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Losing Interest When Writing?

pmmg

Istar
I never use the word never...never!

But I do take long breaks at times. I've been on a long break, cause...well...kids. But I am back at it today.

The issue above is a poor strategy. Forcing oneself to do only creates a pattern of feeling like you dont want to. I better strategy is to agree to do something small, like sit in front of the screen and write one word. If you do that, which is easy, you then have permission to quit, and can walk away feeling like you did the minimum.
 

ThinkerX

Myth Weaver
Ages ago, I realized that my writing speed plummeted around the end of the year...and didn't really pick up again until mid-February. From 600-900 words down to maybe 200, apart from the occasional spurt. Since then, I basically take that time off from actually writing the novels, though I do dabble in a bit of world building or editing older works.
 

Penpilot

Staff
Article Team
The issue above is a poor strategy. Forcing oneself to do only creates a pattern of feeling like you dont want to. I better strategy is to agree to do something small, like sit in front of the screen and write one word. If you do that, which is easy, you then have permission to quit, and can walk away feeling like you did the minimum.

For me, this a lot about understanding yourself, your situation, and setting appropriate expectations on what you can and can not achieve based on these things and what you can and will give up in order to achieve your goals.

IMHO, too many people jump in and expect to write something pro level on the first try. They don't have any idea of what it takes to finish a simple story let alone a novel, and get sucked in to the romanticism of it all. They imagine jumping in front of that keyboard and their creativity will just flow like magic, easy peasy, and in a blink, best novel ever, because it won't follow the standard tropes, because its dark, and it's the most original thing ever that's never been done before. And when they fall short, they get the feel-bads. From what I've seen, some think just because they can put together a coherent thought in text or because they can pick out all the flaws in a book or movie and have great ideas on how to fix them that they'll be able to create something from scratch. This train of thought is nothing but a set up for disappointment because of unreasonable expectations.

I think sometimes, not always, but it's something that probably happens to newer writers is the interest wanes because they simply don't know what to do next. That initial rush of excitement of creating a world, finding characters and establishing backstory, runs smack dab into the massive wall of how to take those two things and create a compelling plot/story that uses them. Everyone has it when they get that flash of imagination where they can see the rough outlines of a world, a character, and plot, there's a story in there somewhere and there's a drive to find it. But then, the going gets tough, knowing where the treasure is buried is completely different than having to do the work to dig it up.

People who have done it before, understand the work required, have plans in place, and are more or less prepared for the problems they're going to encounter along the way, even if they've never encountered that particular problem before. They know how to put on the work gloves and dig through the dirt one shovel of it at a time until they get there. Because they know if they keep going, they will get there.

With newer writers, they hit a wall, and it's probably unexpected. They have this great idea. They have this great world and these great characters. It should just be a matter of taking a leaf-blower to it and voila, gold. IMHO, this is were many fall short. As soon as it doesn't happen like it should, they lose interest instead of putting the work in to figure it out.

When I took writing in college, my instructor told us the reason he wanted us to be constantly writing was to empty ourselves. When I first heard that, I didn't know what he meant. It was like WTF is that? But I came realized the more you write, the more you force yourself to write, the more you empty yourself of expectations. Instead of forcing the story to be this or that, instead of expecting the story to be this or that, you simply write and let the story be what it is. Sometimes it ends up similar to what you expect. Sometimes not, but it gets there naturally.

For me, when I'm constantly working on something, there's a point where I kind of get tired of it. And I find that it can be a good thing, because at that point, I'm tired of of my own BS so to speak. And I can push on without being pretty or precious about the story and simply get the work done. Because at that point, it's a lot easier to be ruthless in assessing things, and I can start painting that page red.

my2cents
 
I never lose interest in creative writing, perhaps it is because of the love I feel for it. I believe that there are different types of writing and that one must know which area of writing it is that one loves, or else one can certainly lose interest. For example, poetry, creative writing, song writing, or writing advertising copy I enjoy, and do not get bored. However, in other types of writing I can lose interest very quickly.
 

Mist Dragon

Dreamer
I've discovered that most of the time when I have writer's block it's because what I want to write isn't any good. I've managed to force my way through some scenes and even whole stories where I liked the idea, but I never really had a good story or the scene just didn't work. I think my internal editor was screaming at me that I was wasting my time so rethink it or find something better.

For me, most of the time I find myself in this situation I really haven't thought everything through the way I should have and I find that the story or scene isn't complete or it just lacks anything of value to the story.
 
I have a question:
When you start writing, do you already know where you’re going with the story? Do you have a general development in mind, an ending, main events outlined or mentally organized?

in the past, sometimes, I used to start writing as soon as I had an idea, excited by what could come of it. Then I would realize I was getting stomped by my own plot. Didn’t really know where to go, what to do with the characters, etc. that made me lose interest.

stories often change no matter what but I find that planning your general path makes things more interesting and exciting when the time inevitably comes that you have to make adjustments/solve problems you yourself created in your story and for your characters.
 

ThinkerX

Myth Weaver
I have a question:
When you start writing, do you already know where you’re going with the story? Do you have a general development in mind, an ending, main events outlined or mentally organized?

in the past, sometimes, I used to start writing as soon as I had an idea, excited by what could come of it. Then I would realize I was getting stomped by my own plot. Didn’t really know where to go, what to do with the characters, etc. that made me lose interest.

stories often change no matter what but I find that planning your general path makes things more interesting and exciting when the time inevitably comes that you have to make adjustments/solve problems you yourself created in your story and for your characters.

