The feeling that it's pointless

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Amanita, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. Amanita

    Amanita Scribal Lord

    Hello everyone,

    browsing through the threads here I don't believe that I'm the only on who sometimes feels this way. Who else feels from time to time that effort of writing fantasy is pointless?
    Generally, I like to write but as some of you are alreading discussing in another thread, I also tend to have plenty of ideas at once and habe trouble to stay with one of them over a longer period of time.
    And, maybe more importantly, the more I learn about the publishing process and everything involved in it, the less I'm motivated to get myself into that, even if I could to write something good enough. This might be because "normal work life" already involves plenty of trying to get respect for what I'm doing, chances that only exist with the right connections and so forth and I don't want to put myself through that twice at the same time.
    I have the ambition to get an engaging, well-written story on paper, but I'm not really interested in doing anything more with it and my childhood dream of becoming a famous fantasy author ;) doesn't really exist anymore either.
    My leisure time is diminishing as well, but this doesn't mean that I couldn't get on with it, but I'm not sure if I should, if no one besides me and maybe a few friends is ever going to see any of it.
    What do you think?
  2. Kelise

    Kelise Scribal Lord

    I haven't been able to write with abandon (like I used to) for almost two years now.

    I could be published by now if I wanted to write in the currently popular genre. I only want to be published if I can write at the standard of, say, Scott Lynch, Glenda Larke or Tansy Rayner Roberts - my current utter favourite authors. If I can't hit that (very high) level... I can't be bothered.

    So if I try to write, and that first rough draft isn't at that high level... I get disappointed and put it aside. Even though I know from experience it takes many drafts and a lot of time to get to it.

    So yes, currently feeling my writing is pointless, even though I know I'm not going the right way about it. Motivation won't listen, however.
  3. Dante Sawyer

    Dante Sawyer Lore Master

    Call me naive, but I still dream about become a well read author. Maybe it's because I'm still in high school and my dream has yet to be beaten from me by the harshness, but I do hope my writing does have a point. Isn't that the reason we're all on this forum to begin with?... because we want our writing to matter?
    If you're ambitions of becoming an author are gone, so be it. Sad as it may be, such things happen. If, however, you're just in a low point, don't let that discourage your dreams of writing. You are the only one capable of telling your story... don't take that away because of a lack of free time.
    School is gonna be starting soon for me (Tuesday in fact.....) and between football, my friends, my girlfriend, homework, and applying for college, I doubt I'll have much spare time to write. Still, I intend to continue to edit my novel and hopefully have a publisher by this time next year (right about the time I head off for college). I won't let lack of time crush my dreams.
    So, all this to say, please don't allow your dreams to die, and please don't feel your writing is pointless. Even if you have no dreams of being published, writing can be a way to deal with anger or sorrow.

    Writing is never pointless.

  4. Joe the Gnarled

    Joe the Gnarled Mystagogue

    My dedication to writing has wavered over the years. Usually the more time other activities in my life demand the less time I dedicate to writing. There was a period of about 6 years that I was a retail manager with little time for my family and no time for writing. I have gone through periods of frustration where I felt my writing was never going to be good enough to be published. I have come to realize that the craft is like any other art. Yes, you have to be born with natural aptitude, but that can only take you so far. Study and practice; study other artist’s works and adopt from them things that will help your own style. Practice your style until you are finally happy that you have something worth publishing.

    And if you get discouraged here is a list of 50 iconic writers who were rejected:
    50 Iconic Writers Who Were Repeatedly Rejected | Online College Tips - Online Colleges
  5. Wolfie

    Wolfie New Member

    I can sympathize with what you all describe, everyday life taking time from every day writing, and it happened to me too recently. I finally realized that if I took my novel seriously I had to make time for it, regardless of consequences. Now I've started advancing again, after a long streak of post-marital blockage, I want to publish so I simply consider it my job to write, it isn't optional.

    Now, as for the ugly process, I don't think about it while I write. I don't want to taint what I love with bureaucracy. On the other hand, I am well aware that I am heading for it. I'll worry about that once I have a second draft. I'll try to find an agent who can handle the bulk of the process but in the end I know it's gonna come to that point where I have to start promoting myself.

    Nobody ever quit drinking because of the hangover. Writing is an addiction.
  6. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    Dreams die hard, and you hold them in your hands long after they've turned to dust...

    Heh. Depressing as all hell - that's actually a quote from the movie Dragonheart. I think about it a lot. I've the guy who still dreams of being a professional actor. The dream is dying, though. I'm getting older, and breaks are hard to come by. Its easy to do acting, of course, and I always will - community theatre and other little projects. It's a blast. Oh, how amazing it would be to get paid for it, though...

