I really need some encouragement right Now!

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Post by dios4vida » August 28th, 2011, 3:00 pm

rosepetal720 wrote: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."
This is fantastic advice!
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!

Post by Chantelle.S. » September 29th, 2011, 10:36 pm

I'm late on the topic but I wanted to come post. I had no idea you were struggling washingtonwriter!
dios4vida wrote:KILL YOUR DARLINGS.

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.

Characters can't grow if you don't let things happen to them. Don't protect them. However horrible it may seem, it creates character for your character, if you know what I mean. Events are only catalysts for change. Without change, they can't grow.

For example, (and I'll explain this in chronological order to avoid confusing anyone) one of my absolute favourite MC's starts off innocent, vain and ill-experienced with life. He's basically a carbon copy of everyone else (and I mean that in a literal sense since his race all look alike), with the exception of his title. He's kind of like a drone at the beginning. And then his frienemy-gone-all-out-enemy breaks all the rules by abducting him, killing someone close to him, and keeping him imprisoned in a vile little tower while inflicting all kinds of psychological and physical attacks on him.

It's pretty tough going because he's like, the most powerful little guy in their universe since the first great sorcerer, and I know he could so easily escape and whip this antagonists' butt. But the laws of their lands trap him into thinking that he can't use his powers outside the borders of his lands, and that there is no hope for escape because the laws themselves are a prison. He eventually escapes with some help, but he's in a very bad state, and he's reliant on everyone he meets along his journey back home. Eg. he's basically helpless (but not really, but he doesn't need to know that).

But later on all this plays a great role in who he becomes. He becomes self-reliant, strong physically and mentally, clever, and fearless considering he owns up to what he's capable of later on. But it's never all moonshine and roses, because he still has to deal with the emotional scarring, the bitterness he holds toward his world and the anger and his issue with trusting anyone. He becomes flawed, but perfectly so.

I mean, I have him starved, whipped, deceived, and pelted with rotting food. I have him dehydrate and grill in a desert, and at this stage I don't yet know what other hardships I'm going to chuck at him. He becomes pretty kick-ass later.

I digress, the point is, what doesn't kill them makes them stronger.

Oh, and I've also got a folder with over 20 unfinished manuscripts. I call them plot bunnies though.
"Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s." -Stephen King


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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Post by GingerWrite » September 30th, 2011, 12:39 am

What I do when I feel the urge to put away a project because I've run out of steam, is to read a scene in the ms that I thought I'd written very well. Often it gets me in the mood for writing again, enough that I can push out a few more pages before the block hits.

And then when it does I take some time on an old and shorter project. It usually makes me miss my main ms and switch back.

You can get through this! :) Just imagine that finished and bound manuscript sparkling on shelves and kindle screens. It always works as motivation for me ;)
"The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the more you grow." - Dr. Suess
Worlds can grow and crumble beneath a writer's pen. We just need to find the right one.
http://startingonthewritepage.blogspot.com/ :)

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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Post by washingtonwriter1968 » September 30th, 2011, 12:40 am

Thanks for posting. To catch everyone up I made it through the rough spot actually. I love were my girl went with this one. This even transformed her from the outsider who was shy angry and off-putting at times and turned her into a social, open and mature.responsible woman who is capable of being a good mate to my hero.. In Essence she grew up a bit into a young adult.. and all because I let her go into the meat grinder. I swear even though I am the writer it seems this Character has a mind of her own :D .
Washington Writer
Thx 4 your time

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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Post by dios4vida » September 30th, 2011, 11:41 am

YAY washingtonwriter!! Congrats! It's that a great feeling?!
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!

Post by Fenris » October 1st, 2011, 9:12 pm

Congrats, washingtonwriter, and bravo. I have the same problems quite often (and am trying to work through a couple right now). I guess if you had the courage and ability to overcome the obstacles, I might stand a chance too.
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!

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Re: I really need some encouragement right Now!

Post by SquarePen » June 28th, 2013, 1:51 pm

Hi Washington!

Even later to the party with this one, but I thought I'd show up with the bottle of wine and savoury snacks anyway, if that's okay with everyone :)

I've been writing for well over twenty years, and while in that time I've managed to finish stuff like short stories and song lyrics, I'd previously never managed to complete any of the multitude of novels I've started...

(Daamn, wish I hadn't written that 'cos now my brain's working out the maths and doing the 'loser' symbol at me..!)

... but this year, FINALLY, I managed to complete a First Draft of my 'latest.' The very first! I even got to type 'The End' and everything! And I'm now knee-deep in Draft Two - and so far, no urge to quit yet. (Mainly I think because, after getting this far, I'd be quite prepared to punch myself in my own face if I even DARED to suggest to myself that I might give up on it now.)

