Need Help (and a Hug!)

SolaceAlpha1

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Oops i just saw how old this thread is, but nonetheless....
I'm feeling pretty down about writing. I cant seem to find a really good idea that i yen to write, for the love of writing alone.
Im not sure what my block is. Maybe because even if it is unlikely, the idea of sharing writing that no one else likes is freaky. If i write and put in my best effort, i want to give it back to the world eventually, if that makes sense.
So if i never do, i never fail. Some psychology like that. Its like a brick wall as a block though. I cant even figure out a writing prompt. I just brainstormed a plot, and the the stuffing was sucked out of me like "i cant im not good enough to pull it off, id fail."
:( anyone having similar troubles and know anything that helps this ailment?
 

The Judge

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Hello and welcome to the Chrons, Solace!

For anyone confused by Solace's opening line, this post was originally in hopewrites' Need a Hug thread in the Lounge, but I thought the issue involved was one which would get more response if it was here in Writing Discussion, so I've carried it across -- but hugs fo Solace probably won't go amiss, too!

Solace, I imagine that most, if not all, of the writers here on Chrons have had similar "I'm useless/I can't show this cr*p work to anyone" thoughts and a good many of us also have the perfectionist tendency which fears failure so much that it's safer not even to attempt something -- in fact, @Dan Jones raised this very issue in the latest Chronscast Chroncast Season 1 Episode 6 - House Of Leaves with Ed Wilson

It's a battle between your wish-to-write self and your loud-carping-critiquing self, and like all battles it's imperative to keep fighting, because losing isn't an option. The polite version of waging the battle is to treat yourself as you would treat a best friend -- offer yourself reassurance and bolster your sense of self-worth -- whatever you would say to a friend in this situation, say it to yourself and make yourself believe it. The rude version is to tell your Mr/Ms Inner Critic to f*ck off, and really mean it!

As for inspiration, we have Writing Challenges here. To my knowledge the stories provided have led to two serials in a magazine, one novel and one novel series, and there may well be more that I've missed, and as importantly they've given a lot of enjoyment to a lot of members -- it's writing just for the sheer fun of it, without any expectation or pressure or need to be perfect. (But on the other hand, there's also the opportunity to put work up in a couple of Improving threads so that one can get feedback if it's wanted.) The current 75 worder is here JUNE 2022 -- 75 Word Writing Challenge -- READ FIRST POST! (also have a look at the Discussion thread) and there will be a 300 worder at the beginning of July, but meanwhile you could look through some of the old Challenges to get an idea of what's involved.

In any event, stop thinking about writing for others. We should always write primarily for ourselves, and for the sheer joy of writing and creating new characters. So stop worrying and just write!

And have a virtual Hug!
 

DLCroix

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Reading is also important, it is the 50% that forms a writer, the oars of the boat. This, however, is a principle that many aspiring writers olympically skip but it is essential to analyze how other authors write their stories both grammatically and syntactically and to have an idea about the treatment they give to their arguments, how they organize the plots and, above all, what the different writing styles are like. In other words, you also have to read critically and attentively and, of course, not only what you like. You have to try to read everything. In fact, bad books are the best writing manual precisely to learn what NOT to do. :ninja:
 

M. Robert Gibson

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Further to the challenges mentioned by The Judge, there is also the 100 word anonymous challenge currently underway (albeit with only 5 days left to enter) So maybe try entering just to get your creative juices flowing.
The nice thing about this place is that no one will laugh at your efforts, which is a shame for me because I try to be humorous in most of my entries ;)
 

sule

"What I do is me: for that I came."
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I think your experience is very relatable. I, for one, have had the same kinds of self-doubt and unwillingness to share my writing with the rest of the world because it might not be very good.