    Writing is a bit different. Until you're ready to show your work to the world, writing is a highly private and lonely affair. Acting is, by its definition, public the whole way through: auditions, rehearsals, and all. Sure, you can speak lines to yourself in the dark, but what fun is that?

    Writing, on the other hand... I can enjoy the book I've written even if no one else ever does. It's an entirely different form of creation. And what's more, with the internet you can ALWAYS get your work out there. Sure, maybe only a few people will read it... but hell, that's true of even a lot of published books. As long as someone does, that's enough. And in the meantime, you write the next thing.

    I guess, with Youtube and all that, acting has become easier to showcase as well. Perhaps I'll start making little movies and putting them up. A lot more work goes into that, though, for basically the same return. I think writing stories still has the better of it.

    In short, people these days have it easy. I feel sorry for the poor bastard, sitting on a work that was 'pretty good' back fifty years ago. THAT guy had it bad, knowing he had something a lot of people would like, but since it wasn't quite good enough for publishers he had very few ways to get it to them. I love technology...
  7. Pablo Camp

    Pablo Camp Apprentice

    Looks like we've all come face-to-face with such a feeling. And yes, I think it's normal to want to be read because one writes first out of the love for writing itself and then to tell a story, share feelings and ideas. With the amount of books in existence and those waiting to be published, I grow disheartened at times thinking my works will never be read. But, in agreeance with what some of the above have mentioned, we need to keep going and never let our work and dreams die.
  8. SeverinR

    SeverinR Valar Lord

    Motivation fluxuates even on peoples most favorite activity.

    my rules:
    rule#1: cardio, oh sorry thats Zombieland. My rule #1 is never let the work of writing spoil the fun of writing.
    rule#2; remember your reason for writing.
    note: if your goal is to write an award winning novel that world will love. 99.9999% of the time you will fail.
    If your goal is to enjoy working on a story you like, making it better, and developing the aspects of it. You will win most of the time. No time seriously invested in writing is wasted. It might not be even interesting to you after you reread it. But it let you expand on something, you gained experience from doing it, and you will be better the next time you write. So it might even be said you win all the time.

    You might need to write short stories and share them with people. I wrote some on a generic art websight just for fun, and the people that responded was an amazing motivation to do it again. To do it better. With the goal of getting more people to notice my work. I still have not set my goal to publish. I write and edit, then write more. When I am ready I will look into getting published.
    I have published many writings on the net. So I am in no hurry to seek a publisher.
  9. Matty Lee

    Matty Lee Journeyman

    My question is why you began writing in the first place. Exploring your original motivations may wake up some of that passion that made you put words to paper, or bytes to your hard-drive.

    Did you write for money, for attention or adulation, for the sheer effort of it, for the fun of it, for the need to express yourself? Do these things still apply? Do you need thousands upon thousands of fans who send you mail telling you how AWESOME you are while at the same time offering you often stupid advice (although at times fans have probably served as great idea farms for writers) about what you "should" do despite your greater familiarity with the story.

    Perhaps you don't need to be come famous. Perhaps you writing can be something you share with your intimate circle of friends and pass on to your children and grandchildren, perhaps they will be inspired by your work and do something similar.

    Perhaps you just need to find something worth writing about. Find a story that you not only like, but objectively is something you think people would be interested in reading. Audience interest is a great motivator.

    I hope this helped.
  10. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    I've felt the same thing, Amanita. Partly is because I have so many ideas (and, perhaps too short an attention span) that I switch between stories all the time. At the moment, there are at least 7 stories I'm working on that I consider active or semi-active - I haven't put them aside for good or given up on them, but I'm only actively working on one. I think part of the problem is time - right now I shouldn't even be on this forum, I have to hand in a chapter of my dissertation to my supervisor on Monday and it's barely half written - but part of the problem is my general feelings about other aspects of my life. The dissertation, along with the job hunt I am currently failing at, have knocked my self-confidence, and that doesn't inspire me to write. I just want to play computer games and watch TV, to escape to another world that's already there, laid out for me. I do still work on my story, on the worldbuilding and background and characterisation, etc, but actual writing at the moment just doesn't feel right.

    Maybe in the next few months when I'm sitting at home on benefits, in between the job hunting and trying to sell my paintings, I'll have time to really crack on with my novel and maybe even finish it and publish it.

    I don't really know what I can say about motivating yourself. I find it hard, at the moment, to feel positive about much: the economy is going to shit again, there have been riots in the city where I live (though not as bad as in London) which have resulted in some of the shops I planned on applying for jobs at having no windows or stock, my fiance is depressed and on medication and I don't know how to deal with him, my degree is worthless, and I can't get a job.
  11. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    This is just a thought, but as I've mentioned in the past I have what's called "creative ADD." I have too many ideas and can't focus on one. If this is the case for you, perhaps try writing short stories or flash fiction for a while. Even if you don't like that style of writing or never plan to publish any of it. Once you crank out some quality short fiction (that you spend some time on) you may see that something you've written may be worth turning into a novel. If that's the case, then nurture the short stories into longer works somehow.

