Monday, 19 May 2014

What Do You Do When Your Writing Gets Stuck?

This post is for all the writer-folk out there. I'm sure there's a few. I mean, I'm pretty sure there is. If not, then this is only mildly awkward. Moving on!

I'm a writer too (or at least, I try to be). I study writing at uni. I have a list of stories I need to get around to writing. I read too much. I'm going to stop talking about it now, because I think you've got the idea. The thing is, is that I have a real problem actually writing them. The stories, I mean. And I don't know why.

It feels like I've tried everything. Vague outlines, chapter-by-chapter outlines, no outlines. They all work for a little while, but at one point or another I will get stuck in a hole and I will not be able to do a single thing about it.

Sometimes I think it's my mindset. But it's not like I expect myself to fail. I always have an unrelenting optimism at the start. I think I'll finish it, but I never do. I used to get stuck a 1,000 words. Then, it was 5,000. And now? Now, I get stuck somewhere between 10,000 to 20,000 words. Every. Single. Time. I don't understand.

I know a lot of authors suggest to just write. You shouldn't care if it makes no sense. It's only a first draft, and you can always fix things up later. I've tried that and sometimes it works. But then my perfectionist tendencies tingle and I have to take a look back.

I've also heard music really helps. But I'm funny when I write. I can only deal with certain types of music. Maybe some instrumental? Some quiet folk music? It's endlessly frustrating.

In fact, this who saga is endlessly frustrating. I have all this pent up writing energy but when it comes to actually write? I hit a blank. I don't know whether it is too many ideas swirling around my head. Or if it is actually my perfectionism. I just get stuck.

Writing is hard stuff. Figuring out how to focus your energy on writing for long enough is hard. Telling myself that things don't happen overnight - that writing takes time, is hard. I'm still trying to sort that out, but it's just so ugh.

So, my question for fellow writer-folk is this: Has this ever happened to you? How did you deal with it?

And, on a slightly different note: What are some of your favourite 'How to Write' writing books? I've been on a bit of a kick wanting to read them.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jocie! I don't think you're at all alone in that, seeing as there really are so many different "coping strategies" out there. I think the the thing is that we all have our different ways of coping. To be honest, I still haven't found mine. It's hit and miss depending on the day. Sometimes it'll be going for a walk that helps, other times listening to heavy metal at full volume, other times if I just keep pushing I break through, and sometimes I just need to reconnect with the things that inspire me, be it a good book, a Star Wars marathon, or some anime. I wrote (very poorly, I'm afraid) a post a while ago now about Writers Block and the Fear of Failure, because I think fear is a sneaky thing that creeps in when we're really not expecting it, and sometimes we don't even realise that it is fear which is causing our problems! Know though, that you are not alone in this! Plus, you seem to be gradually getting further and further into your stories - keep going and one day, you will finish one :)

    Oh rats, your comments don't allow me to use any of my current profiles. So... please disregard old and no longer used blogger account!

    (Millicent Nankivell)