I used to just take an idea and start writing - but all too often, I'd write myself into a corner. Out of literally dozens of stories started, I 'finished' maybe three of them, plus three or four others that 'showed promise.'

Anymore, barring short 'proof of concept' tales intended to test this or that idea, I do not begin a story without a clear notion of the beginning, middle, and end. Shorter stories I write without an outline, longer ones get short list (2-3 pages top) that name key characters and scenes.
 

pmmg

Istar
I think the term that applies is a waypoint writer. I have a concept of the story and where it is going and what events I want in it, but I dont officially outline. Though, I have started to look ahead a little and outline about four scenes ahead at present.

Not been written into a corner, but I write a lot thinking I will fix that in the rewrite.
 
I think the term that applies is a waypoint writer. I have a concept of the story and where it is going and what events I want in it, but I dont officially outline. Though, I have started to look ahead a little and outline about four scenes ahead at present.

Not been written into a corner, but I write a lot thinking I will fix that in the rewrite.
I have a similar approach. I have a very clear outline but I rarely put it on paper.
I “write” the story in my head and then essentially “copy” the first drafts.
I do start writing notes during the first draft and after, though. Mostly editing and rewriting, as well as story-continuity notes
 

Mist Dragon

Dreamer
I've done both, but as I've progressed, I find if I know where I'm going with the story, then the story starts to be able to take on more depth with character interactions and growth. For me, I find if I understand my characters, what they are thinking along with how things are impacting them, it makes for a much more believable story overall. More satisfying as well.
 

Penpilot

Staff
Article Team
I have a question:
When you start writing, do you already know where you’re going with the story? Do you have a general development in mind, an ending, main events outlined or mentally organized?

in the past, sometimes, I used to start writing as soon as I had an idea, excited by what could come of it. Then I would realize I was getting stomped by my own plot. Didn’t really know where to go, what to do with the characters, etc. that made me lose interest.

stories often change no matter what but I find that planning your general path makes things more interesting and exciting when the time inevitably comes that you have to make adjustments/solve problems you yourself created in your story and for your characters.

For short stories, I can sit down and just go if I want to. I'm a natural pantser. For novels, over the years, with each subsequent novel I write, I find myself outlining more and more. I usually have a full three act structure outline for the general story. I also have outlines detailing each plot/subplot and how they each advance.

But just because I outline doesn't mean things don't deviate from the plan. I almost always do, and when that happens the outline changes. I find one benefit to having an outline is it helps in decision making when you're thinking about deviating. It's easy to see how a certain change propagates throughout the story when I can glance over the outline and simply run through the story in my head as if I'd made the changes. This way I can catch bad ideas before spending too much time on them, and I can make sure a good idea gets used fully.
 

Nighty_Knight

Minstrel
One thing that helped me just write. I am a pretty bad writer. Good storyteller, but bad at actual writing. So it was hard to write something good, no matter how good the plot or character were. So I decided, screw it, I will just write poorly and fix everything on the second draft. It turned out that I was better than I thought at writing afterall. Still not good, but once I let go of the hangups and just wrote, it was better than what I thought it was going to be in the end.
 
One thing that helped me just write. I am a pretty bad writer. Good storyteller, but bad at actual writing. So it was hard to write something good, no matter how good the plot or character were. So I decided, screw it, I will just write poorly and fix everything on the second draft. It turned out that I was better than I thought at writing afterall. Still not good, but once I let go of the hangups and just wrote, it was better than what I thought it was going to be in the end.

Cool! That's the way I do it also. Write, revise and then edit. The one thing for me, is just finding the time to allow the creative juice to flow. Sometimes, it seems, writing is relegated to the back seat as other "mundane," activities fight with each other to try and rule in our day to day life.
 
For short stories, I can sit down and just go if I want to. I'm a natural pantser. For novels, over the years, with each subsequent novel I write, I find myself outlining more and more. I usually have a full three act structure outline for the general story. I also have outlines detailing each plot/subplot and how they each advance.

But just because I outline doesn't mean things don't deviate from the plan. I almost always do, and when that happens the outline changes. I find one benefit to having an outline is it helps in decision making when you're thinking about deviating. It's easy to see how a certain change propagates throughout the story when I can glance over the outline and simply run through the story in my head as if I'd made the changes. This way I can catch bad ideas before spending too much time on them, and I can make sure a good idea gets used fully.

oh yeah! definitely.
"no good plan survives the first shots"
i feel the same about outlines (the first shots being when you start writing) you can prepare it, but they will change. often, they improve
 
One thing that helped me just write. I am a pretty bad writer. Good storyteller, but bad at actual writing. So it was hard to write something good, no matter how good the plot or character were. So I decided, screw it, I will just write poorly and fix everything on the second draft. It turned out that I was better than I thought at writing afterall. Still not good, but once I let go of the hangups and just wrote, it was better than what I thought it was going to be in the end.
Definitely better not to have things hold you back.
Even if you were actually bad at writing, the one way to get better is write lol

You definitely did the right thing when you decided to just "screw it:
 
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