Fear of BIG work

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  • #201808
    FadedGlory
    Participant
    • Topics - 2
    • Replies - 7

    It seems quiet here.
    I’m writing flash fiction at the moment because I don’t seem able to knuckle down to novel writing. I’ve done loads of research and written a couple of chapters, but now I’ve run away from the BIG work. I’ve done this before. Am I the only one who’s scared of commitment? :unsure:

    #232569
    FadedGlory
    Participant
    • Topics - 2
    • Replies - 7

    It seems quiet here.
    I’m writing flash fiction at the moment because I don’t seem able to knuckle down to novel writing. I’ve done loads of research and written a couple of chapters, but now I’ve run away from the BIG work. I’ve done this before. Am I the only one who’s scared of commitment? :unsure:

    #234336
    MarFisk
    Moderator
    • Topics - 572
    • Replies - 15,628

    Faded Glory, I moved this into its own topic so it doesn’t get lost, because it didn’t have to do with the chat room. To start a new topic, just click the board name in the breadcrumb tray under “Logout” in the header and it’ll change from “reply topic” to “new topic” and you’ll be fine.

    As to my answer, I have less trouble writing a long work, but I have the same problem with editing and it’s a real battle. The best advice I can give you is to make the BIG work small by defining smaller goal points. If flash works for you, aim for a scene a day, then a chapter, then a set word count. It’s amazing how a book can steamroll right over you and keep going once you get into the habit. It’s very easy to let it intimidate you into not trying.

    I wrote an article for Vision a while back that people have said was helpful: Footsteps to a Novel

    She remakes mechanical devices, and he dreams of becoming a steamship captain in The Steamship Chronicles. Book 1 is free in eBook.
    https://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/the-steamship-chronicles/

    #234337
    Ashe Elton Parker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 475
    • Replies - 9,586

    I agree with Mar, FadedGlory. I’ve found that outlining the scenes I want to write helps me focus better on making the BIG PROJECT into something manageable. But, even before outlining, I found if I just focused on the next scene, I was able to write on my BIG projects when I started getting overwhelmed with everything I had planned for them.

    Now with my outline, I’ve also discovered that not completing the outline before beginning to write also helps with this fear. What I do is, when I begin writing a project, write two plot cards per one scene written until I have 15-20 cards ahead of where I’m writing them, then I drop to adding one card per scene written. It serves several purposes, but the incompleted outline enables me to feel confident in changing it as needed if something unexpected develops in a scene I’m writing, which keeps me from getting overwhelmed with the fact that now I have to change the whole outline to reflect the change.

    And I also have a goal of one scene a day. I don’t always meet this, but because I keep my goal “small” like this, it’s easier for me to reach it most days. Before I switched to doing scenes I had a wordcount goal per day, and that also helped keep things from overwhelming me. By the time I switched to scenes, I was up to 2k words a day (while working a paying job, before my Disability went through), but I started out small–around 500 words a day, once I had access to a home computer I could type my stories on; before that point, I wrote longhand and did that for as long as I could stand each day, sometimes writing in two or three sessions if I had the time, but at that point, my goal was “write as much as possible in time available,” which may have only been an hour or so.

    And that’s another way to make writing the BIG project easy to handle: give yourself a time limit. Do timed sprints like we do wordwars in chat, where participants arrange a time limit, then write as much as possible during that time. It can go for any length of time, though generally speaking, 15-30 min increments are arranged in chat. If you choose this method and you have the time, however, you can go for as long as you want.

    Another trick I use when I’m balking at writing because I’m scared or worried about the perfection of the draft is to give myself a deadline. Not a far-reaching one for the whole project to be done (I wouldn’t stick to that if I tried, mainly ’cause my bipolar affects my writing to some degree), but I’ll say, “I’ll begin writing at TIME,” usually within half an hour to 45 mins away from where I’m making this goal. So, it’s about 20 after 4 here. I could state, “I’ll write my Nano novel’s next scene at 5.” I find doing this helps me cut down on the procrastinative habits I have which prevent my writing, especially when I’m afraid of writing for whatever reason. You could possibly tack on a, “And go until 5:30,” to make it into a bite-sized chunk. And this method works whether I’m in chat and can announce the time-to-start to others or not. After my recent move before I had internet, I tested this method several times and succeeded in writing at the time I decided I would even though I was the only one who knew about it. I think it’s because stating a firm time to start writing enables me to shed my fears and worries better–it’s a limit on how long I’m permitting myself to use the procrastinatory excuses I come up with to stall my writing (like replying to weeks-old posts on FM :p ).

    Ashe Elton Parker
    "Just love me, fear me, do as I say, and I will be your slave." ~ David Bowie as Jareth in Labyrinth
    ~*~
    Member since 1998.
    ~*~
    Look me up on Wattpad for some of my books!
    #234338
    ConnieCockrell
    Participant
    • Topics - 90
    • Replies - 946

    Is it the committment or that it seems overwhelming? Maybe it’s that you think every sentence needs to be perfect before you move on? If you can identify what’s bothering you it may help you implement a coping mechanism.

    I feel free in my first draft to just get words down. I don’t fuss too much with spelling or grammar. If I need more info to fill out the scene I just make a note, highlight it, and keep on writing.

    The others have made very good suggestions as well. Good luck. Remember, no one sees it till you release it.

    #234339
    kitkat
    Participant
    • Topics - 1
    • Replies - 6

    I have that problem-some due to pre-existing conditions :S. I find starting with small manageable goals that I know I can complete, then working on bigger goals until I get into a rhythm on a project. And speed often seems different on every project I start. If I get really blocked, I try moving to something else to see if that will get me re-engaged. Happy writing! :cheer:

    #234340
    bbwriter
    Participant
    • Topics - 4
    • Replies - 57

    Okay, so you’ve done a lot of research. Awesome! Are you a pantser or planner? Have you outlined your book or have you just started writing, unsure of where the story will lead you?

    #234341
    BJ Steeves
    Participant
    • Topics - 3
    • Replies - 26

    Remember that old adage … How do you eat an elephant??? One bite at a time.

    Break your project into small pieces and work on one piece at a time. You’ll get there.

    ===============================================

    BJ Steeves
    Computer Wizard at Large

    Member of Forward Motion since the original site had only 300 members. (That is a while ago!!!)

    #234342
    Octavus
    Participant
    • Topics - 4
    • Replies - 22

    FadedGlory, you’re not alone, I also have this problem, and am bent on finding a solution. I just imagine it has to be like addictions. How I deal with addictions is I ask myself what I want more. Do I want to smoke a cigarette, or do I want to live a healthy life and not die by 50 or be controlled by it and spend all my extra cash on it. So, do I want to write a book, or do I want to succumb to my fear of it, and continue my life with this incomplete drag following me around forever until I grow some cahonies and make it happen? Meh, this 2yn looks pretty promising, give it a go..

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