Tuesday, May 25

Is Writing The Best Way?

I'm stuck. And by stuck, I mean call the fire dept because they need to hoist me out, stuck.

The problem is, I don't have writers block.* If I had writers block, I could work my way around that. I could have brain storming sessions or read my story, or do any number of things to trigger my Muse.

But no, my problem can't be that simple. You see, I still have tons of ideas floating around in my head and I even have the next few chapters plotted out with significant detail. There's no problem when it comes to my actual story.

My problem is a lack of emotional and mental stamina. I can't seem to do much more than stare morosely out my window.** Now, I know everyone says to just write your way through your problems, whatever they may be, but honestly, right now I just feel like eating and sleeping and crying.

I've already "told" myself I can take a few days to try and regroup before I force myself to write, but that doesn't stop me from feeling like I'm failing somehow.

I should be writing. Everyone is expecting me to finish my novel this summer and I feel like if I'm not writing right now, I'm letting everyone down. Including myself.

I didn't write while I was in Virginia. I felt spending time with Christopher was more important. If I'd sat down to write, I would have shut myself away in my room and ignored the world. I only had 2 weeks with him, so I didn't want to do that. But now, my lack of writing the past 2 weeks is not helping my feeling of failure now.

I just feel a little lost.

Have any of you felt this way before? What did you do to "fix" these feelings?*** Is writing my way through this my best chance? Or do you think it will stress me out more and that I should wait until I'm calmer before I pick up my story again (if this is the case, it would only be "put off" for a day or two)?



*Never thought I'd say those words in the same sentence.
** For those who don't know, I flew home from Virginia Sunday night, leaving my fiance behind (he lives there. I do not).
*** I'm not asking you guys to solve my emotional turmoil right now over having to leave Christopher behind. I'm asking what you guys did about the feelings of failure you've experienced.

16 comments:

  1. Sounds like perhaps you need to read for awhile instead. Read in the genre you're writing - fall in love with it again. Get excited about writing by reading, if that makes any sense.

    That always gets me "back in the mood" when I take too much time off...

    Good luck, you'll get back to it. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to finish this summer either. You have plenty of time...slow down and focus on writing because you *want* to, not because you feel you *have* to. :-)

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  2. Jamie- But see that's the thing. I'm still in love with my genre. I have all the urges to write and Im still excited about my story and everything like that. And it's not that I took too much time off-- I still wrote during that time, I just didn't work on my story. Im not stuck in any of the conventional ways, which is the biggest problem. Im unhappy OUTSIDE of my writing, which is making me unable to write at the moment. That's more whats going on. Lol, everyone says slow down. Trust me, I want to write. But if I only ever wrote when I "had" to, I'd never finish anything. I'd like to be published before I die ;) In any case, writers have to work under deadline =)

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  3. I'm in a funk too, so I feel your pain.

    My CPs are setting deadlines and holding me to it, so I will have to buckle down and get some of these ideas out of my head soon, but I think it's okay to take a break when you need one.

    Don't be so hard on yourself.

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  4. I'm also in a funk and not writing. It happens. It feels awful, I know, but don't beat yourself up about it. Time will pass, you'll feel happier, and then you'll write. If you stress about not writing, you'll only cause yourself more grief. Give yourself permission to take a break. It doesn't mean you won't ever write again.

    When you don't feel like writing, try doing a timed exercise. Write for 30 minutes, then stop for the day. Tomorrow write for 45 minutes, and the next day for an hour, and so on. When you've put in your time for the day, you're done. It doesn't matter if you wrote 1 page or 12 during your "writing time", or if you did nothing more than plot your next scene. If you work on your WIP in some small way, you might feel better.

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  5. I'm in the exact same slump. I don't know what it is but I just don't feel like writing. I have all the ideas, the outline is there, the time is there, I just don't want to.

    Truthfully, I don't know what to tell you. I like Jennifer's idea about timed writing but I know I won't do it. I like Jamie's idea about reading in your genre, but I'm not going to do that either.

    Truthfully, I think I'm just not going to do anything but be outside. It's been raining here for weeks (What actually feels like months) and I think that has an awful lot to do with my mood. If the sun makes an appearance tomorrow, who knows, if I take half an hour and walk around, I might feel like writing.

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  6. It helps to know other writers experience writing slumps.

    I have another suggestion: take an online writing class. Most RWA chapters offer them. I try to take one a month to learn something new, and always feel isnpired to write when I do.

