what to do when you’re not in the mood to write

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  • #208880
    Udo
    Participant
    • Topics - 7
    • Replies - 120

    Time, usually. I hate drugs and detest doctors.

    If I am lucky, they last a few days. During which time I find something mindless to do, like stare at the tv. If it lasts more than a week, my sister starts threatening to haul my sorry tail to the doctor. In lieu of that, I’ll try doing little things, like hiking and photography, that can make me feel a little better.

    Two acting as one

    #208829
    zette
    Moderator
    • Topics - 580
    • Replies - 887

    I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, mostly because ‘not in the mood to write’ is totally alien to me. I can’t get enough time to do all the writing I want, and I do a lot of writing as it is.

    But here is what I think. What you do has to depend on what you want out of writing on the whole. Do you want it to be a fun hobby? Then write whenever you feel like it.

    If you are considering anything approaching a professional career that includes writing, then you have to start approaching it in a professional way. First, how do you think the blog posts are going to help get you what you want as a writer? If you think discipline, they might not be your best approach. If you want to write stories then discipline yourself to write them and not something else.

    Whatever you want to write, try approaching it in smaller steps. Set a goal of writing 250 words a day, five days a week. Do that for two or three weeks and you will have the pattern of sitting down and writing in place and you will almost naturally start writing more. Build the number up to where you are comfortable. Change it to 3 days a week if that works better for you, but go with at least five (I would recommend seven) days to start with so you get used to just sitting down for a few minutes and writing.

    #208846
    J.A. Marlow
    Moderator
    • Topics - 311
    • Replies - 1,101
    Quote:
    I tried the twisting my own ear until I get work done. Problem is my inner writer is such a brat it’s been fighting with me all the way.

    There’s a reason the creative side of the brain is called your “Inner 2 year old.” :P

    To take that analogy further, children do best in a structure. To know what to expect (even if rebelling against it). Those who write regularly attest that the more the write, the more their creative side comes up with ideas. More ideas equals more writing, and round and round it goes until you come to the point that you won’t be able to finish all the ideas you have in several lifetimes.

    The point it to start that structure despite the tantrums and foot-stomping. You both will be happier as you settle into a regular writing schedule, even if it’s hard to initiate at first. There is no substitute for butt-in-chair and fingers-on-keyboard. :D

    (I should mention that even burst writers are this way, so long as the burst come regularly.)

    J.A. Marlow
    The String Weavers, Salmon Run, Redpoint One series.

    Writer alter-ego of Dreamers Cove

    #208890
    turnipmeatloaf
    Participant
    • Topics - 2
    • Replies - 6
    Weird Jim wrote:
    Quote:
    That’s because I, uh, put my foot in my mouth too often to count.

    Wanna guess why in the eleven or twelve years I’ve been an FM member that I’ve rarely gone into chat? Foot in mouth disease is endemic with writers. I’ve often deleted posts, both here and in other places, but I’m not sure that’s desirable with a blog. Besides, I think there are people who love errors. 😳

    😆 Nice to know it’s endemic after all.

    Weird Jim wrote:
    Quote:
    But I DO want to write genuinely good stuff, and…that’s where I come up short.

    I’m not sure what genuinely good stuff is, and I’m not sure that the writer is the best judge of what’s good and what’s bad. Even so, it’s a matter of progress. You toddle before you walk before you run. As long as the writing is readable and coherent so that people can understand it, it should be passable. Keep learning and you’ll get there. Your initial post was OK.

    Linda Adams wrote:
    So true. I’ve seen some pieces posted for critique that were so bad they were unreadable.

    Genuinely good stuff for me is work I’m not merely satisfied with, but proud of. Yeah, you can’t entirely be objective there, especially if it’s your work, and then there’s taste to consider. But you want to write stories with the kind of characters and plots and writing, etc. you love, which…I can’t do as of now.

    But good to know I passed the OK mark already.

    zette wrote:
    But here is what I think. What you do has to depend on what you want out of writing on the whole. Do you want it to be a fun hobby? Then write whenever you feel like it.

    If you are considering anything approaching a professional career that includes writing, then you have to start approaching it in a professional way. First, how do you think the blog posts are going to help get you what you want as a writer? If you think discipline, they might not be your best approach. If you want to write stories then discipline yourself to write them and not something else.

    Pro, definitely, primarily as a fiction writer, but I also want to write non-fiction. I was thinking of the blog entries as both training and samples for the freelance writing business I plan to start eventually. Since I have no qualifications at all (degree, etc.; joining this workshop is the only writing-related thing I’ve done within the past year), I was thinking I better provide potential clients with proof that someone like me can write after all.

