|seb4book 1 Post||
Its a problem I do not discuss with many people, but I hear them express it when I tell them I am a writer. They tell me they have an idea they'd like to write for a book or a movie. Well great, I have about two dozen ideas that I'd like to write. I actually have a folder of started books, projects, essays and screenplays. Some are still on the front burner, just waiting for..
I don't have a word for it, but I am sure someone does. It's not really fear. It's not inabiolity. It's not lack of desire. It's something else.
Take my revenge movie. The concept is a good one, I'll even share it. It's that too a few people cause much pain and suffering to others. Big business and the government protect these powerful people, until a group of vigilante ex-military snipers start taking the law into their own hands in an attempt to warn these power hungry elite that they are not above the law.
Suspense, intrigue, media histerics, echoes of past presidential assassination and even current political commentary are all involved here.
But when it comes to executing, I get 20 pages in and get stopped. My novel "better than" is stalled on page 70, my current textbook project is fully outlined and ready to be completed. But like patient pets, they sit there, waiting for me to open the door and let them outside to play.
I know that if I sat down and worked for a straight two weeks on any one of these projects I could complete them. If I made a hard and fast rule of a specific time every day I could finish them in two months.
But HBO series, dinners, a day job, haircuts, shopping, weddings, and family holidays offer convenient excuses.
I know what it takes. I've published twleve books, some of which still sell on Amazon. I can do it. I have done it. But I also know what it takes; dedication, late night hours, a somewhat compulsive writing schedule and total focus on the project until it is really, really finished.
I am not resisting the call, but on the other hand it hasn't welled up inside me. In the past there was no keeping me away from the keyboard.
Now, older and much busier, I hear the call, but it competes with others. Maybe its age, maybe the initial rush of getting in print has been satisfied, maybe the projects suck. Or maybe now its really hard work.
Of course it is much easier to have a tsunami of energy that you can't deny. The hard part is planting yourself in front of that screen, shutting the door on the lawn, the wife, the dishes and that wonderful feeling of falling asleep to do what has to be done.
I forget the person who said it, but I have used the quote many times. "I like to have written." But in order to do that, one must first write.
|Susan Brooks... 5 Posts||
The heaviest weight I have ever tried to move is my own. You never realize how big your own butt is until you try to push it out of your way.
I do not have nearly the track of accomplishments you have but I still know where your coming from...I have so many great ideas, you know the truly brilliant ones, well they were here a minute ago, maybe I left them in my other file. In addition to my great ability to run interference so i cannot get anything done (you know real life stuff), you should see me with my editors chopping block thirty pages into a project.
There should be a national moment of silence for all the abandoned projects that could have been brilliant; Or even just could have `been` for that matter.
I do wish you the best
|mikkoazul 23 Posts||
I hear your dilema! I have a large family with tons of obligations to all of them, so I thought I might share what I did that allowed me to finish my first novel. I sat everyone down and explained to them about my dream of publishing my series. The husband and teens got it, the little ones didn't so much, but we set out a schedule and list of daily chores. The hardest part for me was to delegate the chores! Still, my family has been very supportive in adhering to my "work schedule" which is my time on the computer working on the books and have required only minimal harrassment to get their assigned chores done. Sometimes I get up to six hours a day to work, some days life gets in the way and I get no time, but knowing that I have their support and they know that I'm working on something that is extremely important to me is so helpful. I wish you the very best with your work and look forward to seeing your successes posted here where we can all celebrate them!
|Mogget 14 Posts||
Well, what helps me most are my notebooks. I carry one in my purse, everywhere I go. I have a day job I can't get away from, due to that icky bill problem, haha, so I have to steal time throughout the day to jot down my ideas. Even if it seems unlrelated to what I'm working on, I write it down. Sometimes I find in the end that it fits afterall. Also, when I get stuck, and I don't know why, I try not to go back and re-edit what came before. I tried that once, and man did I ever nearly destroy the whole thing. It was a mess. So, instead, I've been looking at what I want to happen right after a scene I'm stuck on. Sometimes if I look at it from a different angle - of where I want my character to be, or what they should be doing in the next scene - it helps me figure out how to accomplish that. I guess, for me at least, looking at where I'm stuck as a stepping stone takes some of the edge off? Maybe? If I'm not thinking of it as the end of the novel if I can't get this darn scene down, you know if I'm not pushing against the brick wall of my own anxiety, it flows a little easier. I hope that helps, and good luck! :)
|DevynFlesher 9 Posts||
I write EVERYTHING down. IF I see something weird. I write it down. If I see something creepy. I Write it down. I have a day job that is a lot of repetitive physical activity, which gives me LOTS of time to think about what I'm writing and what I might write in the future. I always have my iPod touch on me and I write everything down in the notes app. and then email it to myself later. About once a month I read through everything and try to organise it into places I'll use it. I think it's great to have ideas for future projects. I'd hate to get an agent or a publishing deal and end up with only one book in me.
