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Subject: "Missing that feeling. " Previous topic | Next topic
Mesg #91367 "Missing that feeling. "
Author atlantissong     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Aug 25th 2002
454 posts
Date Thu Aug-16-12 12:20 AM
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First let me apologize in advance for any typos or the like. I am typing one handed on my phone rtrying to get a baby to go to sleep in the other.

Anyway, as many of you from chat know, I have been struggling with my writing since the kids came along. Part of it is time, part of it is exhaustion. It definitely isn't lack of ideas, but each one stalls very quickly. I think I have finally found a reason but I have no idea how to fix it.

In the past ten years I have written four novels and one short story. One of the novels and the short are fun and have potential but do not live up to the other three. Those three, two part of a fantasy series and one a paranormal romance/coming of age, are the best I've ever done. The characters are old friends of mine that I have to go back and visit from time to time, the story feels almost like a part of my own past. When I was writing these it felt more like I was transcibing what really happened as aposed to trying to pound out something from thin air. This isn't to say I didn't have to stop and think of what happens next but when it was right I knew it. Sometimes I almost feel bad that I wasted those stories on early writing days and sincerely hope I have the time, energy and readiness to rewrite them someday.

I haven't felt this feeling with my writing in a long time. Even before the babies. I have no idea how to get it back, all I know is that its like a drug I need more of and that until I figure it out my writing will continue to suffer.

~ Robin ~

"The joy of reading is a blessing forever. For through books, the imagination is enlivened, wisdom is gained, and wondrous experiences bring new fascination to life." ~ unknown





http://www.fmwriters.com/gifs/bookcount

  

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Replies to this topic
RE: Missing that feeling. , CatrinP, Aug 16th 2012, #1
RE: Missing that feeling. , Laevus, Aug 16th 2012, #2
RE: Missing that feeling. , atlantissong, Aug 16th 2012, #3
RE: Missing that feeling. , KatsInCommand, Aug 16th 2012, #4
RE: Missing that feeling. , eblgorton, Aug 17th 2012, #5
RE: Missing that feeling. , Wen Spencer, Aug 17th 2012, #6
RE: Missing that feeling. , atlantissong, Aug 18th 2012, #7
RE: Missing that feeling. , Wandering Author, Aug 18th 2012, #8
      RE: Missing that feeling. , WOO, Aug 26th 2012, #10
RE: Missing that feeling. , crimson_angel, Aug 25th 2012, #9

Mesg #91368 "RE: Missing that feeling. "
Author CatrinP     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Dec 05th 2005
2772 posts
Date Thu Aug-16-12 02:49 AM
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In response to Reply # 0

I know how you feel about characters being like old friends. I too feel that, with many of my stories.

There are times when I look forward to reading a story, and then realise it is my story and it isn't written yet. I have to write it. I am instantly disappointed and disheartened.

I'm just getting back into writing after a tumultuous year and a bit. The ideas flow, but the words on paper are still stilted. And finding time to write is still a big problem.

One thing I have done to help is to allow myself to daydream the stories. I do have time periods I can do this - usually on the commute to work. I let myself think about the story. I create an internal video of the characters and what happens - what they do and what they say. Once a scene is done I then work out how I would write that (in my head).

For me, doing this gives me the intimacy I desire with my characters without the stress of writing. It also helps me when I do get the chance to write I already have a store of words inmy head. They never come out exactly the same but I don't feel the need to plan, because I've already done that task.

Hope my trick triggers something for yourself.

Cat

P.S. Don't feel bad about 'wasting' stories on early writing days. I still love my first story and the characters, but hate the writing. At nearly 175K of words (over 5 partly done novels) I have a huge job to rewrite. But I will one day. Just not right now.

  

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Mesg #91369 "RE: Missing that feeling. "
Author Laevus     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since May 27th 2010
41 posts
Date Thu Aug-16-12 03:08 AM
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In response to Reply # 0

I'm not very experienced with these things, but maybe a new perspective might not be a bad thing?

If those old characters are what gives you the special feeling, is there any reason you have stopped writing about them? Even if you killed all of them off at the end, you can write prequels with them in or even stories about other characters in the same world that could meet your old characters (eg parallel or historic timelines).

