I really need some encouragement right Now!

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I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby washingtonwriter1968 » 24 Aug 2011, 23:19

Hi Guys been a while since I been talking. Not because I haven't wanted to. I have been knuckling down trying to get past a tough spot for me.

I sue hope I am not the only one to be where I am now but I really think only a writer could understand where I am.

I have a huge file systems here not just on my Computer but in my hard copy file. Two whole drawers are dedicated to bits and pieces of unfinished manuscripts.
I am sick to death of this habit! :x Since I was 5 years old I have wanted to be an author and to see my work published. But that isn't gonna happen if I don't ever finish a single manuscript.

The problem seems to be that as soon as I get to the Big inciting Incident that Opens the flood gate to the climax i fizzle out. It's not an issue of Not knowing where the climax should go.(that's already planned out in my head already),It just seems that the wave of creativity has died and I feel dried up and so I tell myself....
"set it aside and you will come back to it latter." Trouble is I rarely if ever do. It sits nestled some where in my computers innards until one day I realize I need to free some disk space. So usually print it up and file it away in my Incomplete Manuscripts File.

I am at that spot now and the instinct to put it down is looming large and I am so fustrated I could :cry: .
So I am just asking for some encouragement and some hope that I can break this cycle. Any suggestions about how to break this self-defeating cycle would be appreciated.
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby bcomet » 24 Aug 2011, 23:42

Not to worry. This is just that it's too close. A writing coach could help. Some "areas" are just tougher on some writers than others.

Breathe. And trust your inner muse. Secure help from a good and supportive writing group if you can find one.
You CAN take it forward just by opening it up and being with it -even just a little- on a daily basis.

Best of luck!

(Updated comment: no longer free coaching on Eric Maisel's site.)
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby Watcher55 » 25 Aug 2011, 07:56

You're grounded! No more exploring new universes until you finish this one.

Writing is fun. Being a writer is work, and you have to be your own taskmaster. You might be grouchy and miserable for a while, and you might decorate your walls with head-size holes, but nothing matters except your WIP (WORK in PROGRESS). Your muse will get bored and probably angry, but she'll come around when she figures out that the taskmaster is in charge.

I don't know if this applies to your situation or not, but writing the end scares the hell out of me because I find myself between opposing fears. Fear of failure and fear of success. I figured out that fear of failure is just silly because I fail the moment I give into it. My fear of success is a little different. By its own nature success invites scrutiny and scrutiny raises the fear of failure...nasty little causal loop - isn't it? Just remember, growth is never painless and goal oriented focus (discipline, perseverence - whatever you want to call it) is a pretty good therapy.
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby polymath » 25 Aug 2011, 08:11

The glories from seeing a writing task to completion build writer confidence. Those pesky self-doubts impeding progress become useful tools and joyous rewards when they're seen as subconscious influences nagging at the conscious mind for attention. After all, the meaning of life is seeing it through to the end in as fulfilling and as interesting a lifestyle as free will and predetermination permit, and maybe just a little bit too interesting at times just for spice. Without trial and error, and doubts and worries, and miseries to compel us, and our characters and narrators, to greater efforts we'd all be lotus blossum consumers handed our every need while we contemplate our navels in ignorant bliss.
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby dios4vida » 25 Aug 2011, 09:08

There's a reason most every writer who's been around for a while knows about the Midling Doldrums. We get all energized at the beginning of a WIP - it's a Shiny New Idea, after all, and it's so sparkly and pretty and it's gonna be AWESOME - but once we've written 2-, 10-, 50,000 words, that excitement runs itself to the ground. You're tired. Your fingers ache, your butt's asleep in your chair, and you swear you haven't seen the outside world in months. Your characters feel flat, your plot predictable. And then, the ending is in sight. YAY! Finally, a chance to finish this up and reconnect with yourself and your family. But wait! <tires screeching> It's so much work, and what if you reach the end and discover all you've done is waste months, maybe years, on a gigantic piece of drivel?

It happens. The only people on this forum who've never felt this way are those who've yet to reach the Midling Doldrums in the first place.

Finishing a manuscript is hard. No, that's not strong enough. It's freakin' killer. It's easily one of the most difficult things I've ever done. And I'll tell you, I just finished the first draft of my third, and it doesn't get much easier. BUT! Don't forget the but! When you finally reach the end, and you type "the end" and sit back and stare at it and think "holy crap, I just FINISHED a NOVEL!" ... There is no better high in the world. (I have goose-bumps just thinking about it!) There's a euphoria that accompanies finishing that is so unlike anything else I've experienced. It's a feeling of accomplishment, pride, joy, elation...so many things. It's so worth the work, every time.

