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Perks
03-18-2008, 12:48 AM
I've been struggling quite a bit lately with motivation. Thus far, I'm a spectacular failure at this calling and the shoulder-devil is working overtime, goading that if I'm going to waste my time, I might as well waste it doing easy things like reading for pleasure, napping and surfing youtube.

So, I'm working diligently these last few days, tackling it all head-on in what may be some sort of last desperate push for a sense of legitimacy.

I'm just down in the kitchen, making snacks for the children and cramming cheezits in my face like it's the second to the last box on Earth and I moan to the spawn (and a neighborhood kid who's been here since school let out but I don't know why) "My work is going so slowly!"

My oldest daughter shrugs. "Just write it down."

Someone call an ambulance, there's about to be an accident.

HeronW
03-18-2008, 12:56 AM
From the mouths of babes...course putting the spitup back in is so HARD!

She's right yanno. Put down everything, the bitchin' and moanin', the cheezit stains on your fingers, secret thoughts of selling said spawn to the gypsies--or paying them to be removed, get that out of the way and let the good stuff come out.

stormie
03-18-2008, 01:02 AM
Hey, that's my story!! Except it's not Cheez-its, it's Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies.

I called the ambulance, Perks. Should be there any year.

Seriously, yeah, I've been kind of in a funk with the writing lately, too. I thought I had this certain masterpiece polished nice and shiny and ready to go. A week later I reread it and.... Ugh. That did it. I had two boxes of Thin Mints. None left. I've only been able to write short poems along the lines of "You are you/ and I am me/ maybe for/ eternity."

So, how do we get out of a writing funk?

Meerkat
03-18-2008, 01:04 AM
Too bad you didn't have a tape recorder going Perks, so you could play it back for her the next time she has a report due in ten hours that she hasn't started until now, and the tears start, and you're somehow supposed to--oh, wait.... Wait, that's MY house.

Evil twins separated at birth you think?

Perks
03-18-2008, 01:12 AM
Evil twins separated at birth you think?Very possibly. I was far too big and uncomfortable for it to only have been one baby.

Birol
03-18-2008, 01:14 AM
So, how do we get out of a writing funk?

You just start writing. One word. One sentence. One paragraph. One page.

Really, it's as easy (and as hard) as that.

Perks
03-18-2008, 01:40 AM
You just start writing. One word. One sentence. One paragraph. One page.

Really, it's as easy (and as hard) as that.All true, and yet, it's the convincing that it's all not an outrageous waste of effort that's the speed bump. And a speed bump to an ant, is Everest.

Susan Breen
03-18-2008, 01:51 AM
I have had those Cheezit moments myself, but all I can tell you is that if the writing's important to you, you'll feel so guilty all the time you're doing that other stuff--watching TV or whatever--that it will just keep pushing you back to the computer. And the fact is that I am living proof that it is possible to look after kids, write a novel, get a great agent, get the novel published, and on Friday I will be interviewed by NPR. So, dreams can come true. Hang in there.

jenngreenleaf
03-18-2008, 02:00 AM
"Just write it down."Do you keep a journal? I found that, when I journal more often I'm far more productive. I have no idea if it's connected or not, but it's the only thing that really changes. Everytime I'm in a slump, my journal collects dust. This month, my journal has been open right next to me as I work just to be safe. LOL

Dale Emery
03-18-2008, 02:06 AM
All true, and yet, it's the convincing that it's all not an outrageous waste of effort that's the speed bump.

When you look at the past, at sessions where you wrote something, how do you distinguish the sessions that were worth the effort from the ones that were not? What factors make the difference for you?

Dale

czjaba
03-18-2008, 02:07 AM
Saturday afternoon, I settled down in my office with a cup of coffee and a couple of hours of writing, with Hubby watching the kids, when I hear, "Mommie!" I yelled back, "I've moved and changed my name!" This is quickly followed by my 3-year-old yelling, "Miss Bobbi, will you wipe my butt?"
And that's it. All thoughts are lost.

Oh, and then, just after wiping the 3-year-old's butt, my 6-year-old shows me her picture book that she just finished. It was a half stapled/half taped 5 page story of what her and her friends will do if she is allowed to have a sleepover. The pictures were so cute and the words did form complete sentences all beginning with We, but she completed it in a half day. Then she asks, "Where's yours?"

So, Perks, I understand exactly where you are coming from.

Perks
03-18-2008, 02:28 AM
When you look at the past, at sessions where you wrote something, how do you distinguish the sessions that were worth the effort from the ones that were not? What factors make the difference for you?