    Am I being unrealistic?

    zette wrote:
    Whatever you want to write, try approaching it in smaller steps. Set a goal of writing 250 words a day, five days a week. Do that for two or three weeks and you will have the pattern of sitting down and writing in place and you will almost naturally start writing more. Build the number up to where you are comfortable. Change it to 3 days a week if that works better for you, but go with at least five (I would recommend seven) days to start with so you get used to just sitting down for a few minutes and writing.

    Yeah, I’ve been doing that, except I started with a higher word count. 1,000 words everyday, which I’ll move up to 2,000 when I’ve adjusted. I, uh, got that from On Writing – is this as good as they say? I got it because of all the rave reviews (which, say, 50 Shades of Grey also had), but I don’t have a real gauge since it’s one of the first craft books I’ve read.

    J.A. Marlow wrote:
    There’s a reason the creative side of the brain is called your “Inner 2 year old.” :P

    To take that analogy further, children do best in a structure. To know what to expect (even if rebelling against it). Those who write regularly attest that the more the write, the more their creative side comes up with ideas. More ideas equals more writing, and round and round it goes until you come to the point that you won’t be able to finish all the ideas you have in several lifetimes.

    The point it to start that structure despite the tantrums and foot-stomping. You both will be happier as you settle into a regular writing schedule, even if it’s hard to initiate at first. There is no substitute for butt-in-chair and fingers-on-keyboard. :D

    (I should mention that even burst writers are this way, so long as the burst come regularly.)

    😆 Good to hear that. It really does get better? Now I’ll be even more motivated dragging that two year old to the keyboard later.

    #208904
    Ashe Elton Parker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 435
    • Replies - 9,295

    I’d say that On Writing is a book with good advice for any writer, but Stephen King’s advice isn’t for everyone. 1k of words a day isn’t a reasonable goal for most beginning writers.
    Basically, the best thing for a beginning writer to do is start small. 500 or even 250 words a day for a few weeks, until you find yourself naturally surpassing that goal in your writing time, then up it another 250 or 500, whatever you think you can handle. Starting small not only gets you practicing with getting words down, it’ll be the beginning of your self-training to the discipline you need to get better, particularly if you arrange a set time every day for writing, which is another good thing to do.

    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!
    #208905
    Linda Adams
    Participant
    • Topics - 38
    • Replies - 217
    Quote:
    Pro, definitely, primarily as a fiction writer, but I also want to write non-fiction. I was thinking of the blog entries as both training and samples for the freelance writing business I plan to start eventually. Since I have no qualifications at all (degree, etc.; joining this workshop is the only writing-related thing I’ve done within the past year), I was thinking I better provide potential clients with proof that someone like me can write after all.

    Am I being unrealistic?

    Probably the most important thing is to identify is what you truly want to write. Sometimes writers simply want to write full-time, so they decide to freelance when their dream is actually to write fiction (I fell into that with writing screenplays). If you want to write fiction, write fiction. You won’t learn how to do it better by doing non-fiction.

    A degree, by the way, is not necessarily a qualification. I’ve been published in over 50 magazines and have two stories coming out in anthologies, and I don’t have a degree. What’s going to sell your writing is your writing. That means you have to get manuscripts done and submitted.

    #208906
    zette
    Moderator
    • Topics - 580
    • Replies - 887

    They will not be good as things to send other people to see, unfortunately, unless your blog suddenly becomes a super hit and you are drawing thousands of readers a post. It is simply poor business to tell a potential publisher to ‘check my blog’ for things. You will do far better by writing articles for various places and building up a listing for non-fiction work.

    On the other hand, it can get you into the steady pace of writing at all, which might help.

    On the word count — starting high is an invitation to get disgusted by your inability to make the count all the time. You are not used to writing steadily, and you’ll do far better by setting a low goal and surpassing it than by setting a high one and not making it. That’s a sure way to make writing miserable and not want to go back to it.

    #208830
    turnipmeatloaf
    Participant
    • Topics - 2
    • Replies - 6
    Linda Adams wrote:
    Quote:
    Pro, definitely, primarily as a fiction writer, but I also want to write non-fiction. I was thinking of the blog entries as both training and samples for the freelance writing business I plan to start eventually. Since I have no qualifications at all (degree, etc.; joining this workshop is the only writing-related thing I’ve done within the past year), I was thinking I better provide potential clients with proof that someone like me can write after all.

    Am I being unrealistic?

    Probably the most important thing is to identify is what you truly want to write. Sometimes writers simply want to write full-time, so they decide to freelance when their dream is actually to write fiction (I fell into that with writing screenplays). If you want to write fiction, write fiction. You won’t learn how to do it better by doing non-fiction.

    Is it unrealistic to think you can write both fiction and non-fiction? Fiction is definitely my first love, but I’m attached to non-fiction, too.

