very dark times. Aside from dusting off a book manuscript and sending it out to a publisher running a contest, I didn't write anything new for almost ten years. If I had felt my career as a writer had passed me by before, I really felt it then--but once the proverbial faucet was on, the creative waters kept flowing and I refused to look back. I've had a lot of setbacks since then (RL never goes away, it just changes) and I do get frustrated by feeling "late" to the publishing game, but even slow forward motion is still forward motion.

    Give yourself a break. Done is done. As one of my writer friends has often told me "look back, but don't stare." Don't worry about what you write, how much you write, how good or bad or silly or marketable any of it is. Don't fret over defining yourself as a hobby writer or a professional writer and don't ever feel like you have to follow someone else's Rules. Write whatever you want to simply because you want to write it. You need to. Write to make yourself happy. Write something and you'll write something more. Write until you feel like you've hit your stride again. Write something and you'll eventually have something to revise. Then write some more.
     
  11. Peat

    Peat Mystagogue

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    I hear you. Been there before. Am kinda there now tbh.

    I think you've been given a lot of good advice but I strenuously disagree with all "Just sit there and write" as if it were a standard writers' block. Its not. Its a form of rehab. You're trying to rebuild the strength without breaking fragile muscles and putting yourself back in the bad place. You don't need a lot of pressure and feeling bad because it's not happening

    What I think you need to do - and I'm kinda reassured at how much I'm echoing other posts - is just dabble and think about it until it start becoming natural again. Think about stories, about the characters you want to write. Write down those little snippets. Once it brews and brews and the story becomes a real urge to tell, and once you get happy with what you're writing, you'll start building and building again.

    And from there you can sit down and hammer it out.
     
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  12. Arranah

    Arranah Master

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    When I'm stuck I force myself to sit at the computer for 15 minutes at a time. During that time I can't get up and go pee. I can't get up to get coffee. I can't listen to music. I force myself to stare at the blank screen. The assumption is that I will get bored enough to write something. Put down a bunch of gobble-de-goop. Write anything that comes to mind about anything. You don't need to save it. You don't even need to reread or edit it. Just write junk. Eventually this works for me.
     
  13. Garren Jacobsen

    Garren Jacobsen Dark Lord

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    Human sacrifice. Specifically your own. By sitting down and writing. Not much else to it but to do it.
     
  14. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Master

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    We all have lives and life tends to intrude on our writing to varying degrees. Sometimes there is a point reached where we can't be bothered with writing either because we become disillusioned, our attempts at writing are a flop (a very humbling experience) or we have other issues to deal with (in my case getting flooded out of my home twice in a month and having the house I live in condemned by the local council within the space of one and a half calendar months).

    However, writer's block or not. I have a disease. I must fill lined blank paper with words. Lots and lots of words. Most of them will never see the light of day and that is probably best for the greater good of what passes as literature here in New Zealand.

    Write, damn it! Write! Don't worry about what other people think. Just write. Somewhere along the line something is bound to give you that eureka moment when you realise you've written something useful among all that dross.
     
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