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Losing the Passion

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by TheokinsJ, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. TheokinsJ

    TheokinsJ Lore Master

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    It's been about three weeks since I had my last good day of writing. I try to write at least a page every day but in the past couple of weeks I haven't written anything, I've all but forgotten about it. I still want to write this book more than anything, but life has gotten in the way a bit I suppose, and I find I haven't even thought about writing. What is more annoying is that I have no desire to write, or rather, it doesn't come into the equation when I'm thinking about what to do with my spare time. I want to do something productive, and writing is something I both enjoy and is getting me somewhere- or rather, getting me doing something other than video games.
    I'm at a crucial part in the book too, a critical chapter where there is a plot twist and is what I have been looking forward to writing since day one. I know where the story goes, I've plotted it all out- I just have to write it.

    Yet I've lost it, I haven't written in ages and I'm feeling no desire to start. I love writing and I know once I get back into it and churning out the pages, I'll be fine again and I'll enjoy myself. However the difficulty is starting, any suggestions on how to get enthusiastic about writing, after a long break from it?
     
  2. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Mythic Scribe

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    I've gone through this a lot down through the decades.

    Rereading my older stuff helps now and again, especially when I get to a point where I stopped writing twelve or fifteen years ago. If the rest of the tale grabs me, well, then I might start pounding away again just to get down what happens next. And a lot of the time, I'll come across a poorly done 'kludge' section, wince, and fix it up on the spot. That gets some of the older stuff moving again.

    Getting back into more recent work...again, I'll go over the parts I've already done, looking for flaws and plotholes. Pushing on past that...well, once I've read the old clear to where it stops (or needs major attention), I'll simply think it through for a while. Is this great idea really that great? Does this sequence of events work? More description, or less?

    All that said, based on another thread here, I'm almost willing to bet your at about the 30K mark in your work, give or take. That marker is a real do or die killer for some reason.
     
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  3. ziokhan

    ziokhan Apprentice

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    When I find myself in that situation, silence and new ideas work best. I sit down at the desk and have a specified time limit (1/2 hour). If I just sit there that is fine. I start writing in frustration and write exactly what I am thinking / feeling. That leads me to the ideas hidden away. After I am writing in the groove again, I work my way back to the original big project stuff. Good Luck.
     
  4. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Valar Lord

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    For me the answer is "Don't Force It!". It is going to happen today - then it will.
    A writer/musician I know swears by Oblique Strategies to kick his mind over; 100 cards with phrases or questions to make you think.
    I think Brian Eno made them [famous].
    Versions can be found on line like this one ObSt1 or ObSt2
     
  5. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    you know what? I think it's completely natural and normal. And I think it's healthy to step away at times. Sometimes, I go a week or two without writing or editing a thing. I make a dress or catch up on my commissions. It sometimes reinvigorates me to accomplish another project and just finish something. Then I find I can write again with that weight of "undone" things off my back for the moment.
     
  6. teacup

    teacup Dark Lord

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    I've never had it like that for three weeks, I don't think, but I have had times when I'm just not feeling it or just didn't want to write that day or so.
    If I feel it's taking me too long to get back into the groove, I think about all the parts I'm excited for. I envision the ending as how it would play out in real life or on screen, the major plot twists, the character progression, and any further books. I see how it is in my mind, and I love it, and at times that can throw me back into writing because I just really want to get it all done so that people can read these parts.

    Though, if I try to write and I'm just not feeling it, I don't write just then. I go do other things that I love, and go back to it. I try almost every day to write, but if I'm not feeling it, I just step back and wait until another day.
     
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  7. advait98

    advait98 Mystagogue

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    It's happening to me right now too. But my situation is far worse. I've written only 10 pages this past 3-4 months. I mean, I've got these magnificent ideas running through my head, but I just can't get my head round to write. And for an interesting case study, ThinkerX, it's happened to me around the 75k mark.

    But during that lean time, I gave the Iron Pen, and quite surprisingly, I wrote a 5000 word story in 7 days. That was the fastest I'd ever written; my productivity had increased from 300 words to 700 words a day. Perhaps you could focus on something else for the time being. That'll at least get you to write. Try this Iron Pen. It can get you to write, and hence make your schedule for your WIP after it. That's why I'm doing the Iron Pen again.

    It might also be that you might be a little apprehensive about writing this critical part of your WIP subconsciously. I stopped at the part of the story I had really wanted to write before. Think about that for a moment.