If you feel the urge and the drive to write about those old characters, then don't fight it. Even if you have no direction or clue why you feel the urge to write about them, just follow it.

Forgive the mild digression, but I've seen quite a few episodes of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross recently, and one of the main things I've been taking inspiration from is his lack of planning. He says to just start with nothing, no idea or intention of what you want to do and just let whatever is inside come out and flow on to the canvas.

Since then, whenever I've been stuck in my ideas, I just sit with a blank page in front of me, write the question and issue I have at the top and type through my thoughts exactly as I have them, without pausing and without deleting or reading what I've done. Before I realise it, I've got several hundred words, sometimes a few thousand, my questions are answered and I've got many new ideas to explore in my story.

So if you're feeling the urge to write about those old stories and old characters, I would suggest just sitting down with no intention or plan and writing something about those characters. Make it up as you go, let them control the situation and don't even think about word count or structure. Get it out on the page and see where it goes. It might not give you any bestseller material, but hopefully it will stir up the imagination and the joy of writing again.

Hope this helps.
Good luck with the writing, and congratulations on the little one

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Mesg #91370 "RE: Missing that feeling. "
Author atlantissong     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Aug 25th 2002
454 posts
Date Thu Aug-16-12 07:30 AM
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In response to Reply # 2

It isn't really an urge to write those characters again, though like cat said I will rewrite it someday, but more of an urge to meet more characters who give me the same feeling. Some of your advice may still help though. Thanks.

~ Robin ~

"The joy of reading is a blessing forever. For through books, the imagination is enlivened, wisdom is gained, and wondrous experiences bring new fascination to life." ~ unknown





http://www.fmwriters.com/gifs/bookcount

  

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Mesg #91371 "RE: Missing that feeling. "
Author KatsInCommand     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list Click to send message via AOL IM
Author Info Member since Jul 23rd 2003
8317 posts
Date Thu Aug-16-12 08:01 AM
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In response to Reply # 0

You will get it back. I know because I did. I put the muse on sabatical during my two pregnancies, but she refused to stay there and came back fighting by the time the kids were three months old. Just in time for me to go back to work and have NO time for writing.

But I did. It was in small spurts here and there (very small spurts). Things will feel rusty, but practice is the very best oil.

As long as you have the desire, you'll find a way to write. Write more, write different. I definitely took some turns in my writing after the kids. I took risks more often trying new things - genres, characters, flash fiction.

I suggest making a goal for yourself. Find the easiest means possible to assist your writing (even if it means a small tote bag with a pen and notebook following you everywhere).

Make a goal of opening the notebook every day an adding a sentence to it.

That one sentence will grow into more when you have time/energy. And when you don't, it'll at least be one sentence, even if it's crappy.

It could be an uotline, a story, a poem. It just needs to be something to get your brain moving. If you're anything like me, you might need time to percolate stuff in which case the one sentence goal will help that along.

The second part is become used to doing things tired. You CAN write tired. Some of my favorites have resulted from fighting to keep my eyes open as I type.

I suggest the one sentence goal, but you choose whatever bit you need to make it manageable and NOT SCARY when you think about it.

WRITE THAT GOAL DOWN. A post it in your bathroom. On the fridge. On the wall next to the front door so you see it on your way out.

And go ahead, put a smiley on it because you are your own cheerleader and if you set yourself up for it, you'll succeed at getting this going again.

Btw my kids are 6 and 3.5 now. The muse that came back when they were each 3 months persisted. She wouldn't leave me alone. So I did the notebook thing and then typed stuff up in the evenings after the kids were in bed. By the time they were a year, I was back in the swing of things. The rust was gone, and though I was still tired (I don't think that ever goes away? lol), I was writing with what I felt was at least my old skill with a new perspective.

Do what you can to keep yourself healthy: extra water, vitamins if you believe in those... my crutch for years was pop, but I've since given that up.

Good luck and if you want to talk more, feel free to email or PM. The kid+writing thing isn't easy but it CAN be done.

