October 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm #198517
I’ve been looking over a lot of information on why writers don’t write. It’s there on almost every writer’s blog, as well as heard in chat and on Twitter. The common thoughts are lack of energy, lack of ideas and lack of time.
And all of those are good, valid reasons. However. . . .
Maybe this is just me, but I rarely see people say they want to write.
That ‘want’ is an important aspect of writing. An obvious one, so there’s no great huge surprise when considering this idea. Even so, I don’t see people say they want to write very often, except in a “I want to write, but . . .” statement.
Time is the key. Time is the evil entity that steals our days away and disappears with them when we aren’t paying attention. A few minutes here on the Internet, an hour or so talking on the phone, a few shows at night; the day is done, and that doesn’t even take into account work and family obligations.
Maybe you’ll get a little writing done tomorrow, right? You’ll have more energy. Your muse will get back from vacation.
Maybe tomorrow you’ll want to write.
There’s a word most people don’t care to think about when it comes to writing: Work.
Writing might be fun work — it is for many of us — but it still requires concentration, determination, and all the other aspects that go into working on a job.
Most of us must have a real-world job to survive. We don’t want to add to that work by taking on something as harrowing as writing a novel. You don’t want to take on that work.
And there’s the way attitude can work against you. Once you start dropping novel writing into the same box as your job at the local factory, you can’t possibly want to take it on.
Just remember these things:
- Writing is for you. You do it for the joy of expressing those things in your mind that you cannot share in any other way.
- You are on your own timetable. If you want to write every day, that’s great, but you don’t have to. You can write your novel in a couple months or a few years; either way is acceptable, as long as you’re not just talking about writing.
- Write what you want. Never mind what’s big, or acceptable, or the story your grandmother wants you to tell. The only requirement is for you to tell the story you want to write.
- Oh and editing and stuff? Hate the thought of it? Get that attitude out of your head, too. Editing is a wonderful gift for writers. We have an art where it is not only easy, but required, to scratch out things, delete pieces and rework what you have until it’s the story you want.
Yes, this is work. That doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to enjoy it and do this work just for yourself.October 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm #206994Ashe Elton ParkerModerator
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You know me, Zette. I always seem to be starting a new story, just plunging in with a new idea, and that’s because, ultimately, I want to write. So I sit at my desk, watching chat, and come up with something to write, because I think it’s fun, and, when it comes right down to it and I’m not being too hard on myself, I want to be able to say at the end of the day I’ve put down some words on something, even if the idea ultimately fizzles out for lack of continuing ideas. But, the reason behind me starting something new is because I want so much to write when another story isn’t going at all. It feels better to write on something.
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!
October 19, 2012 at 12:52 am #206995IzzybazParticipant
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I know why I’m not writing now:
I did Nanowrimo last year (and got past 50,000), but my story that I was writing just kind of fell into a hole. I haven’t had the heart to either look at it again or start something new. I’ve got the itch right now and desperately WANT to write, but I can’t seem work up the nerve to start something new. I really liked my last idea, but felt it kind of degenerated into this mushy romance novel when that wasn’t what I wanted to write in the first place.
Of course, I might also not be writing right now because I teach 4th grade and my brain can just about handle “Fire bad. Tree pretty” (tm Joss Whedon) at the end of the day.
But I can feel that need to write starting to take over my brain. I just need to either fish or cut bait on the last one. I think cut bait is the smarter move, it’s just difficult when I put so much into it. :dry:October 19, 2012 at 1:44 am #207012Samantha_KroeseParticipant
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Thanks for the pep talk pointers, zette!
Why I’m not writing on my NOVEL right now? I’m distracted by little fluff stories that I don’t have to worry about being perfect. I know I shouldn’t worry about the first draft of my novel being that way either but I haven’t quite worked shutting off my editor off yet. For the novel anyway. For the fluff stories I can write without even editing and the people who read those like them anyway. Lazy, I suppose.