    A change of platform may help too. I usually handwrite my WIP. But when I resorted to the computer to rewrite the very first scene of my WIP, which I had actually never written before, I finished 781 words. Try something like that.

    Anyway, I know how you feel, and sometimes, just getting down to it can prove to be the decider.
    Good luck.
     
  8. wordwalker

    wordwalker Dark Lord

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    Mr. Chuck Wendig (more insight and more swearing than most people do in a lifetime) says Yes, Virginia, You Can Totally Force Art and he has a point. There comes a time when you either say "I'll do this because I'll do this" or you accept that you're not a serious writer. --And if you think you can live with that, ask if you really want to start thinking of yourself as an unserious writer, and not in a good way.

    That said, there are still ways to get a running start. Taking a close look at what you loved about the writing, either the previous chapters or the nature of what's coming up, is good. So are freeing exercises of writing other things, from "outtake moments" of what happened between the action to whole totally different stories (just don't forget to come back the first one, and don't go on to start a third to get through that second).

    Maybe the best of all: show what you have to people. Find a writer's group or use our Showcase, or pick one or two friends that at least mean something to you to have them see it. Even if it isn't getting them to read it, be able to say "I finished the chapter today; my hero's back in the dungeon," partly because being able to talk is a survival skill for any writer, partly just so there are witnesses that you have momentum, and that it's Not Okay to start slowing down.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
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  9. Asterisk

    Asterisk Lore Master

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    This is what's happening to me right now. I wrote 50k in July, and as soon as Nanowrimo finished, the desire to write (and the ease of it) disappeared. I think we all just need a break. What I've been doing? Reading writing blogs, collecting good information, finally starting and finishing a book, and letting loose. I'm.not letting myself completely off the hook. I'm taking a break, yes, but I'm also learning. Don't feel too bad, and when you are ready to jump back in, give it all you've got. All your passion, all your dreams, all your strength, and...um... a lot of your time. :D Best of luck!

    P.S. Nanowrimo in November might be a motivation, and just the push you need to get you rolling again.
     
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  10. Leuco

    Leuco Lore Master

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    Sounds like you need a break, and from what I've read from the other posts, it seems like it's a common feeling. One day soon, you'll look back at what you wrote and then sit down and finish writing out your story. What got me writing was unemployment. Fortunately, I was rehired months later, but that desire to be productive and let out my subconscious fears through characters and monsters really helped. We all have high expectations for our work, but sometimes the reward of writing is just the process itself. If you don't enjoy writing as much as you used to, maybe that's because you've just got other things on your mind that are more important. Maybe you're distracted by something else, perhaps something that makes you happy. That's certainly a good thing, but maybe finishing your first novel can be a good thing too. :)
     
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  11. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I have several things I love in life: my wife, my family, my friends, video games, pro wrestling, and writing. At one time or another, these priorities get jumbled around. Sometimes I don't feel like playing games or I lose touch with family members. Or I get burned out on pro wrestling or stop talking to friends. The only things constant in my life are my wife and writing. And my wife fully supports my writing, something any writer dreams about.

    Are there days when I can't write? Yes.

    Are there days when I write absolute crap? Yes.

    Are there days when I want to give up writing and focus on something else? No.

    By saying you still want to write, you're not losing the passion. It's still there inside you, you just have to dig it out. It may require you to try putting aside the novel you're working on and writing some short stories. Or it may involve you writing up an outline to get things in order. Maybe you need to brainstorm a chapter more? Writing doesn't always have to be about writing. It can be planning, world-building, pre-writing, brainstorming, scribbling, map drawing, whatever gets your creative juices flowing. Once you get in the zone, then sit down and start writing again. Your passion isn't gone, I don't think, it's just dormant. You need to get the defibrillators out and shock it back to life.
     
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  12. Addison

    Addison Dark Lord

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    The sad thing is that life, reality, get in the way. And sometimes they come so fast or hard or in such a flavor that it sucks the passion out of the writing, or sucks us dry of the passion. I can relate, the last time I wrote was.........ouch, longer than three weeks.

    But I have, in the past, been afflicted with a dry passion and have found the following to help get it back:
    1. Spoil your sweet tooth.
    2. READ!
    3. Raid Barnes and noble and/or the library, specifically a book that is not the genre you're writing and one that is.
    4. READ!
    5. Go back to your childhood. Not just the picture books. Get boots, pants and a ball cap and go to the batting cages or to the river to build a dam or whatever.
    6. Read what you've already written.
    7. Do a physical activity you enjoy.