DaleI'd have to say confidence. When you first imagine that you've a talent for something, before all the rejections, it's a lighter-hearted thing, a hopeful thing, to sit down and tap it out.

I'm in the desert now and all I need to do to not be here is, well, not be here. It makes facing a stint in the office chair a bit of a chore.

Dale Emery
03-18-2008, 06:05 AM
When you first imagine that you've a talent for something, before all the rejections, it's a lighter-hearted thing, a hopeful thing, to sit down and tap it out.

I want to fiddle around with this scenario bit, to be sure I understand.

Scenario 1: You write for a few sessions and produce a story. The writing sessions are fun and inspiring; a complete delight. You send the story out for publication. After a dozen or so submissions, the story doesn't sell. Were those sessions worth it?

Scenario 2: You write for a few sessions and produce a story. During these sessions you experiment with a few techniques, and learn something interesting about your writing technique or your writing process. The story doesn't sell. Were those sessions worth it?

Scenario 3: You write for a few sessions and produce a story. During these sessions you come up with an interesting idea for a future story. The current story doesn't sell. Were those sessions worth it?

Scenario 4: You write for a few sessions and produce a story. The writing is a complete chore and you are miserable from start to finish. The story is accepted and published. Were those sessions worth it?

Dale

Perks
03-18-2008, 03:48 PM
It's not that I don't appreciate the neural development I get from writing. I do. I'm very much a nerd about that sort of thing. In fact, I'm reading a neuropsychology text for my next author interview. It's fascinating.

But if my writing is simply an exercise and exclusively for personal development, then I need to come to terms with that. And I can and I will. It's just this birth of a diarist has turned a bit breech. It's painful.

KTC
03-18-2008, 03:53 PM
My oldest daughter shrugs. "Just write it down."

Someone call an ambulance, there's about to be an accident.

#1 You forgot to italicize accident.

#2 "Just write it down" is a wonderful phrase. Don't knock it. This phrase tells you it's okay to write shit. That's what a writer needs to hear.

#3 If you're still reading this, you're not 'just writing it down'. Lock yourself into your writing with a promise not to leave it for say 1 hour. If that works, then promise yourself not to leave it for 2 hours. And so on and so on. Tiny steps will get you there. Eventually.

To recap: Never underestimate 'from the mouths of babes' and never underestimate the power of doing things by increments...tiny steps. Shut yourself off and write for an hour. If you're still reading this, you're a bad bad person.

KTC
03-18-2008, 03:56 PM
All true, and yet, it's the convincing that it's all not an outrageous waste of effort that's the speed bump. And a speed bump to an ant, is Everest.

Do you enjoy writing a sentence? If so, the rest is moot. Ants love to climb. They don't give a rat's ass about getting to the top of the mountain...with their eyes, it's not exactly something to see once they're up there. If a mountain is big to an ant, what the hell do you think the view would be to them? Impossible. The ant gets its joy from the climb, Perks. Write a goddamned sentence already. (-;

KTC
03-18-2008, 03:57 PM
**just trying my hand at tough love**

Perks
03-18-2008, 04:03 PM
If you're still reading this, you're a bad bad person.Well, duh.

Perks
03-18-2008, 04:03 PM
Write a goddamned sentence already. (-;The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy Perks.

StoryG27
03-18-2008, 04:06 PM
I think the reason you had an emotional reaction to her words, "Just write it down," is because it's true and you know it, but what she doesn't know, what elicited the emotion is the stress, pressure, and fear about just writing it down.

What if it sucks? What if you suck? What if you've wasted hours, weeks, years on developing a talent that really isn't a talent at all? What if just writing it down proves you are nothing more than a failure and a fraud?

Scary. I know.

But I think most writers go through this. I still haven't made it, don't know when I will. All I know is when I force myself to get back in the groove after such terrifying thoughts, I find out it's not so bad and I do believe I'll get to my goal someday. I once had a very successful author tell me (when I was in my funk) that the only difference between success and failure is giving up. I keep that in mind now. Am I ready to give up? Nope not yet, and that means I write, even if I suck, I write. And I'll continue to write until I make it, or until I realize I don't care to try anymore.

Perks, we're all here for you. Many of us have been where you are. Just hang in there, and uh, could you pass the crackers? I could use some too. ;)

jst5150
03-18-2008, 04:09 PM
Jamie, there's also the chance that writing may not be what you want to do. Your mind and body are reacting as such. Or that you went through a phase where you wanted to write and now you don't. And that's OK, too.

