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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » No progress

   
Author Topic: No progress
TheUbiquitousMrLovegrove
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I was doing really well for a while. I was writing every day. I was studying books about good writing and learning new ways to improve my writing.

Then I took a break, I'd been working hard, I'd been producing stories, and I felt I needed it.

Now I've come back and I can not make any progress. My short story ideas seem dull and lifeless, or I begin to write one and I just don't believe in it. My novel has been plotted out to a middle point and from there, I have no clue where to take it. I wonder if I should sit down and try to write out the chapters up to the point at which I'm stuck, or just give it time?

I'm just not making any progress and I don't know why and it makes me angry because I'm wasting so much time. I sit down to write or to work on ideas and I draw a blank. I don't even feel like a good writer anymore.

Any advice?



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Shasta
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Force yourself to write something. Even if it's garbage... write anyway. Pick a time and do it, no matter what.

Writing is sometimes like playing the fiddle. You think you're ahead, so you take a break and when you come back, you feel like you're starting over from scratch and ponder the use of the bow once more. But, with practice, the fingers will remember their way and the brain begins to create again.

Practice, practice, practice... not just a good idea.


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Survivor
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Don't worry about vision, you can't force it.

Just worry about writing. Write up anything, even something that's completely pointless. You'll be surprised at how the act of composing language inspires you with vision...and if it doesn't, then you can take comfort in the fact that at least you're writing something.

Well, those were comforting words, weren't they?


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srhowen
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write write write write write write write write write write--well you get it. There are days that I have sat down and described my monitor---

A writer writes!

As far as your plot goes--write to that point and by then you will most likely be inspired to write more.

Set a goal for each day. At this time I will write. Set how much you will write not an amount of time spent in front of the computer. For me that's 5 pages or 1250 words. NO matter what and even if I delet all of it the next day.

Just do it.

Shawn


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Hanrod Brightstar
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Are there any other powerful forces in your life that might be interfering? I like to write in the morning because the trials of the day haven't yet taken their toll on my state of mind. I find it helps to make sure that all my bills are paid and other chores done, too.
Also, sometimes you can't force it. Just say "stuff it" and go do something else like washing the dishes (actually, I find sitting on the can helps, as does being in the bathroom in general. Maybe those hard tiles reflect energy or creativity?). Sometimes you can try too hard. If you take a break you might find your interest rekindling itself in a few weeks or so. It's marvelous what progress you can make when you don't feel you HAVE to.

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LanceFardreamer
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Write what you can based on your plot so far. My best and longest-lived story (burning dawn), worked on for two years in its earliest forms, started just like yours is. I had little idea of where I was going. So, I wrote a starting paragraph (about the president receiving news of war). From there, it took off on its own. Sometimes, I didn't know where to turn next. So, I just wrote another page or two of seemingly unrelated stuff, which soon became the vast conspiracy of the terrorist Elementals against the rest of the universe. Then I introduced bodiless aliens from an 'alternate universe'. They lived in the Upspace, which is thousands of planes above ours in the universe. After I worked with that for a while, I had grown to be a much better writer. So, that story (titled at that time 'Of Rebellion and Renitence') was all but cast aside. That is, after I examined it for what I wanted to keep in my new plot: Burning Dawn. That one is on the Stories page here. Just try it. Write what looks like trash for a story and it'll grow on you, then warp it for your second draft. It goes beyond recognition; the only way you could connect mine are by the characters and the factions.

Tell me if it works.


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Hanrod Brightstar
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Also, these days I don't write anything that isn't complete. If I get a good idea I don't write it down, rather I let it germinate in my head. I start writing when the general story is in place and already fleshed out a bit.
I found that when I immediately started to write after having an idea that the story went nowhere and I soon lost interest. Good stories keep you interested as a reader, and the same applies if you're a writer.
When you first start writing you can write something everyday. It might go nowhere, but the practice is priceless. As you get better at it, though, I reckon it's more productive to get things right in your mind first. That way, if the story is worth telling, you will find you can continue until it is done (good stories become compelling).
Whenever the I lose interest or find I cannot easily continue I usually decide that the story is wrong in some way and I think of a way to fix it.
And as you become more experienced you might find that you a) feel more pressure to produce like you used to, and, b) find your output decreases. These things aren't necessarily bad. Often they mean that you are on the virge of "stepping up" to a higher quality level, but one or more of your skills isn't quite there yet.
Hope this helps?

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WillC
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Well, wasn't it here on one of the Writing Classes OSC suggested to combine ideas? That could add new life to a stagnant start. I know. I have 30 story starts on disk with only 5 of them complete. I have a list of what was once good thoughts for a new tale of, well, I guess it's up to nearly 200 now. It just means write. Do it or die, I suppose.
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JK
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My piece of advice? Write to where you think you'll know, and where to go next will seem natural. I left my novel alone after ten chapters for a month or so before coming back to it, and only knew one or two things about where it was going. So I wrote it. Things sort of seemed like the way to go from there.
Sometimes I try doodling to stimulate my creative brain. Sometimes you'll draw rubbish and an epiphany will strike you. Sometimes you'll draw rubbish. But mostly, a shape here or there can be turned into something useful, which fuels an idea. It could be a frond of a palm tree where your hero goes next. Who knows?
By the way, Hanrod, being in the bathroom? One of the more bizarre creative exercises I've heard. Anything's worth a shot, though.
A writer writes. (But he can doodle too).
JK

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star
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Write! Write! Write anything that comes to mind, even if you don't think it will fit into your novel. Sometimes you get surprised and it all falls into place. When I write, I don't go over the idea, or plot for days on end. I sit down and place my fingers on the keys and just start. Things normally will fall into place. You might find that something you've written will take on a life of its own, and your novel begins to flow.
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