    I recycle plots and characters from lots of aborted novels I started years ago. Don't be afraid to plagiarize yourself.

    I'm currently trying to write some fantasy that isn't my typical fare (i.e. epic). It's coming along pretty well so far and I'm not rushing it. Just working on it as I feel the need. For me, writing isn't a race anymore. I work consistently so that I don't fizzle out.

    And for me, if you feel what you're writing isn't working, then stop writing what you're writing. Try something new. You might surprise yourself.

    @Chilari Stay safe there and don't give up! Some of the best writing comes from that hopeless feeling (for me anyway.)
  12. misaki

    misaki Apprentice

    I get that way too - both feeling that it's pointless and creative ADD. Phil the Drill, I might try that and see how it goes :)

    For me, when I look at the YA market that have traces of paranormal/fantasy in them (as those books are what I want to write), I swing both ways (lol). I get motivated when I look at the list because I get tired of reading the same blurb in every since book - a girl who's blah blah but then she meets this wonderful, Godly beautiful but totally dangerous guy and I get motivated to write some that I believe in. Hmmm, I don't know how to describe it.

    On the other hand, I get disheartened at the over-saturation of these books :( And basically the publishing process and how I have yet to even finish a novel let alone properly start one.

    Baby steps :)
  13. Motley

    Motley Master

    I refuse to give up the dream of becoming a multiply published writer with enough money coming in to supplement my existing income regularly, and I just turned thirty-seven. I am, however, changing my idea of how this can be possible and, unfortunately, it's not all straight fantasy. The dream is easier to hold onto because I've already done the job of creating a decent income in another way. I have time and a bit of financial leeway to go after my dream right now.

    This isn't to say I have tons of motivation, however. Procrastination is my constant companion. I'm not sure if my dream isn't strong or real enough, or if I'm just lazy.
  14. Codey Amprim

    Codey Amprim Staff Article Team

    I'm an aspiring writer, probably aiming a little too high for my dreams, too, but I'm picking up on things and I've only been on this forum for about twenty minutes. But, with what little wisdom my mind can give you, this is what I have to say:

    If there is a dream worth devoting time into, then it is a dream worth making a reality. Sometimes things, especially outside of your fantasy world, will bring you down. Your last line:
    really hits home with me, because that's exactly how I feel, except my family could give a rat's ass less until it's done. The one thing I've learned by just sitting there by myself at night, staring at my laptop staring at the last word I wrote is that you cannot give up if it is your dream. Writing is a lot deeper than a lot of people think (no, really?). I'm not going to tell you yes or no on keeping on writing, even if that's what I want any troubled writer to do... but that's something you have to decide. Originally, J. R. R. Tolkien was not going to publish the Lord of the Rings until his son, I believe (Don't quote me, I'm doing this by vague memory), saw his work and helped him through the publishing process. On this note, the author of The Help, a book that's now a movie, went through 50+ rejections. FIFTY. RE.JECT.ION.S. . But she kept on until it finally went through. Now that's some god damn devotion.

    What I'm trying to say is that no one can tell you what to do. Your decisions are your own, and the answer to your problem lies in your heart. Best of luck.

    Hope it helped. :)
  15. Amanita

    Amanita Scribal Lord

    Thank you all for your encouragement. (And I hope this thread might help others as well.)
    At the moment, I don't really feel that bad about my writing anymore at all. When I've created this thread, I've had so many things to do I couldn't really see how I should ever finish them, but now, I've managed quite a big amount of it and I feel more motivated to think about my stories and writing again.
    I've decided to split my story chronologically which helped me to untangle a few things I had trouble fitting together into a coherent story and hope this will help in improving it.

    Probably, I should really stay away from any side or thread dealing with the issue of publishing before I've actually written a potentially publishable story which would be worth the effort.
    There's no point in bothering about this before it actually becomes an option. ;)

    Something that's bothering me, not only because of my own writing but also because of my reading is the fact, that fantasy books that interest me are so rare in German book stores and when I do find something, they're very likely not to sell the second book anymore.
    Thanks to Amazon this doesn't make it impossible to get what I want to read but I just don't get why the stores have hundredes of books but almost all of them feature some boring, cliched stuff, especially vampire/werevolve etc-romances.
    I just refuse to believe, that the majority of females really is so shallow, they're not interested in anything but falling in love with a powerful and dangerous man who cares for them and protects them. Or something.
  16. Kelise