|CatharineBra... 1 Post||
I agree with the note takers and notetbook keepers. If I have a great idea, I write it down and work on it for a couple of weeks to take the idea as far as it will go. If it has legs, great! Otherwise, as soon as it peters out, I put it aside. These abandoned ideas and characters can be brilliant second plots, briliant character sketches, inspriations for articles and poems. I don't think any of our ideas should be deleted or trashed. Save them - you never know . . . .
|Leesia Tandberg 4 Posts||
I'm a note taker as well - if I didn't write down all my thoughts they would evaporate into thin air. I have a very bad memory when it comes to remembering all the places I want my mauscripts to go seeing that I am constantly thinking about it - thank God for post-its! I find that I like to picture a scene like a movie and then I write down (point form) what I want the scene/chapter to do/look like. That way when I actually get to sit down and write the scene I already have my 'draft' to carry me along.
|joakess 4 Posts||
My mom, who is also a writer, calls it the mid-novel blahs, and says to push yourself passed it. For me, I continually remind myself - how bad do I want this? With my first novel, I wanted to reach the end more than anything else in the universe, and hence, I did. Now, it seems that everything is a reasonable distraction from writing time. So, for me, it is self discipline more than anything else. And luckily when I make myself sit down and start, I find my groove and the words come -- or I stare out the window -- either way I am in the creative zone. Self discipline, motivation, inspiration, whatever it is, I hope you find something that works for you. good luck
|scionkirk 2 Posts||
I kind of have the opposite problem. I know how I want the story to start and I know how I want it to end, and I always wind up goofing around in the middle. I also draw, so if I'm not writing, I'm drawing, usually my characters, that keeps my mind focused. I think writing is alot like sleeping, if you force it, it's not going to happen. I hear people say 'I have a hard time locking myself in the room and forcing myself to write.' My advice is, don't! Go somewhere where you would like to go, a park, the beach, a coffee shop, enjoy the environment a bit, then once you are in a good state of mind, get to it!
|robertsloan2 14 Posts||
I used to have that problem for most of my life. How I solved it was a bit original. I learned to write really, really fast. Long ago in the 1970s, I asked Leigh Brackett how long it took her to write a novel.
She said a month or so for the rough draft, maybe another month to edit it. Month and a half if it really gave her trouble. She and her husband, Ed Hamilton, came through the Great Depression "Doing well enough" on six titles a year each. When everyone else was struggling to find jobs and my grandfather was depressed by living on his wife's hairdressing job, they did just fine.
Because she told me that, deep down I believed it could be done. Everyone else in the world was telling me that writing a novel was the work of years and decades. It took me 24 years to finish my first novel because I kept throwing it out and starting over. When I finally wrote it, I had a summer off from having to earn a living because of a huge windfall employee benefits check from my last real job and I spent it writing every day. After two and a half months when the money ran out, the 500 page manuscript was too big to just chuck. It took several more years to get around to writing the last three chapters.
But that taught me what I needed was to be able to work on a novel without stopping to do anything else important. Just keep writing it every day till I hit The End. It got faster, my second one took about a month. By my fifth novel I knew that big fat novels were my natural length and trusted myself that I could do one again anytime I had a month free to do it.
I joined Nanowrimo in 2000 and have kept on ever since, because no matter what other craziness goes on in my hard life, I know that month is blocked for novel writing. I had a dozen and a half trunk novels when I did my first Nanovel, but it kept me sane all the years of getting SSI for my multiple disabilities. Long story for another post.
Some other tips I picked up along the way. Making habits to create "writing time." Scheduling it and setting up habits that are reminders that's what I'm doing right now in front of the computer. I set my Windows wallpaper to something relating to the setting. I set up a playlist of music that fits the book and do not listen to music when I'm doing anything but writing novels. Listening to music = work on the book. Opera in foreign languages is great for it - full of drama and the lyrics aren't distracting.
I do the day's chapter first thing in the day before anything else. For me this includes things like housecleaning, because I'm disabled. Trying to accomplish "Clear my desk" could leave me too sick to write, so I do that the day before starting the novel. Taking a shower before writing will leave me too sick to write, so I bathe in the evening if I'm up to it. Any physical activity takes five times the body energy it would for someone symmetrical - so I sit down at the computer first and write my chapter. Not opening a browser till I'm done with the day's writing helps too - no email and no posting on forums. Then I post my word count. Then I do whatever else I want to do in the day, because the writing doesn't demand much physical energy at all.