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Mesg #91377 "RE: Missing that feeling. "
Author eblgorton     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Dec 17th 2003
1162 posts
Date Fri Aug-17-12 08:14 PM
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In response to Reply # 0

First off, I think you should re-evaluate what your goals are for writing. You mention potential, best-sellers and then wanting this feeling back. Ask yourself when "I had those feelings I am trying to recover, were those projects 'fun' or with 'I gotta sell it' in mind?"

When the mind is focused on sell sell sell, or 'bag an agent' some people, myself included, lose the fun of writing, and by losing the fun of writing, lose that feeling. Often times it shows in your work too. You loose that 'spark'.

Once you evaluate your goals, I want you to assign yourself 10 min of free-writing every single day. No goals, no thinking of 'am I going to sell this?', no, focus on writing just 10 min, even spaced out throughout the day 2 min here, 2 min there, can add up. Like you did when you first started writing, just play, without plans for anything but just writing out whatever comes to mind. I know a couple of writers who use this sort of method to help get themselves focused.

As a mother of 9 kids, ranging from 18 to 2, I have gone through dry periods of no stories, no words, no ideas even(hard to believe), those things happen, especially as you are trying to manage a household and real life stuff.

I have also written with babies on my knees and had to choose, shower or fight scenes, juggling scenes with playing peek-a-boo and band-aid-ing scratched knees. I've taken pads of paper with me to dr offices, missed my turns while driving because I was working out characters and plots.

Being a parent and a writer isn't easy. It's damn hard. The question I had to sit myself down, and really think about was; How important is writing to me? Which goes back to the first question; What are your goals with writing and adding to it; How bad do I want that?

I can't give you all the answers, I can't tell you how to keep your focus on the stories you start or how to finish them, I can't wave a wand, and there is NO magic pill. It all boils down to you and how bad you want to make your writing happen. If you want it bad enough, nothing can stand in your way of doing it, except yourself.

Good Luck.

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Mesg #91378 "RE: Missing that feeling. "
Author Wen Spencer     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Jan 28th 2003
434 posts
Date Fri Aug-17-12 08:20 PM
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In response to Reply # 5

I'll second the "try to play" idea. When I'm really burned out on writing, nothing helps more than to find something that totally geeks me out, doesn't have a deadline, probably not see the light of day, and PLAY!!!!

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Mesg #91380 "RE: Missing that feeling. "
Author atlantissong     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Aug 25th 2002
454 posts
Date Sat Aug-18-12 08:29 AM
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In response to Reply # 0

Thank you all for the advise. I may be getting a glimmer of it back. I wrote a whole scene the other night when couldn't sleep and tthen tonight actually had a random idea for it pop into my mind at work without trying. It isn't mug but its more than I've had for a while.
~ Robin ~

"The joy of reading is a blessing forever. For through books, the imagination is enlivened, wisdom is gained, and wondrous experiences bring new fascination to life." ~ unknown





http://www.fmwriters.com/gifs/bookcount

  

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Mesg #91381 "RE: Missing that feeling. "
Author Wandering Author     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Jun 01st 2007
1569 posts
Date Sat Aug-18-12 01:30 PM
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In response to Reply # 7

Sat Aug-18-12 01:34 PMby Wandering Author

Edited to add: I know I posted much the same advice recently on another site altogether, but can't quite be sure if I've said this before here on FM. (Since my other recent response is sticking in my mind and confusing me.) So if I've said this before, sorry...

I've been through this over and over in my life. I can't guarantee that what worked for me will work for you, but I'll explain what seemed to help just in case. (And, even if it won't work for you, perhaps someone else can use it.)

What I discovered, originally by accident, is that simply copying (in specific fashion, as I describe below) works I'd already written that 'worked' helped guide my mind into a good state for writing. Sometimes this process would take weeks, one very dreadful time took a couple of months. Since I made my accidental discovery, I've experimented with this - and there also appears to be science that at least suggests there may be something to my preferred method.