    Kelise Scribal Lord

    Have you heard of a site called Book Depository? (There's an American and a UK version - different prices, so worth checking both.) They have free worldwide shipping and often the prices are quite cheap - compared to most bookstores where I live, anyhow. Try them as well if you're having to turn to Amazon :)
  17. flyboy

    flyboy Acolyte

    I think that your feelings are those that most writers at some point in there journey feel. However, it is an apprenticeship, for some it will be a short road to their paticular navana for me, well for me mine road is like the one described by JRRT " the road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began " etc. Some times you just need the hand of one person saying for instance - 'I like what you do' - and if that makes you feel OK then it was worth the effort. For instance I'm very interested in british folk lore and the infinite number of colourfull characters and faries that it contains and because its part of our culture it is not easy to right about in a "quick as a wizards wand can flash". I for one based on empathey for you plight would be pleased to read something you've written- it may be we could look at a joint project ( very presumptious of me !).

    Reagrds: Chris
  18. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    Oh god yes, I know exactly what you mean. I'm sick of all this bloody "paranormal romance" nonsense. What's worse is that it's considered fantasy by those who read it, who don't have a clue about the wonders that the fantasy genre can really offer, people who have never heard of Terry Pratchett, Robin Hobb, Diane Wynne Jones, David Gemmell and a host of other master fantasy storytellers, and claim to like fantasy on the basis that they like Twilight *shudder*.

    Actually, what I'm working on at the moment has a female lead; it is my intention to demonstrate that there can be such a thing as a strong female lead without her (a) relying on a love interest to rescue her repeatedly, (b) being smart mouthed, (c) acting like "one of the lads", (d) being a natural leader. The point, with this character Bredyn, is that while it is her decisions which primarily drive the plot, she does not fit into either the hopeless lovesick follower trope seen in the vampire and werewolf novels, nor the smart mouthed, dresses like a man and is determined not to let anyone prevent her from doing what she wants, uber feminist trope seen in a lot of other stuff. She is quiet, at times indecisive, lacks self confidence, and actually wants to be what her father expects her to be - a good daughter and a good wife in a patriarchal society. But after being a bad daughter a few times with a prince, and learning that the prince in question is an utter jerk, she ends up having to make lots of decisions in order to protect her family, herself and her unborn child. There are two characters who are presented as love interests, and one sort of fits into the vampire group (although he's not; he's bound himself to the spirit of a ghost, giving him certain powers which are similar to those of vampires, but in many ways quite different). The key point, however, is that she doesn't define herself according to who she is in love with, but by who she is and who she wants to be.

    That's the plan, anyway. Basically, I want to see if it can be done: a female lead who doesn't fit into traditional female lead categories, but who is still likable, relatable, and a strong character.
  19. cobrarosa

    cobrarosa Apprentice

    The biggest obstacle to writing is oneself. Everything else = minor roadblocks.

    Seriously though, I have to think like this. First things first; get the thing written. Edit. Re-write. Focus on getting that story done that at some point in time stuck itself in that head of yours. Then worry about the other stuff later.

    I need to actually vision myself succeeding. If I don't, why would I write anything? My stories could amount to nothing more than time invested in a grand delusion of a different life as an author, doing nothing I didn't want to do and still earning enough money to buy all the comfort I normally would have to work the s**t out of myself to get otherwise, in a job I didn't want.

    Sure, reality has the obnoxious habit of getting in the way, but that's where the dreams come in with it's club, smashing those nasty little obtrusive elements into smitherines.

    Keep dreaming. Keep trying. Keep writing.

  20. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    Back on topic (sorry about that last post), I'm actually starting to feel more positive about my writing again. The rest of my life is falling apart and I'm having to move back to live with my parents, but this means no pressure over paying rent and bills so I won't have to get a job immediately, which will hopefully give me time to do the three things I really want to: write, paint, and start my own business as a proof-reader. The paintings will probably earn me pocket money - enough to cover the odd evening in the pub or trip to the cinema. The writing, if it ever earns me anything, won't do so for some time yet (I have to actually complete something first), and the proof reading, well, I really don't know. I'll just have to see.

    I think having a new project might have soemthing to do with these positive feelings, and having, more than that, a particular aim in mind beyond simply writing a novel, but also demonstrating that female leads that don't fit into the normal categories for women in fantasy can be successful (fingers crossed). Yes, it can still feel pointless. I dream of being a professional writer, and when I actually consider how unlikely that will be, it gets me down and does feel pointless, but I don't stop writing because of it. Okay, I often write fanfic when I feel this way, because if it's not going to matter anyway, why not? But part of it is being read, and being praised. We all like to be told we're worth something, that we can create something of value, every once in a while.

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