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Freckles
01-09-2007, 10:34 PM
Does anyone have an intense fear that their writing ability is vanishing? Lately, the ideas for my weekly column haven't been coming as easily and I get the feeling I'm losing my touch.

Or is this just an irrational feel all writers have? :(

stormie
01-09-2007, 10:39 PM
It happens to me from time to time, and I have to step back and away from writing for a few days. Right now I have the luxury to do that, if need be. Since you have a weekly column, maybe you can take just one day free from anything to do with writing. But yeah, it happens.

Toothpaste
01-09-2007, 10:42 PM
Not to highjack this thread, but I've been going through that right now, and I really don't know how to solve the problem. People say to take a step back, but I have, I haven't really written for 2 weeks. I have a due date looming (I mean it's 5 months away but I have practically a whole novel to write). Any other advice?

engmajor2005
01-09-2007, 10:42 PM
Everybody, regardless of occupation, has slumps. You might want to take a break from writing, but if you're afraid that will make it even harder to get back into the game then you could always warm up with a prompt or writing excercise.

Southern_girl29
01-09-2007, 10:44 PM
Yes. I went three years without writing anything, except for the articles I wrote for work. I probably would have started back a lot sooner than I did, if it hadn't been for a fear that I had lost all that I knew and wouldn't be any good. The thing is, once I started writing, I realized that it comes back pretty quickly once you start and practice.

When I feel like that, I tend to write something just for the fun of it, not anything I tend to try to publish. Nine times out of 10, I find that my "fun" stuff has turned into a pretty good story.

PeeDee
01-09-2007, 10:48 PM
Walk away for a bit? Or write something else?

Sometimes, I have stories where I don't feel like I've caught my rhythm or my tone properly. Usually, I have. The trick is to trust that even with how unhappy you may be about it, to believe that other parts of you know what they're doing better.

aka eraser
01-09-2007, 10:51 PM
I've never doubted my ability and short of a catastrophic illness or accident, I trust I never will. I'm lazy though, and like most of us, excel at procrastination. The idea well occasionally comes up dry which can be a concern but given time, it eventually burbles back up.

Toothpaste, we live in the same neck of the woods, more or less. If I were you I'd take advantage of this near spring-like weather and go for a walk. (Maybe not today or tomorrow, but Thursday and Friday look good.) Doesn't matter where - a nature trail or downtown TO. Take along a small notebook and a pencil, just in case. Repeat as often as necessary until the pencil and notebook conjoin.

Before you know it, you'll be hurrying back to your computer.

rugcat
01-09-2007, 11:10 PM
Does anyone have an intense fear that their writing ability is vanishing?Every time I finish something I'm convinced I will never have another idea worth writing, and if I do, i won't be able to pull it off.

aadams73
01-09-2007, 11:42 PM
Freckles, you had a killer successful year last year and you're starting this one out the same way. Could it be that somewhere inside you're afraid of not matching and exceeding that success?

I know you can do it :)

Stew21
01-09-2007, 11:46 PM
from my experience: Every now and then I feel like I'm losing footing on a story, or I go through dry spells with poetry where I'm not producing anything. It always comes back. sometimes through a great deal of angst that only makes it worse, sometimes I realize the hold-up, something in the story that isn't meshing or sent me the wrong direction and once I get a grip on the "why" I can usually get right back to the writing.
it always comes back. When I go through fantastic manic spells of writing I am always afraid of the "come down", it always happens but the amount of time in the "downtime" has gotten significantly less each time.
I have to tell myself often to write through it, and now have set a goal for myself to force me to do just that.

Carrie in PA
01-09-2007, 11:47 PM
Does anyone have an intense fear that their writing ability is vanishing? Lately, the ideas for my weekly column haven't been coming as easily and I get the feeling I'm losing my touch.

Happens all the time. Hell, right this minute I feel like my ability to be a reasonable human being is vanishing.

It ebbs and flows. With my column, sometimes I hit a stride where I have seemingly endless ideas. And other times, I'm sweating it, my fingers hovered over the keyboard, and it's due in a couple of hours.

It'll come back. :)

MidnightMuse
01-10-2007, 12:25 AM
Different strokes and all - but I find if I'm feeling like that, it's best for me to just calm down, do something else for a couple of days and not worry one bit about it, then suddenly my inspiration comes rushing back and I'm on the road with another story.

If I panic and think I'll never have another plot idea in my life, then I do panic. Only cure is to calm down and step aside, cut up rocks and daydream about other things.
:)

johnzakour
01-10-2007, 12:49 AM
Does anyone have an intense fear that their writing ability is vanishing? Lately, the ideas for my weekly column haven't been coming as easily and I get the feeling I'm losing my touch.

Or is this just an irrational feel all writers have? :(

I always think every book will be my last but as I'll run dry, but so far it hasn't happened. I doubt it will happen to you also.