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  7. If I were you, I'd use this. Write, but not your story. Write about how you feel, how your heart aches, how the whole world is covered in a veil of gray that you can't tug off. One day you'll need to remember what it's like to miss someone and you'll have it all right there within your grasp. I'm sorry this is happening to you, love, but use it. I'm here if you need a cyber shoulder to cry on. ♥

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  8. Feelings of failure...hmmm...I leaned on my friends. That's how I got through. Usually my friends instinctively know when to purely be my cheerleader instead of pushing me. Don't get me wrong, there are times when I need to be pushed, but sometimes you just need a break. Luckily, they know the difference. Lean on friends and let them remind you that taking some time off is not failing. If you're worried about time lost, don't. I say this because I know how fast you write, and I wrote 100K in the course of a month with work, kids, and a hubby clamoring for my attention. So, that's how I deal with failure. I speak up and wait to be comforted. Is that lame?

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  9. I feel your pain. I know nothing I can say will make it better, so... :HUGS:

    Sometimes when I'm feeling all out of sorts with my writing, I try several things (not counting the sitting around eating ice cream thing): Write something totally different - like a short story or a poem. Or sit down with a pen and paper, just free writing whatever comes into my head. Or write something I never would've tried before, like a silly SF story. Or once I sat in the park and tried to describe what I was experiencing in painfully precise detail - the color of the trees, the smell of the grass, etc. Anything to otherwise occupy your muse - just nothing with any pressure behind it. It's perfectly acceptable to set your WIP aside while you gather yourself again.

    Hope that helps, and I'm here if you need to talk. Hang in there.

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  10. I'm in the same boat right now too. I've been losing motivation over the past week and this week, I've been trying to make use of my time by reading critique buddies' stories. I know I just need to buckle down and get writing, but sometimes you gotta take a break. Don't force it, do some reading, and then come back to it. Good luck!

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  11. Allow yourself some time off! There have been times when I've stopped writing for several weeks because I couldn't face the pages. Instead, I read A LOT. Eventually, I started writing again because I was ready.

    Sounds like you've gotten some great advice from the other ladies, too! Good luck!

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  12. Girl, you need to cut yourself some slack. I've definitely been where you're at and will definitely be there again. My writing suffers when my life is in turmoil - stress, lack of sleep, minor depressions, anxiety - these can all stop my writing dead in its tracks.

    Honestly? I deal with it by letting myself off the hook. When you're in a funk like that the last thing you need is more pressure so give yourself permission to stop writing - WITHOUT feeling guilty. There is no *should be writing* allowed.

    Work on the issues that are creating the general unhappiness in your life and the rest of it, including your writing, will fall back into place. Remember to take care of you! (((HUGS)))

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  13. I always find that time away from my novel makes it hard to dive back in. I know everyone is telling you to back off, give yourself time, but I'm going to tell you the opposite. Shut out the world and dive in. Force yourself to write for 15 minutes. Shut down the distractions and just do it for that amount of time. Set a timer and everything.
    It might seem silly, but it'll force you to get back in and when you're working again you'll be happy again.
    When you have a self imposed deadline like the one you've set it's easy to get overwhelmed and stuck. I think it's a combined fear of failure and fear of success. It's just easier to wallow and not get it done.
    Sit down and work on the book. 15 minutes tomorrow. 20 minutes the next. Bet you that by day three you're itching to get back to it.

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  14. I go through the same thing so often. I have the entire chapter planned out. I know just where I want it to go. Just what I want to say. But when it comes to saying it, I just freeze. I don't have the emotion that's required.

    I met someone wonderful and, like you, I feel that spending time with him is more important than writing. I work nights & he comes to see me at work. I do a lot of writing at work, and obviously, that's not been happening lately. I don't blame him for it at all...I want to spend as much time with him as humanly possible while we're still in that giddy "wow, you are awesome" phase of the relationship. But I feel that I should be making a more concerted effort to balance things more effectively.

    I wish I had some profound advice for you...a quick fix, at least. But I can truly empathize, because I'm going through much the same thing.

    May the muse be with you...or, at least, distantly trailing behind.

    Peace.

    -bex

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  15. Wow, it seems like a lot of people are going through this lately. I'm not even going to tell you how long it's been since I've worked on my book. I've just been reading a lot more and spending time with my family. But it looks like I'm going to have to buckle down and force myself to write something or I may never finish.

    *hugs* I hope things get better for you soon:)

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  16. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments and suggestions! I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling like this.

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