Author Topic: I want to write everything...and nothing.  (Read 1548 times)  

Offline kw3000

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I want to write everything...and nothing.
« on: February 11, 2018, 12:05:57 PM »
Maybe I'm just having one of those days, but my motivation to work on my fresh 'to market' story is beneath the Earth's crust at this point. Right now I have more motivation to write my Star Wars fanfic than I do to write the book that's part of a series that I've just set up a fancy new 2018 Production Schedule to complete and market and yada yada yada.

But then, when I think about writing my fanfic I lose motivation and start thinking about that biting social satire that I keep meaning to write. Then there's that fairy tale series I'm interested in, oh, and that sci-fi epic. Oh, and that standalone horror I've got on the back burner. Not to mention my killer epic fantasy idea. And also my alternate history I keep meaning to work on. Then again, the thought of sitting down and writing anything other than a kboard post has me bored beyond belief.

What the heck is going on here? I thought I was a writer. I'd just committed to writing this new 'to market' trilogy, and here I am completely bored and thinking of everything else I want to write, but then that leads me to questioning if I even want to write anything at all. Maybe I'm not a writer? Maybe I just like the idea of being a writer? Is this because I haven't had my coffee yet? I'm seriously questioning if maybe I'm meant to be doing something else. Have you ever experienced this? I'm honestly thinking I might be done with this gig. I get that there's no shame in that, but coming to this realization (if that's what you could call it) is strange considering I've always considered myself a writer. Weird.

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Offline gilesxbecker

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2018, 12:12:14 PM »
Try something in the first person. See what happens ---it might refire your fire!

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2018, 12:16:07 PM »
And, don't forget, those other shiny objects won't look so shiny when you begin to strip them down.
    
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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2018, 12:22:42 PM »
Who is telling you to write what you don't want to write?
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Offline Cookie Monster

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2018, 12:47:47 PM »
I feel like this sometimes, but I find if I just start writing, it goes away within the first hour and I get back into the flow of what I'm working on. Whatever you aren't working on yet looks like the best idea ever, but when you go to write that story, the same thing will happen then, too. So I'd recommend that you just ignore these feelings and get to work. :P

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2018, 12:50:37 PM »
First of all, what Cookie Monster said makes a lot of sense; and, personally, that breaking the inertia and getting into the groove thing works for me a lot too.
But also...
I'm pretty sure that excepting cases of literary quasi-lottery tickets where even the author says he didn't see the audience resonance & success coming (Hugh Howey "Wool"), and those fortunate and exceptionally talented authors whose appetites happen to align terrifically with the audience in their genre (like Rosalind James: A friend of mine (also an author) who I induced to read one of her Paradise Idaho books (I thought it would help both of us with emotional engagement in our own genres) was a bit blown away by "how real the characters and dialogue seemed; it made the uncomplex story very engaging". I read it too and 2nd the take -- bear in mind, we're both guys who never read romance )
Oops ... I derailed myself with parentheticals.
Back to my point:
I was saying with those sort of exceptions notwithstanding, writing with your market in mind is a really great idea if money, and not just artistic expression, is a goal.
On the other hand, not feeling jazzed about what you're writing is DEFINITELY a problem. And it'll probably come through a bit on the page, I would think(?).
So, what about coming up with a new "to market" idea that really lights your fire? The book(s) you wish were written because you're really champing at the bit to read them yourself.
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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2018, 01:20:15 PM »
I feel like this sometimes, but I find if I just start writing, it goes away within the first hour and I get back into the flow of what I'm working on. Whatever you aren't working on yet looks like the best idea ever, but when you go to write that story, the same thing will happen then, too. So I'd recommend that you just ignore these feelings and get to work. :P

I read this in Cookie Monster's voice...made it seem more wise somehow.

Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 01:46:35 PM »
My advice (because I often feel the same way) write a short story.  Hopefully, you'll finish it before you get bored with it.

Also, I hate shedules!  Once I put a due date on my book, I feel like it's work. I have a job...this is supposed to be fun.  It's finished, when it's finished and I hit publish.  8)

ETA:  I don't write what I don't love.  I spend a lot of time with my characters and I have to like them and the plot.  As I said in another post, I rarely stay in genre...but you have to find what works for you.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 01:48:57 PM by Lorri Moulton »

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Offline kw3000

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 03:05:27 PM »
Try something in the first person. See what happens ---it might refire your fire!

It's funny you mention this, I was contemplating jumping back to writing in the first person. Thanks for your reply.

And, don't forget, those other shiny objects won't look so shiny when you begin to strip them down.

Thank you, Sam, I remember you'd given me this excellent advice before. It's amazing how quickly I can forget such good advice, but you're right, I need to write your wise words down and post them above my desk.

Who is telling you to write what you don't want to write?


It's just me. Like everyone else, I suppose, I'm my own worst enemy. You're right, I should stop trying to force myself to write something I'm not all that jazzed to write. Thanks for replying.