    By this time your passion should be recharged, maybe not completely but it's healthy. So then all that's left is to write. So get in your chair, get your drinks, snack and favorite pillow and start. Oh, and post a note on your door so you're not bothered. My favorite is: "Warning. Writer At Work. By Penalty of Death of Your Favorite Character Do Not Enter Except in Case of Real Emergency. Things That Constitute a Real Emergency: Lunch is Ready, The House is on Fire, The Zombie Apocalypse Has Begun."

    Good luck! Hope this helped.
     
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  13. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    You'll get back into it, Theokins. I wouldn't struggle against whatever this is though. Just do things that please you, enjoy yourself in life and be happy to take a break for a bit. Life is too short to stress out over these things. Once you've watched a few movies, played some hours of video games, had fun with your friends, etc and taken the time to let your subconcious think, you'll get the drive to write again. :)
     
  14. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    It's not unusual for writers to have moments like these...periods of boredom, times when we lack confidence, whatever. Anyone that understands the dedication and commitment necessary to complete a quality work of fiction knows this to be true. It comes with the territory.

    I'm going to make a different suggestion than the others though (WordWalker excluded). My advice is to overcome your lack of passion and work through it. I personally don't think passion is nearly as effective at getting work done as determination. Many people say they feel they can't write anything of quality if they aren't passionate or inspired. I find that my initial feelings of the work (the mood I'm in prior to starting to write that day) has nothing to do with the quality of production. Sustained effort wins the day nine times out of ten in any endeavor. Writing is no exception.

    Serious authors sit down and do the work even when they don't feel like writing, especially when they don't feel like writing. That sounds harsh but it's not meant to be. I'm a firm believer that we all make choices everyday that affect our success. You need to choose if you're going to power through this rough patch in a disciplined manner or if you will let insecurities defeat you.

    There is always a choice.

    "Writing is most of all an exercise in determination." - Tom Clancy
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
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  15. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    I don't think I could ever give up my desire to write in its entirety. However, I am experiencing a similar loss in productivity at the moment, except in my case I'm not sure what to write. I have some vague ideas about where I would like to set a story and maybe what kind of characters I would like to invoke, but I can't make up my mind as to what I want to happen within the story. There is of course the option of reviving dusty old projects, but then I tend to abandon those out of a feeling that they aren't salvageable unless I rewrite everything from scratch.

    My inspiration is a fickle creature. Sometimes I get bitten by this vivid idea which I can turn into a short story over the course of one morning, but those only bite once in a month or so.
     
  16. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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    If you've reached a critical point in the story that you were looking forward to writing...and now you can't write it...the reason (to my mind) is obvious. On a subliminal level you don't believe that what you've written so far is good enough, therefore you don't want to spoil the bit you were looking forward to by locking substandard set-up writing into the plot.

    In the early years of trying to be a writer, it is the most normal thing in the world to take long breaks from time to time. I probably took the best part of two years off between 2005 - 07, and when I bounced back, refreshed and recharged, the very next thing I wrote was the first book I had published in the mainstream. BTW, I started writing seriously in 1992.
     
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  17. SeverinR

    SeverinR Valar Lord

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    I had this, wondered if I would ever feel like writing again.

    Just back from a week vacation, many of lifes problems are still there, just have a renewed fresh outlook on them.

    Maybe lifes stressers are stiffling the writing energy?
    If writing isn't flowing, maybe world build?

    Find a way to take the pressure of and it will probably flow again.
     
  18. Tirjasdyn

    Tirjasdyn Journeyman

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    Loss of productivity is one thing but writing is something that gets rusty with age. Give yourself permission to write crap and write something. A few words each day.

    But if writing isn't important to you then don't write. And question what your doing.
     
  19. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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    Sorry , but I disagree profoundly with this. I daresay writing gets rusty with ruinous nonagenarian decrepitude, but I've been writing seriously for 20 years and I am infinitely better now than I was back then. This is measurable in sales, if nothing else.
     
  20. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I think what Tirj was aiming for was along the lines of "use it or lose it". Meaning if you go too long without writing, your skill may degrade. Therefore, you should write a lot, even if its just a bit each day.
     
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