I am writing a lot more on my novel regularly than I have for years though. I couldn’t even touch a ‘real’ story for years.October 19, 2012 at 7:19 am #206996RinelleGreyParticipant
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I love writing, and many, many days I do want to write. But there are days when I don’t. Either because something better is on offer (I’m a sucker for a day at the beach, or friends asking to come visit), because I’m stuck on a bit where I’m not sure how to get past, or simply because I’m not feeling inspired.
On those days, I’m trying to remind myself that I want a finished novel as much as I want to write. Which means pushing through the tricky days (sometimes I decide a break will do me good, sometimes I know I’m just procrastinating, and what I really need to do is start).
Sometimes too, it’s the starting bit that is hard, and once I’m actually sitting with my document open writing, I’m back in the zone and loving it.October 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm #206997NinjaFingersParticipant
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Right now I’m not writing because it is about 80 in my apartment and I can’t open the windows thanks to the gorrammed construction work. Agian.October 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm #206998D. Anthony BrownParticipant
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I’m writing at this particular time in my life, but earlier this year I had good intentions I never followed through on. Looking back, I have no excuse for the lost writing time. I spent the time playing games, watching TV, and reading. I’m a sucker for distractions, but I’m aware of this weakness. So I try to get my writing done in the morning after I eat (I’ve never been able to work on an empty stomach) and try to write something before I go to bed.
I consider myself a self-employed writer, so I’ve made a career commitment to do this. But I like Zette’s point about having fun. I often stop writing when I lose fun in a project. So I’ve learned that when a story is no longer fun for me, I put it aside and focus on the next story. Sometimes I come back to the original, other times it gets tossed in the file cabinet. Either way I’m training myself to always work on something. I still struggle with this stuff, and I’m sure I always will on some level.
Thanks Zette for the pep talk!October 20, 2012 at 1:12 am #206999
There are legitimate reasons not to write and we all have them at one time or another.
But something else I’ve noted — people who do a lot of writing about why they aren’t writing. Sometimes I think they’re focus just isn’t where it ought to be!October 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm #207000RavenCorbieParticipant
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Up until this fall break, I wasn’t writing because my teaching job took too much out of me, and I had no energy left.
This fall break, well, I’m still not sure why I didn’t do any writing (yet). I’ve done some mental planning on my novel, but no actual words, and I really want to work on my short story. In fact, I just turned on that computer so that I will be working on it today.
I do notice an attitude shift when I start thinking “I get to write!” instead of “I should write” or “I have to write.” That’s something I try to keep in mind.October 21, 2012 at 12:54 am #207001Gryps IncedioParticipant
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Great pep talk to get back into writing. Sometimes I think people forget the art is work, but well worth it when it’s finished.
What’s usually keeping me from writing? My kid loves to scream at the top of her lungs, and I can’t concentrate when she does that. Yes, it’s those years right now. :SOctober 21, 2012 at 6:58 am #207002
These are my nudge-nudge-nudge posts for people who are maybe taking an easy excuse not to write, which is fine if that’s what they want to do. However, sometimes all it takes is a nudge like this to make a person rethink what they’re doing. They just have to want to do so.October 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm #207003BookParticipant
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My reasons for not writing:
chocolate chip cookies
a jack russell terrier
grass that needs mowing
craigslist (old cars!)
old cars in back yard
etc, ad nauseum…October 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm #207804
But the question is whether or not you want to write, and if so, why don’t you carve out just a little time every day (or every week) that you apply specifically to it?October 27, 2012 at 3:00 am #207819BookParticipant
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I definitely want to write, and I usually do…a little. Even when all those distractions rear up I make myself write at least a paragraph a day. But what I really want is to write a lot. My goal is to get to get in about 5000 words a week. I can do it when I get into the zone, it’s just getting past all those distractions to get to the zone that’s tough.October 27, 2012 at 3:33 am #207851
Here is something I learned down through all the years of writing:
The more often you sit down and write, the easier it becomes. There will always be distractions. You can never do away with them. The best you can do is to train yourself not to waste the time you do have by dedicating your attention to it when you can.
It takes a lot of practice, but that want to write feeling is what makes the difference and will give you the ability to focus if you can get the practice. It takes a while to build up to that level, but once you do, any amount of free time can be used for writing, whether fifteen minutes or several hours.
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