Nearly everyone thinks it'd be cool to write a book. I forget the actual statistic, but a huge majority of Americans have considered and/or want to write a book. Quite a few start one. But how many people actually FINISH writing that book? So few. It seems different since we're in the writer world, but in reality, completing a novel is a rare gift. You will never regret accomplishing that, even if it is drivel. You've written - and completed - a novel. That puts you in a higher class, those of us who gladly embrace the insanity that comes with the job description.

Hang tight, stick with it. You won't regret it.

And you aren't alone. :)
Brenda :)

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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby Cookie » 25 Aug 2011, 09:15

Um, so I'm gonna second everything that Dios4vida said, cause, yea that was awesome. Lol

As far as actually finishing: You could always bribe yourself. Think of something that you really want or need, and tell yourself that you will get it once you finish.

Maybe I should do that.
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby Sanderling » 25 Aug 2011, 09:48

Are you a plotter or pantser, Washington? This may not be the issue you ran into, but it sort of sounds like it might be...

I'm a pantser. We draw our creative energy from a different place than plotters. The best explanation I've seen for it is here: http://jnduncan.wordpress.com/2010/10/2 ... ifference/

In short, plotters get their energy from taking the bones of their outline and seeing it become this beautiful, full story, while pantsers draw energy from the discovery, the unknown as they progress through the story and find out what's going to happen next. (There is, of course, always intermediates between the two, too.) A plotter who tries to pants their way through a story will find the energy fizzles after they get past the first opening scenes because they feel lost, they can't see what they're supposed to do next. A pantser who tries to follow an outline will often find their energy fades because they know what's coming next. For all intents and purposes, they've already told themself the story and the rush of discovery isn't there anymore.

The problem is, by the time you're reaching the end of the book you probably already know how the climax and conclusion go whether you're a plotter or a pantser. It's one of the few bits of story most pantsers know well in advance. The parts between the opening and the climax are not hard for a pantser to write because it's still all discovery. But when you reach the climax, you know how it goes. You know how it ends. All that creative energy that was carrying you through the middle bits drains away, because there's little left to discover. For you, the storytelling is done; all that's left is the writing of it.

Not much to be done about this except just knuckle through. You're so close to the end, make it your goal to finally see something to completion.

Or, if you need something to create some discovery to help you push through... create a twist in the conclusion. All through the writing of the book you've been writing under the assumption that Johnny would go back to school after the climax. But maybe he doesn't! What happened during the climax to make him change his mind? Guess you'll have to write it to see!
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby Watcher55 » 25 Aug 2011, 10:04

Sanderling wrote:Or, if you need something to create some discovery to help you push through... create a twist in the conclusion. All through the writing of the book you've been writing under the assumption that Johnny would go back to school after the climax. But maybe he doesn't! What happened during the climax to make him change his mind? Guess you'll have to write it to see!


Great post Sanderling, but this part is out-frikken-standing. It's an idea worth stealing.
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby Sanderling » 25 Aug 2011, 12:34

Thanks, Watcher; I'm flattered. I'm about 10% plotter and get real satisfaction from seeing an anticipated scene fill out as I write it, so I can usually push through to the end of the book without trouble. But I've had to use this trick at other times when I've found myself stuck in a spot, and it seems it'd be just as applicable for the ending.
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby AnimaDictio » 25 Aug 2011, 12:48

Writing is wonderful when you're full of ideas and passion. It's less wonderful when you're not. I can hardly blame you for choosing to experience the wonderful part, again and again, while avoiding the less-than-wonderful part. But there's a cost, which you're clearly experiencing now.

For me, writing is answering a series of questions. The first question -- "What would happen if ... ?" -- that gets me going. The next questions -- "What now?" and "How do I make this better?" -- they're the slog.

Why would anyone slog? Well, not because they want to. Did the '49ers enjoy frontier life, rushing to California and digging up the earth for the slimmest possibility of instant riches? Nah, probably not much of the time, but there was gold in them thar hills. And there's gold in your stories too.

Finishers have dignity, joy, peace and lollipops. But to get there takes faith or stubbornness or discipline or patience or obsessiveness. Pick one. But don't be so naive as to think you have to enjoy yourself or that you need to feel motivated while you're doing it.

Do it while it sucks.
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby dios4vida » 25 Aug 2011, 13:03

AnimaDictio wrote:Do it while it sucks.


And that right there is what separates the Dreamers - "oh, I'd love to write a book one day!" - from the Achievers - "I have written a book!"

Dreaming is nice, but achieving is infinitely better.

Couldn't have said it better myself, AnimaDictio. :)
Brenda :)

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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby washingtonwriter1968 » 25 Aug 2011, 13:55

I want to thank those who have posted. I do really feel encouraged. I also think I have hit on something..