    Ashe wrote:
    I’d say that On Writing is a book with good advice for any writer, but Stephen King’s advice isn’t for everyone. 1k of words a day isn’t a reasonable goal for most beginning writers.
    Basically, the best thing for a beginning writer to do is start small. 500 or even 250 words a day for a few weeks, until you find yourself naturally surpassing that goal in your writing time, then up it another 250 or 500, whatever you think you can handle. Starting small not only gets you practicing with getting words down, it’ll be the beginning of your self-training to the discipline you need to get better, particularly if you arrange a set time every day for writing, which is another good thing to do.

    zette wrote:
    On the word count — starting high is an invitation to get disgusted by your inability to make the count all the time. You are not used to writing steadily, and you’ll do far better by setting a low goal and surpassing it than by setting a high one and not making it. That’s a sure way to make writing miserable and not want to go back to it.

    I, uh, now realize the problem’s bigger than the blogging. Sorry. :(

    On a good day, I naturally surpass the 1,000 word quota. But I’ve been hit with writer’s block recently (unless I misused that term), for both fiction and non-fiction writing. The block started in the fiction writing, which got me frustrated, and it might have bled into the blogging. But I realize I’d been so focused on the blogging, because I currently have more “at stake” there than a story.

    I’m currently hauling myself out of the fiction block, and so far it’s been going better than I thought. Though whether that means things will be looking up for non-fiction too might be another thing.

    So…for low points like this, is it okay to lower the word count? Or force yourself to write your normal quota anyway?

    Linda Adams wrote:
    A degree, by the way, is not necessarily a qualification. I’ve been published in over 50 magazines and have two stories coming out in anthologies, and I don’t have a degree. What’s going to sell your writing is your writing. That means you have to get manuscripts done and submitted.

    zette wrote:
    They will not be good as things to send other people to see, unfortunately, unless your blog suddenly becomes a super hit and you are drawing thousands of readers a post. It is simply poor business to tell a potential publisher to ‘check my blog’ for things. You will do far better by writing articles for various places and building up a listing for non-fiction work.

    On the other hand, it can get you into the steady pace of writing at all, which might help.

    I’d actually started out writing articles to submit to newspapers and magazines, but all the “how to write query letters” advice I’d read said to mention “qualifications” – published work, degrees, any experience. All of which I didn’t have.

    Needless to say, I’d gotten rejected (unless not receiving replies, even to follow-up letters I’d written weeks after to avoid looking like a nagger, isn’t rejection). Yeah, the articles not coming to them at the right place/time, along with being substandard, are other reasons, but I’d also gotten the impression that me not having anything else besides a pitch was a third strike against me. Hence the blog. Which, agh, has been a waste of time, more or less.

    Besides writing articles, is there anything else you can do, at least to give you an edge? How did you get started?

    #208918
    Linda Adams
    Participant
    • Topics - 38
    • Replies - 217
    Quote:
    Is it unrealistic to think you can write both fiction and non-fiction? Fiction is definitely my first love, but I’m attached to non-fiction, too.

    You can do both, but there’s a but. If you add making enough money to support yourself to the equation (freelancing), fiction’s going to take a backseat to getting paid. A lot of fiction writers think that if they can write full time, they can write non-fiction to get paid and have time to write fiction. The problem is that it doesn’t pay that much, so you’ll end up spending all your time looking for more paying venues to keep the money coming in and probably not doing as much fiction as you would like. That’d be a problem if it was what you really wanted to do.

    However, if your primary focus is writing fiction in your spare time, then you can periodically write non-fiction articles when you need a break or when an opportunity presents itself.

    Quote:
    I’d actually started out writing articles to submit to newspapers and magazines, but all the “how to write query letters” advice I’d read said to mention “qualifications” – published work, degrees, any experience. All of which I didn’t have.

    Needless to say, I’d gotten rejected (unless not receiving replies, even to follow-up letters I’d written weeks after to avoid looking like a nagger, isn’t rejection). Yeah, the articles not coming to them at the right place/time, along with being substandard, are other reasons, but I’d also gotten the impression that me not having anything else besides a pitch was a third strike against me. Hence the blog. Which, agh, has been a waste of time, more or less.

    Besides writing articles, is there anything else you can do, at least to give you an edge? How did you get started?

    Here’s the problem: There’s no easy fix to this. You may write for many years and get 500 rejections before you start getting published regularly. That’s why you really have to love what you’re writing because there’s going sustain you over the times where no one is interested. And it’s not magic solution where you get published, and suddenly everything turns to gold. You may write a story and get it published, and then the next ten don’t sell — and you have no idea why the first one was different. Or you could write your best story ever and no one touches it. Every new writer looks at publication and thinks, “Once I get in, I’m made,” never realizing that even the big name writers still get rejections.

    Really, the only thing I can suggest is to assume writing full time isn’t going to happen for a long time to come. If you’re writing on very limited time, what’s going to be your choice? Above, you said fiction is your first love, but you’re spending your time trying to produce articles.

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