I remember in high school wanting to go out with this fantastic surf chick who lived three blocks over named Aurora (really -- that was her name). She was Greek, tall, tan and nearby. And I tried so hard. Trying. Trying. Nothing worked. Then my buddy who attracted women simply by stepping out of his truck said, "Stop trying so hard. Don't do anything. Just be in the room."

Well, I never dated Aurora. I did date others afterward. And mostly, it was because I didn't try so hard; I didn't force it. I've applied that to other things. It doesn't mean don't be passionate or in the moment or excited about doing it. Rather, if you're trying so hard to get there, you may not have wanted to be there in the first place. :)

Don't force it. Either it works or it doesn't.

Perks
03-18-2008, 04:10 PM
Perks, we're all here for you. Many of us have been where you are. Just hang in there, and uh, could you pass the crackers? I could use some too. ;)

Once you start, you can't stop. Then you're left full-up to the voicebox with foamy, half-digested cheese crackers. They expand. They ruin your appetite for days.

I think they're from the Devil.

But thanks, Madame. I appreciate the peptalk and, yeah, that's about where I am just now. I have been very productive the last few days. So, I am doing it, it's just a crisis in confidence is all.

That and I really, really want to lay around all day reading good novels and napping and not eating Cheezits.

Perks
03-18-2008, 04:19 PM
Don't force it. Either it works or it doesn't.Thanks Jason. I understand completely what you're saying and know that it can be valuable advice.

I think in my case, though, I'm a little bit too quick and easy with the 'don't want to right now'. Some people need to free their moods and lose the stress. I think, for me, I need to put a bridle on my whims. I blow with the wind too much in my work ethic.

poetinahat
03-18-2008, 04:20 PM
Some boneheads pick any stupid idea they can find and just put them down. Say, for example, "a boy and his taco" or "cross-dressing, banjo-playing Mary Kay salesman with compulsions for sports gambling and omelets".

At least it keeps the notebook people in business.

You have schools of words that just taunt you now by swimming in elusive, but beautiful, formation, then slipping through the net. I, on the other hand, am stuck at the end of a clumsy metaphor.

Anyway, I know you'll land the big catch. Until then, I'm spending up big on tartar sauce.

Perks
03-18-2008, 04:22 PM
Some boneheads pick any stupid idea they can find and just put them down. Say, for example, "a boy and his taco" You know what? I haven't even finished your post and I had to stop to reply. I'm coming over there and kicking your ass for the above line.

Apologize immediately.

Perks
03-18-2008, 04:27 PM
Anyway, I don't really mean for this to a 'tell Perks she can do it' thread. I am interested in how people see themselves through the crisis-of-confidence periods.

There's part of me that knows full well that I may never get anything published. There are loads of options at the end of that likelihood. I'm just sorting through them. And I like to hear what everyone else does about it.

KTC
03-18-2008, 04:28 PM
J, I just thought of some real--actual helpful--advice. I get up at 4am to write. From 4-5:30ish I am in a zone and nobody is around and I am writing. Not visiting AW, not painting, not eating, not reading, not driving, not parenting, not working. I am writing. That time is sacred to me. To lose that much sleep every day, there is a price. But to me what I get out of it is worth the price. When you get up at 4am, that time is considered more valuable to you. You use it wisely and you don't waste it. Maybe you should try getting out of bed say 1/2 an hour earlier than you normally would and devote that 1/2 hour to writing. It's amazing how quickly you get into the routine and how much you value that time when you would be sleeping. For me, the getting up is the reason for not wasting the time on things more frivolous.


ETA: I can waste all the time I want throughout my day...for an hour to an hour and a half, I write like mad.

Perks
03-18-2008, 04:31 PM
Jesus Kevin, you're trying to kill me.

But you've hit on something. It's not that I don't have time. I've got loads of time. But I do need to cut out the distractions. I'm thinking I should take my laptop somewhere where I can get internet for a stretch.

That's a thought...

Perks
03-18-2008, 04:36 PM
But I do need to cut out the distractions. I'm thinking I should take my laptop somewhere where I can get internet for a stretch.

Actually, I realize that's a sad statement. I don't need to run away from my office -- what I need is a little self-discipline.

Stew21
03-18-2008, 04:40 PM
I struggle with the discipline sometimes too, Perks. And occasionally I fall into the "only when inspired" thing which is most annoying.
for me, setting aside time is a good way to go. Being insomniac helps. I get most writing done in the quiet hours when everyone else in the house is asleep.