My current solution to that problem is writing flash stories (500 words or fewer). The important caveat I give myself is that I can't put any expectations on what I'm about to write: it doesn't have to be "good," it doesn't have to be something I need to revise later, or something I have to share eventually. It just has to exist. As far as prompts go, I've been reading poetry until I find a line that piques my interest; that becomes the title, then I look through a book of baby names until I find a name or two for characters. Then I write whatever comes to mind. It's been a little freeing, to write small stories that don't need to do anything other than be; I would say that, currently, when I read them a few days later I'm finding probably one out of every three or four stories is something I think has promise. One day, I may reread one that I'm ready to revise into something longer (I haven't gotten there yet, though!).

To echo what's already been said: keep fighting and keep writing. Don't burden yourself with expectations of quality. Terry Pratchett said, "The first draft is just you telling yourself a story." (or something to that effect) So tell yourself a story, and find your own way to enjoy your writing. Oh, and here's a virtual hug if you want it.
 

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
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576
Oops i just saw how old this thread is, but nonetheless....
I'm feeling pretty down about writing. I cant seem to find a really good idea that i yen to write, for the love of writing alone.
Im not sure what my block is. Maybe because even if it is unlikely, the idea of sharing writing that no one else likes is freaky. If i write and put in my best effort, i want to give it back to the world eventually, if that makes sense.
So if i never do, i never fail. Some psychology like that. Its like a brick wall as a block though. I cant even figure out a writing prompt. I just brainstormed a plot, and the the stuffing was sucked out of me like "i cant im not good enough to pull it off, id fail."
:( anyone having similar troubles and know anything that helps this ailment?

In my worries about getting good, people raised concerns that I was destroying the fun. I just looked for an old fanfiction of mine that is literally titled "Self Insert Authoress Tripe" and it has 32 reviews.

I think what might help is just to write something intentionally stupid just to get your fingers moving. Do you like Sherlock Holmes? Write a bodyswap episode. Make your own characters go through the plot of a Spongebob Squarepants episode.
 

The Judge

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With apologies for taking the thread off-topic for a moment, I've just noticed sule's custom title (the wording under the avatar) and wanted to bring it to everyone's attention -- it's a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins' lovely poem, As Kingfishers Catch Fire. It's an affirmation that what "each mortal thing" (animate and inanimate) does is integral to its being, an expression of its true nature -- "myself it speaks and spells".

And perhaps it's not so much off-topic at that, for when we're doubting ourselves and our writing, we ought to remember that we are unique, our work is an integral part of us -- speaking and spelling out our in-ness, so is an expression of who we are, and remember also that we are all pieces of star dust, just a little lower than angels, so we should stop beating ourselves up over our writing!
 

M. Robert Gibson

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I've just noticed sule's custom title (the wording under the avatar)
As time goes on, people change their custom title, so here is the quote for future generations
"What I do is me: for that I came."

Just in case sule's custom title changes in the future to something like "bippety-boppity-boo" :p (Unless GMH also wrote that ;))
 

sknox

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I'm wondering, from any of you folk who have these misgivings, can you describe exactly how this catastrophe you fear plays out?

That is, let's say you write something, doesn't matter length, form, etc. Now it's done. How do you "give it back to the world"? Do you mean submit it to a journal or publisher? Do you mean self-publish? Do you mean show it to a friend?

The process of failure matters here. Sometimes when we fear something, that something looms large because it lacks shape and substance. It's just generalized fear. Getting more specific is to shine a light under the bed, flip on the light and open the closet.

To put it another way, it's one thing to say I fear failure. Sure, we all do. But it's quite another to say something like, if I self-publish this, what if I get only negative reviews? Or what if I get no reviews at all? If I submit to a publisher, what if they reject it?

If I get specific, I can start to answer those questions.
 

Astro Pen

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Try just blasting out a stream of consciousness. Throw thoughts and random connections together, and out of that dream like assemblage of apparent 'madness' ideas and beautiful lines can come. No one will see it, so you can 'let go' completely and see what emerges.
I'll PM you one of my own so you can get the feel of it.