The least effective method was retyping old manuscripts. This did work, but it took longer and I also had to, very specifically, be typing "mindfully", with attention to what I was typing in order to revise whatever I could (sometimes I made almost no changes - the point is that I was thinking about what I was doing) and to avoid mistakes. (This was in the days before computers, when a mistake in typing a page was a larger issue by far than it is now.) On a computer, it is much harder, although not completely impossible, to do this at all. (I think this is because of the knowledge that it is so easy to fix mistakes and go back and revise, so it is harder to slip into that state where I have no choice but to pay attention to what I'm typing.)

The best method - and the one science seems to offer some support for - is to copy the manuscript out by hand. Literally. There are studies that show there is a particular neurological connection between the mind and the movements your hand makes as you write, that you are unconsciously thinking about what you write as you write it. The studies only show that you are much more likely to remember something if you write it down by hand - but that at least leaves the possibility open that the process may have other effects on your mind. In my case - for many reasons - I like to use a fountain pen to do this. Yes, I'm a fountain pen nut, but there are solid reasons for my choice as well, that I'll discuss below.

First, once you get used to using one, it is much easier to write with a fountain pen, since they require less pressure; a good nib, with a good ink, will almost skate across the page. Second, the result on the page is almost always more visually striking, and at least in my case, that seems to encourage the process a bit. Third, you have many more choices of ink colours (if you use bottled ink, as I'd recommend for many reasons as well) and so can select a colour that further inspires you. And you can choose a nib that works for you; in such a case, certain nibs like a fine cursive italic (which is, admittedly, a custom grind) produce a very inspiring effect on the page. Fourth, the actual process is subtly different from writing with any other sort of tool, and at least in my experience, those subtle differences make a real difference to the effects. (The time it took a couple of months to jump start my writing, I was using a typewriter. The fastest results have always been using fountain pens.)

Yes, this is time consuming. It does not need to be too expensive, as with a bit of care, you can get a decent fountain pen for not much more than any ordinary pen in the store - and if you use bottled ink, the cost over time is actually significantly less than using anything that requires replacement cartridges. According to one figure I've seen, in the time you use up one bottle, you'd go through at least $80 more in refills than you spent on that bottle of ink. (Although there is one caveat here - the lifetime of a bottle of ink is heavily dependent on the nib you use; if you pick a broad italic nib that's a real gusher, you'll burn through ink so quickly you won't see as much of a saving, although you should still be spending a bit less.) The important thing is to get enough of a sense of what might work for you that you don't have to spend a fortune experimenting with half the pens on the planet, as much fun as that can be.

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Mesg #91421 "RE: Missing that feeling. "
Author WOO     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Jan 26th 2008
1710 posts
Date Sun Aug-26-12 12:59 PM
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In response to Reply # 8

This is sweet advice. As a visual artist (more than a wannabe writer), I plan to go right out and get a new pen and, to start, two bottles of ink, one blue and one black (no need for me to get fancy at the start).

I have been doing more pondering than writing for the past two years ever since I decided most of my work not only was not publishable but also does not reflect the attributes I most enjoy in other writers. But now, how can I resist the impulse to copy/edit the work longhand (my preferred way to compose anyway) at the same time enjoying the smooth flow of a new pen?

Thanks for posting.

.........................
"Be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn." Robert Southey

  

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Mesg #91420 "RE: Missing that feeling. "
Author crimson_angel     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
Author Info Member since Mar 08th 2003
5001 posts
Date Sat Aug-25-12 11:28 AM
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In response to Reply # 0

I'm currently fighting this right now. I've released my first novel which was an absolute dream to write -- everything flowed and I fell in love with the characters and the world. I had almost no problems and it felt so good (well, at least in the first draft stage, anyway).

Now, I'm writing the sequel, and it's not working for me.

What I've done in the past when this happens is a couple of things:

1) Freewriting about the problem
2) Skipping forward to a scene that excites me
3) Taking a short break

And lastly, I simply write through it anyway. Because you can't edit a blank page. And I fully expect to have to edit/revise it, but it keeps me in the story and helps me make progress, if small, on the story. (Especially true since I have a deadline). I've found that sometimes the best scenes/characters/situations arise from this, whether it's my subconscious or maybe just the act of putting words down and being in the moment. It works pretty well for me, but YMMV.

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