Meerkat
03-18-2008, 04:44 PM
Can't we all just get back to blaming her daughter?

StoryG27
03-18-2008, 04:50 PM
Well, can we blame my daughter too. . .And my son? Oh, I have a boss we could throw in the mix.

Perks
03-18-2008, 04:56 PM
Can't we all just get back to blaming her daughter?I like that idea. It's all Pie's fault.

Dale Emery
03-19-2008, 04:49 AM
Actually, I realize that's a sad statement. I don't need to run away from my office -- what I need is a little self-discipline.

If running away from your office helps, use it.

18 months ago I bought an AlphaSmart Neo. It's keyboard thingie with a small screen and a word-processor. It has two enormous limitations: It doesn't do anything but word-processing, and the screen is so small that it makes editing hard.

It turns out that those two limitations are exactly what I need. If I take it to a coffee shop, I can't surf the net with it, so I write. And I can't edit (easily) with it, so it nudges me out of my "write a paragraph and revise it to death before moving on" habit.

I got no stinking discipline, so I'll take every trick I can think of to rid myself of distractions.

Dale

KTC
03-19-2008, 06:59 AM
My Starbucks has outlets at every table. You're welcome to take a table...just don't talk to me. I can feel the distraction already.

SpookyWriter
03-20-2008, 05:01 AM
I've been struggling quite a bit lately with motivation. Thus far, I'm a spectacular failure at this calling and the shoulder-devil is working overtime, goading that if I'm going to waste my time, I might as well waste it doing easy things like reading for pleasure, napping and surfing youtube.

So, I'm working diligently these last few days, tackling it all head-on in what may be some sort of last desperate push for a sense of legitimacy.

I'm just down in the kitchen, making snacks for the children and cramming cheezits in my face like it's the second to the last box on Earth and I moan to the spawn (and a neighborhood kid who's been here since school let out but I don't know why) "My work is going so slowly!"

My oldest daughter shrugs. "Just write it down."

Someone call an ambulance, there's about to be an accident.Jezzzit woman! This is a fine piece of writing. I have no clue why you all doubts and mourning the short passing as a writer. I've said too many times that you have a inert talent for writing and keeping the reader interested.

You have no cause for this melon-cally mood. Practice, writer, and practice until it hurts. Submit and get rejected. Think of this exercise as "male dating" in Amerika. You are the essense of your own abilities and I can't imagine it's just a swarmy-dream.

Now please, stop feeling sorry for yourself and just get out the do and do it!

Like Nike.

Jon

Perks
03-20-2008, 05:05 AM
you have a inert talent for writing Lol! Let's hope this is very true and that it's a simple physics problem I've got.

I do very much appreciate your cheerleading and you're very kind. I'm working, for what it's worth, but I do get the attacks from time to time. The luxury of failure is very much a luxury, but occasionally, it itches.

SpookyWriter
03-20-2008, 07:38 AM
Lol! Let's hope this is very true and that it's a simple physics problem I've got.

I do very much appreciate your cheerleading and you're very kind. I'm working, for what it's worth, but I do get the attacks from time to time. The luxury of failure is very much a luxury, but occasionally, it itches.I,as many folks in this lonely craft, have the same attacks. Some are caused by fleas, others are brought on by blight or pestilence, and yet we sometimes have our own imagined critters who gnaw on our perspectives. I don't see these as your fraught.

Bottom line, Perks, is that you are a fine writer, a good (if not better) word-smith than most, and I'd hate to see you give up so easily. Publish at sixty-five isn't a detriment nor is it a shame. What does youth and ability have to offer if the writings of a troubled mind is naught?

Angel_Lorena26
03-20-2008, 11:19 AM
God do I know what you mean I work on it but ...................for moments at a time. I make excuses like working every day, school and having to do reasearch paper. I try doing it on my computer but then I hear youtube calling me and before you know it it is morning and I have to go to sleep. I keep on thinking I have to make a schedule out to even out my time between the three but........................havent done it yet.

Namatu
03-20-2008, 06:05 PM
I, too, lack self-discipline when it comes to writing. I'm disciplined as hell in practically every other way, but very good with the writing avoidance. Yet there's nothing that makes me happier. I'm one of those people who needs to de-stress a little before jumping back into the novel fray, and I tend to get particularly inspired when my days are particularly crunched (the two contradict one another, yes; my mind is not rational).