But the reason it's worked this time around is because I've changed my attitude to writing - and I firmly believe this is the only way someone like me could ever hope to Get The Stuff Done. Obviously I don't claim to have found The Secret or anything daft like that; I just thought I'd share what I did in the hope it might be of some help - to you and to anyone else out there...

I had to face facts: I'm a bit of a lazy so-and-so. I'm quite capable of doing something hard that makes my brain hurt and drags my self-belief through the cowpats of indifference - if I absolutely have to. But f I don't have to, if it's purely optional... my tendency is to go do something else instead (and sometimes chocolate gets involved in the decision-making process too.) Hence my never managing to finish something as giant and complicated as a novel. So, if I really, truly wanted to get a novel published before I grew old and died, I had to treat the task like a real, proper job, not just something to do for fun/creative fulfilment/stoking my dream of being a novelist someday. Which meant I had to keep regular hours, clocking in and out and putting in the piecework, for at least five days of every week - whether I felt like 'working' or not.

Step 1 - I made an agreement with myself on what my 'working hours' per week would be. I chose hours rather than something like word count because it was a more tangible target to track; even with the worst case of writers' block in the world an hour is still an hour. The key is to set a target that doesn't rely so much on you having a 'good writing day' to be achievable - at least at first. I went with a minimum of five days a week working two hours = ten hours a week. The short, two-hour bursts seem to work much better for me than trying to fit my ten hours into one or two marathon sessions; it keeps the work fresher in my mind by seeing it more regularly, and because I'm also a parent that's about all I can realistically promise to myself anyway. :)

Step 2 - I tracked my progress. Calendars work if you don't like computer-y-based stuff, but I went down the geeky route and created my calendar with an excel spreadsheet. I used it for my 'working hours' each week - just like a proper timesheet in an ordinary job - and dutifully filled it in at the end of every session. Very nerdy, yes - but doing this made it real for me. I could really see the effort I was putting in each day, week, month... and once you start seeing that as hard evidence you can actually look at, it spurs you on to keep going (and guilts you into maintaining it when you start to feel the urge to slack off, bwah ha haaa... ;) )

Step 3 - I wrote out a contract for myself. Like a proper work contract, I made sure it stated my 'working hours' and 'duties' very clearly - but I also added some 'kick up the bum' paragraphs as well, stating exactly why I was committing to the contract in the first place (listing all the dreams/ambitions that made me want to get this novel finished and - maybe someday - published) and anything else suitably motivational. I printed out a copy to pin up over my computer, and made sure the digital copy of it was on my desktop - so that, either way, I could always see it.

Step 4: ongoing - I keep showing up at the page/computer, on my allocated working days for my allocated working hours, as if I'm showing up for a real job. Yes, I can have 'sick days' and book 'time off' just like a real job - but I treat it exactly that way, like work. (I.e. if I 'take a week off' I don't beat myself up about it - most employees are entitled to some sick/holiday leave - but I don't abuse the privilege any more than I could in a real job.) And if, at the end of a session, I end up with a pile of rubbish - or even nothing at all - to show for my efforts - I try not to stress about it. I just make sure I show up for the next working day - and the next, and the next... So I let myself write drivel, let myself spend the entire session writing stuff I know, even as I write it, that I won't be keeping a single word of when I get to the editing stage. I let myself write stuff I HATE. MUCH better that than crying off a session because 'I can't think of anything to write so it'll be a waste of time anyway and oh look, 'The Voice' is on now...'

This probably all sounds a bit bootcamp-ish, and I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking "blow that for a game of soldiers, that sucks all the fun out of writing!" All I can say is, it's worked for me and (so far) it continues to keep working. It might work for others too.

The important thing is making the commitment, training your mind to think of those dedicated hours of each dedicated day as Writing Time. Do that, and in time the sessions of writing bilge will become rarer and rarer. Before you know it, you've got so far through the process of writing your novel - and you KNOW you have, because you can look at your timesheet and SEE how many hours you've already put into it - that you'll power on through and WANT to finish it. Even if that means taking the original story in a new direction - or alternatively, adding in some new angles to it - which brings me neatly on to...

...Don't just discard all those abandoned WIPs you never finished, Washington. Sometimes unfinished novels don't work because they're really only PARTS of stories, that need other things to drive them on. You might find that, like pieces of a jigsaw, you could fit two three of those separate works together to create a brand new whole that COULD work.

Keep the faith - I'll be waving those motivational pom-poms for you!

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