Not sure if anyone else has had this problem, but maybe someone has and can share with me how they got through it.
I am seeing a pattern as I scan some of my manuscripts it is usually at a time when a personal conflict is at it's peak. I may not get the jargon right but it is a time when there is no turning back. My character is about to change forever. And usually is at very hard place in the story, IE. a horrible thing is about to happen to them that will change them forever.

Bare with me here cause I think this may be the key.

I have been with this character my MC on my CWIP for a whole summer. Ihave watched her grow and become this wonderful almost human in my mind. and now she is about to have something happen that will rock her world.... and I hate to admit it but... I feel badly to have to do this to her! :oops: Now I know she is fantasy I know nobody is really going to go through this horrible ordeal.... But....I feel like I am about to take my daughter and push her through a meat-grinder....

What I have her about to find out is soooo..... dramatic, so life altering and worldview changing that she will have no choice but to lock in towards the climax.

As an inner-conflict I know this is how it should go. I know without this thing the fates(if you will) are not set for the climax to occur but ouch in some ways I do not want to go there!

I know it sounds silly and maybe it is an excuse. but it doesn't feel like it

Anyoneone else feel pity on there characters so badly that you almost get derailed trying to write it!
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby dios4vida » 25 Aug 2011, 14:13

Oh, yeah. Loving your characters is something a lot of us do. The only way you can get over this and finish the manuscript is one of the hardest pieces of writing advice to follow:

KILL YOUR DARLINGS.

We love our characters, our prose, or whatever. Sometimes it's just so wonderful, perfect, you adore this person and you don't want to hurt them, so you make it easy on them. You keep the purple passage just because it sounds so lyrical to you.

The only problem with this is that you aren't doing anyone any favors by doing this - not your characters, your prose, or yourself.

We have to be brutal with our writing and the people we bring to life. Without hardships, difficulties, point-of-no-return moments, and heartbreak there is no growth, inspiration, bettering of oneself, or satisfaction in knowing that you looked death in the eye, spit in it, and walked away. We have to let our characters suffer and break in order to make them the people they will become by the end of the book. It's terrible, but necessary.

I had a passage not too long ago where I had to have my protag's best friend-turned-enemy die. I knew how to should happen - by my protag's hand. It was the only way to make it mean something to him. But...to turn my protagonist into a murderer! What could be worse? What kind of mental trauma would that cause? It's such a terrible thing to do, and he would suffer and flog himself and stare at death and wish he could succumb. But it had to be that way. Otherwise he'd never be strong enough to stand up to the villian, spit in her eye, and get his vengeance.

I thought of shirking the responsibility to someone else. Maybe even just have the best friend-turned-enemy self destruct. It could have worked. But it only would have been okay, and my protag would be weaker. Fighting the end battle would have probably killed him. So I did it. I killed my darling, or rather, had my darling kill his best friend. It was brutal for us both. I seriously cried. My protag nearly lost it. But in the end, he overcame. I overcame. We succeeded. And I love it.

Putting your characters through hard times is really rough - like taking your kids to the doctor. They might hate you for it, but it's for their own good. You'll flog yourself, but you know you're doing what needs to be done. And in the end, when the kid's walking out with a cool band-aid and a lollipop, everyone's happy.

Go for it. Kill your darlings. Make them suffer to make them strong. It will be worth it. Otherwise you've pushed them this far for nothing.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby rosepetal720 » 27 Aug 2011, 21:49

I just recovered from a pretty similar problem. I finished a book about a year ago, and near the end of it I got so excited to be done that I just slapped the last chapter together. Then for some reason, I couldn't bear to go back and fix that chapter. I've gone through several revisions, but I just couldn't fight the reluctance to read through the climax. Maybe it was because the chapter was so crappy, maybe because it was so important to get it right, I don't know.

Just this morning (what a coincidence), I finally broke through. I got this idea, like a voice in my head, to just read it and not make any changes yet. I started reading and made a change because I couldn't help it, then read more and made another change, and before i knew it, I was rewriting the whole chapter.

I think I just needed to stop making things so intense. Keep the stakes low. Don't tell yourself "I will fail at my childhood dream if I don't finish this novel." I recommend trying to write your last chapter as quickly as you possibly can, Nano style, without reading over or deleting anything. Just git 'r done. You'll probably break through and realize it wasn't so bad. Then, once the supreme feeling of satisfaction wears off, you can go back and make the ending better.

Hope that helps.
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Postby Sleeping Beauty » 28 Aug 2011, 05:04

I get around this by writing out of order - the beginning and the ending, and then filling it in. Usually the conclusion only needs to be taken through several drafts and not entirely overhauled by the time I've come to the end. Maybe something you coulkd try next time.
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