Some of that is adapting to disability. If you don't have trouble taking a shower and come out of it wanting to do something like write, I'm not saying adopt my habits. Just make a routine and make sure some of it is things you only do when you work on the book. Self rewards are good too.
Buy a large bag of M&Ms. Put them in your desk drawer. You can't have any until you do the day's chapter. At scene ends you can open the drawer and have a handful. That's a good solitary reward system. If you're on a diet, make it a small handful or count them out one per page.
The idea is to have habits that get so ingrained that it's like getting behind the wheel of the car. You know you're going to drive and don't think about how to drive as much as where you're going.
|scionkirk 2 Posts||
Really, I was in the same boat until I started doing Nanowrimo. The idea is, if you come to a roadblock, go around it. In the rough draft just go 'and somehow Bob survives the fall from the 40 story building, and now he's picking up flowers for his wife' or whatever, then start writing from a point you don't feel blocked. It's not worth getting hung up somewhere, because you never know what you're going to pull out in the editing process. If you find you 'hum de dum'ed through an important part, atleast now you have the before and after to help you brainstorm.
|AHMED DODO 7 Posts||As a writer deep in the Africa continent I can as well feel what you are going through. But in your own case you're lucky to have published so many books and making money out of them. One of the greatest challenges we African writers are facing presently is getting our ideas and manuscripts into books. The economy situations in most of our countries are so bad and frustrating that many great ideas are left to die. Take for instance my own case. I have completed more than three movie scripts,, including other fiction works, poems and short stories, all eagerly waiting to be turn into reality. But I cannot because I don't have the amount most publishers in America and Britain are asking me for. Most of my stories are of international standard, more of a blend with characters from abroad and home. Example is my current work WHITE MAN IN TOWN. This is the captivating story of an American entrepreneur who fell into the hands of some smart Nigerian fraudsters who corned him out of millions of dollars; A very daring story of human adventure, suspense and smartness. I am still working on the story, rig now almost seventy percent completion. I have this strong conviction that one day providence would push a good agent to my side and I will have some of my manuscripts published into the international market. So, please friend, keep writing and lets the mighty PEN flow. We all have our writer's blogs and other engaging obstacles as we strive to right and tell the world what's going on in our heads as writers.|
|davidlewis0418 3 Posts||
I totally understand how you feel about finding that right push to keep things moving. During the journey of finishing my first novel, there were a few weeks of absolute dead writing. That is to say, I say at my computer and edited some things, but the writing went nowhere. Eventually, I come to a point where while doing other things, I feel these obligations hanging over my head. It's as if my laptop is whispering my name from my room, taunting me. When I finally do get in a good groove, my work consumes me. I find myself blowing people off, and neglecting to get things done around the house. Sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day.
A set schedule doesn't really work for me personally. My mind sort of makes its own hours as I go along. Sometimes I can write up to 12 hours straight, taking hardly any breaks. Other days, I get stumped after 15 mins and find something "better" to do. I also relate to you in having too many projects in mind. When it comes to being a factory, you can only have so many on the line at one time. It works best for me to push through one before even considering another. Although, I've heard opposite advice; some people say working back and forth truly keeps their creativity and movtivation rolling.
Keep at it!
|AHMED DODO 7 Posts||Hello Dave. Thanks for your candid opinion. Please can you link me with a publisher to publish my work? Will appreciate a publisher with the ability to take a dive into captivating stories in Africa.|
|svenska220 1 Post||
There is a psychological technique that seems counter-intuitive, but so simple it is often miss understood and missed. We all wait for "motivation" to strike to be able to take actoon on something, to write (or any other task in life). But: "ACTION PRECEEDS MOTIVATION", that is, one doesn't wait to be motivated, take action and the motivation follows. It works with any task, especially things we dread or 'put off'. Hope tht helps.
|rickybutler1 2 Posts||
Hello, The creative way to write for me is listening to music when writing ,and a cup of hot coco to get me geared up. I only work on one project at a time , and I refuse to let my mind wonder of that is not helpful for the project . I get focus relax and write. The key is to relax when writing it is your private time for yourself to be a kid again . You gotta let the inner child come out and the story will flow like fire . Draw out a writers chart a time line to get a vision of the plot,charater development and let your mind dance away try it out believe me it works.
|rickybutler1 2 Posts||
Hello, The creative way to write for me is listening to music when writing ,and a cup of hot coco to get me geared up. I only work on one project at a time , and I refuse to let my mind wonder off that is not helpful for the project . I get focus relax and write. The key is to relax when writing it is your private time for yourself to be a kid again . You gotta let the inner child come out and the story will flow like fire . Draw out a writers chart a time line to get a vision of the plot,charater development and let your mind dance away try it out believe me it works.