We all go through ups and downs and long as there are more ups (or the ups are steeper) you'll be fine.

Celia Cyanide
01-10-2007, 12:51 AM
I would have to have some sort of footing to slip from. So, no...

victoriastrauss
01-10-2007, 01:41 AM
Does anyone have an intense fear that their writing ability is vanishing? Lately, the ideas for my weekly column haven't been coming as easily and I get the feeling I'm losing my touch.

Or is this just an irrational feel all writers have? :(About ten years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, one of the symptoms of which is clouded thinking, a kind of general intellectual dullness; for me this manifested mostly in my writing. I was able to write, but I just couldn't get it right; I knew I was turning out crap but couldn't figure out how to fix it. I really thought my writing ability had somehow just disappeared.

Once I got on thyroid medication everything was fine, though I had to throw out a large chunk of the novel I was working on. But ever since, whenever I have a bad day or get stuck on something, I have sort of a flashback to that time. I know it's irrational; writing ability doesn't just vanish, and whatever is wrong is due to sickness, something weird in my life, writing myself into corners--something that will change or can be fixed. Even so--and even though I always do manage to work through whatever it is that's screwing me up--I still have that irrational dread. I think something in me figures that even though it's always worked out OK so far, one day it won't.

Anyway, I think this kind of thing probably has a lot to do with temperament. I'm sure many writers experience it, but I'll bet there are also a lot of writers who don't. If you are inclined to experience it, it's just one more thing you have to trust that you can work through.

- Victoria

PeeDee
01-10-2007, 01:46 AM
Terror that you're going to lose your abilty to write is very common, I think. not just the general feeling that you're slipping. I know a lot of writers (myself included, honestly) who tend to look at life changes and have the immediate and mostly involuntarily reaction that This Change Will Stop Me Writing.

It was my second thought when I realized I was going to be a father this summer. It still crosses my mind. I can rationally say that nothing else has stopped me yet, but there's still a treachorous part of my mind going what if what if what if what if... into the night.

Mostly, you just keep going. Put boots on and get ready to kick anything that stops you. And then keep going some more.

pink lily
01-10-2007, 02:16 AM
Does anyone have an intense fear that their writing ability is vanishing? Lately, the ideas for my weekly column haven't been coming as easily and I get the feeling I'm losing my touch.

Or is this just an irrational feel all writers have? :(
Before my doctors found the proper meds for me, I was much more prolific, especially in writing lyrics and poems. They'd just hit me, and I'd write them down. But those days are few and far between, now.

Writing underdeadline or for an assignment is much harder. Perhaps it's the pressure. Back in the 90s, when I was taking writing courses at a local college, I found it easier to write "for myself" than to write for homework.

I've had a column for 9 months, but haven't been able to meet deadline or submit updates. I've been on hiatus since October. I'm making a drastic change this year that ought to help: the column had been anonymous, but I've decided to begin using my name. This should free me up to be more forthright. We'll see. I'm supposed to be editing my big "reveal" piece right now, not posting on AW!

I don't feel that my ability has diminished. I think my standards are higher now. But I do feel a need to be "in my zone." I need some spark or inspiration, something to set me off and get me going.

Being here on AW (for a week!) has helped me put things into perspective. Being surrounded by writers makes me want to do a better job.

Don't be dismayed if you can't find your muse. Try working on another project for a while. Maybe you're more critical of yourself now than you were in the beginning. You'll get back to it soon.

And I'll get back to editing now. I promise!

PeeDee
01-10-2007, 02:21 AM
I should add that having standards for your writing is a royal pain in the backside. Good lord. I wrote so much faster before I expected things from what I produced.

Freckles
01-10-2007, 04:25 AM
PeeDee, are you suggesting I have no expectations for myself?

PeeDee
01-10-2007, 04:31 AM
Nope. I was crustily grumbling that I wrote faster when I expected nothing (or was unconscious about my expectations, probably) from my writing. That's as far as it went.

Toothpaste
01-10-2007, 04:45 AM
PeeDee thank you. That's exactly it. I've never written to a proper deadline aside from university before. I think that's what is going on. Instead of writing for me, I'm writing because I have to. Seems so obvious. Thanks!

Now I have to figure out how to write for me again. Sigh.

PeeDee
01-10-2007, 04:49 AM
PeeDee thank you. That's exactly it. I've never written to a proper deadline aside from university before. I think that's what is going on. Instead of writing for me, I'm writing because I have to. Seems so obvious. Thanks!

Now I have to figure out how to write for me again. Sigh.

That's why they pay me five bucks a month and all the shoelaces I can eat. :)

jodiodi
01-10-2007, 05:44 AM
I don't necessarily feel like I'm slipping; just realizing I never had a peak to slip from. Good luck.