Try getting hold of a set of Brian Ono's Oblique strategies cards. They have helped a lot of people.
ps Just checked the price. - I can't afford 'em. lol

 
Last edited:

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
We all have it. I once told my writing group I didn’t feel I had an original idea in my head, and nearly finished them off with laughter.
what do you think matters so much to you about writing that it feels so big and scary?
 

Bramandin

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We all have it. I once told my writing group I didn’t feel I had an original idea in my head, and nearly finished them off with laughter.
what do you think matters so much to you about writing that it feels so big and scary?

What's so important about originality, anyway? Granted people don't want to see something that's been overdone, but shouldn't it be a little bit familiar? Or is it just with scripts, where you actually want to say it's a mashup of stories that everyone knows? I can't remember what video it was, possibly a Sanderson lecture, but he was talking about the Lost Roman Legion with Pokemon or a standard heist plot in a fantasy with elements of My Fair Lady.

Granted, I have no idea where my latest idea has been done before.
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
What's so important about originality, anyway? Granted people don't want to see something that's been overdone, but shouldn't it be a little bit familiar? Or is it just with scripts, where you actually want to say it's a mashup of stories that everyone knows? I can't remember what video it was, possibly a Sanderson lecture, but he was talking about the Lost Roman Legion with Pokemon or a standard heist plot in a fantasy with elements of My Fair Lady.

Granted, I have no idea where my latest idea has been done before.
Well, that's the thing, isn't it? We all have different things that we like to see ourselves as being. My first project wasn't hugely original in terms of its base ideas, although I like what I did with it - maybe it was important to me to be seen as more original than I feared it might be perceived.

What concerns one writer might not worry another. What concerned me 10 years ago almost certainly doesn't now.
 

DLCroix

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I'm wondering, from any of you folk who have these misgivings, can you describe exactly how this catastrophe you fear plays out?

That is, let's say you write something, doesn't matter length, form, etc. Now it's done. How do you "give it back to the world"? Do you mean submit it to a journal or publisher? Do you mean self-publish? Do you mean show it to a friend?

The process of failure matters here. Sometimes when we fear something, that something looms large because it lacks shape and substance. It's just generalized fear. Getting more specific is to shine a light under the bed, flip on the light and open the closet.

To put it another way, it's one thing to say I fear failure. Sure, we all do. But it's quite another to say something like, if I self-publish this, what if I get only negative reviews? Or what if I get no reviews at all? If I submit to a publisher, what if they reject it?

If I get specific, I can start to answer those questions.
Good point, @sknox.
A good way to find out how our level of writing is is to enter literary contests. Unfortunately, it seems that many prefer to ignore the great opportunity offered to them to test themselves in a challenge where they compete equally with many other writers and instead of advancing they venture alone into the forest posting their stories here and over there not only without even editing them or giving them a minimum time to decant (which is a huge waste of time and also shows disrespect to others), but, as the results are obviously not what they expected, they end up frustrated and with a negative attitude that does not help at all. :ninja:
 

The Big Peat

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Wotcha @SolaceAlpha1 - not much advice or questions from me as there's plenty here, just an observation that many people who went on to write fiction others loved had the same thoughts. Those thoughts can be beat.

And welcome to this place!
 

Bramandin

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Good point, @sknox.
A good way to find out how our level of writing is is to enter literary contests. Unfortunately, it seems that many prefer to ignore the great opportunity offered to them to test themselves in a challenge where they compete equally with many other writers and instead of advancing they venture alone into the forest posting their stories here and over there not only without even editing them or giving them a minimum time to decant (which is a huge waste of time and also shows disrespect to others), but, as the results are obviously not what they expected, they end up frustrated and with a negative attitude that does not help at all. :ninja:

Are there any writing contests for 1,000 word stories? Mostly I don't like contests because of deadlines and sometimes I can't get my ADHD under control long enough to do what is asked.

I have been a bit impatient with uploading stuff before it's really ready. :p
 

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