Sometimes my writing aversion stems from a problem in the story itself. If something's not working and I've been trying to ignore it, it throws up a mental block and won't let me pass until I realize it and fix it. Eventually, I drag myself back in front of the computer. That's been my current problem and "eventually" is nigh.

Good luck, Perks! Maybe a reward system? One hour of writing = 20 Cheezits.

III
03-20-2008, 06:22 PM
I go days or weeks without writing until I've got enough guilt built up to move the turbines. Then I take a week and go to Starbucks (and don't pay for internet connection or I'd be hosed) every night from like 8 - 10 and usually meet a friend there to keep accountable.

By the end of that week, I'm excited about writing again and can get back into a productive pattern. But you gotta get away for a while to get jump-started and excited again. Go to a park by yourself or someplace without kids or the internet. You'll be fine.

But now I'm dying to hear what happened to the boy and his tacos!

Meerkat
03-20-2008, 06:29 PM
Stop it, all of you! Your tales of "waking up early to write" and "moving from Starbucks to Starbucks for the internet connection" are making those of us with time, connection, thermostat set correctly, who HAVE NO EXCUSE for the blank page feel even terribuller.....teribler....terrier-like... worser!

Perks
03-20-2008, 07:14 PM
But now I'm dying to hear what happened to the boy and his tacos!You'd have to ask Poetinahat about that. It's well worth it.

Because III is lost, may I submit, A Boy And His Taco (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26466), by Poetinahat.

Password is 'citrus'

Shadow_Ferret
03-20-2008, 07:26 PM
Anyway, I don't really mean for this to a 'tell Perks she can do it' thread. I am interested in how people see themselves through the crisis-of-confidence periods.

There's part of me that knows full well that I may never get anything published. There are loads of options at the end of that likelihood. I'm just sorting through them. And I like to hear what everyone else does about it.
Me. I'm quitting. I haven't written anything in a couple of months. I have no motivation to write anything new or even to edit what I've already written. I'm tired of rejections and worrying that I'm just not good enough.

So please, don't go by me. Find solice in someone else's advice.

dreamsofnever
03-20-2008, 07:47 PM
Hi Perks. Just wanted to weigh in with what I did to make it over my own crisis of confidence. It seemed to help a lot, though it's still a process and some days it's a struggle.

Basically, I tried the method of writing for a certain amount of time every day and I really didn't get anywhere in some of the sessions. I would get distracted by anything and everything and I just wouldn't get much writing done.

So what I do now is that I've set a target word count for the day. It works pretty well because I hold myself accountable to making it every day if possible. Granted, some days I still don't make it but I usually feel extremely guilty if I don't and I miss it if I don't write enough now that I've gotten into the habit.

On the flip side, I'm basically taking the approach to my first draft that whatever I put down can't be deleted until it's time to edit (which won't come until I'm fully done) This cuts down on my inner editor naysaying me the whole way because I've locked him in a closet until it comes time to edit.

Some days are easier than others to write something I feel good about, but a lot of days I get that 'just started writing' elation because for right now, I'm just writing to get the story out. I'll worry about form, style, etc, later.

I hope this helps a bit. I know diferent methods work for everyone and sometimes it just takes motivating yourself to try a few different methods until you get the right one. Good luck!

Perks
03-20-2008, 08:39 PM
I hope this helps a bit. I know diferent methods work for everyone and sometimes it just takes motivating yourself to try a few different methods until you get the right one. Good luck!Actually it does help. I've been operating on a word count per day basis for the last few days and have managed to write two chapters.

My word count is lower because I do edit as I go along, but that's just what works best for me.

Thank you for the confirmation!

Perks
03-20-2008, 08:40 PM
Me. I'm quitting. I haven't written anything in a couple of months. I have no motivation to write anything new or even to edit what I've already written. I'm tired of rejections and worrying that I'm just not good enough.

So please, don't go by me. Find solice in someone else's advice.I'm sorry, Ed. I don't know what to say. I may join you on the bench someday. we shall see. Or, we may both end up satisfied with our writing accomplishments.

Namatu
03-20-2008, 09:39 PM
Hey, being on the bench doesn't mean you can't ever get back off of it. <looks down at the bench she's sitting on> Right?

Shadow_Ferret
03-20-2008, 09:46 PM
Hey, being on the bench doesn't mean you can't ever get back off of it. <looks down at the bench she's sitting on> Right?
Right. I've sat on the bench several times in my life. Sometimes its for a few months, other times it was several years. Eventually you forget the pain and frustration and the itch gets too much and you return. It's a disease. One without a cure. It just goes into remission at times, but it always seems to come back.