I feel like this sometimes, but I find if I just start writing, it goes away within the first hour and I get back into the flow of what I'm working on. Whatever you aren't working on yet looks like the best idea ever, but when you go to write that story, the same thing will happen then, too. So I'd recommend that you just ignore these feelings and get to work. :P

I think ignoring those feelings is good advice. I also think self-confidence or the lack thereof is part of my problem. Meh, it's just something I gotta suck up and get over. Maybe you're right, jumping in and just putting down words can spark something and I can stop with the stinkin' thinkin'. Thanks, Cookie Monster. It's not everyday you get great advice from a muppet.  8)

First of all, what Cookie Monster said makes a lot of sense; and, personally, that breaking the inertia and getting into the groove thing works for me a lot too.
But also...
I'm pretty sure that excepting cases of literary quasi-lottery tickets where even the author says he didn't see the audience resonance & success coming (Hugh Howey "Wool"), and those fortunate and exceptionally talented authors whose appetites happen to align terrifically with the audience in their genre (like Rosalind James: A friend of mine (also an author) who I induced to read one of her Paradise Idaho books (I thought it would help both of us with emotional engagement in our own genres) was a bit blown away by "how real the characters and dialogue seemed; it made the uncomplex story very engaging". I read it too and 2nd the take -- bear in mind, we're both guys who never read romance )
Oops ... I derailed myself with parentheticals.
Back to my point:
I was saying with those sort of exceptions notwithstanding, writing with your market in mind is a really great idea if money, and not just artistic expression, is a goal.
On the other hand, not feeling jazzed about what you're writing is DEFINITELY a problem. And it'll probably come through a bit on the page, I would think(?).
So, what about coming up with a new "to market" idea that really lights your fire? The book(s) you wish were written because you're really champing at the bit to read them yourself.


Appreciate this post, this is good advice, you're right I need to work harder at coming up with an idea that I'm actually really into - keeping in mind the kind of stuff I'm excited to read is also good advice. Thanks, Luke.

I read this in Cookie Monster's voice...made it seem more wise somehow.

Agreed.  8)

My advice (because I often feel the same way) write a short story.  Hopefully, you'll finish it before you get bored with it.

Also, I hate shedules!  Once I put a due date on my book, I feel like it's work. I have a job...this is supposed to be fun.  It's finished, when it's finished and I hit publish.  8)

ETA:  I don't write what I don't love.  I spend a lot of time with my characters and I have to like them and the plot.  As I said in another post, I rarely stay in genre...but you have to find what works for you.

Thanks, Lorri. I'm not big on schedules either. I get that writing isn't always going to be fun, but I'd like to have more fun than I've been having lately. Thank you for your advice, it definitely helps.   8)

Ken Ward

Offline solo

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 11:49:40 PM »
It's the lack of coffee....

Offline kw3000

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2018, 12:40:46 AM »

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2018, 01:22:36 AM »
Maybe I'm just having one of those days, but my motivation to work on my fresh 'to market' story is beneath the Earth's crust at this point. Right now I have more motivation to write my Star Wars fanfic than I do to write the book that's part of a series that I've just set up a fancy new 2018 Production Schedule to complete and market and yada yada yada.

But then, when I think about writing my fanfic I lose motivation and start thinking about that biting social satire that I keep meaning to write. Then there's that fairy tale series I'm interested in, oh, and that sci-fi epic. Oh, and that standalone horror I've got on the back burner. Not to mention my killer epic fantasy idea. And also my alternate history I keep meaning to work on. Then again, the thought of sitting down and writing anything other than a kboard post has me bored beyond belief.

What the heck is going on here? I thought I was a writer. I'd just committed to writing this new 'to market' trilogy, and here I am completely bored and thinking of everything else I want to write, but then that leads me to questioning if I even want to write anything at all. Maybe I'm not a writer? Maybe I just like the idea of being a writer? Is this because I haven't had my coffee yet? I'm seriously questioning if maybe I'm meant to be doing something else. Have you ever experienced this? I'm honestly thinking I might be done with this gig. I get that there's no shame in that, but coming to this realization (if that's what you could call it) is strange considering I've always considered myself a writer. Weird.

The other important part about writing to market is writing something you enjoy. If your "to market" book isn't something you enjoy to write about it then you may have made a huge error in selecting it.

I've never heard someone recommend writing a "to market" book that you don't like to write.

Also, from a personal point of view I don't really think about motivation. I write (or outline, world-build) everyday. It doesn't matter if I'm motivated. Just like I go to work everyday regardless of motivation or to the gym regardless of motivation.

Disipline trumps motivation. :)
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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2018, 01:30:35 AM »
Maybe write two series (genre's) at the same time? Jump from one to the other, follow the inspiration.

Also, do you feel that unmotivated in the middle of a scene? I get the 'before'. I think a lot of writers have that, but there are warning bells if you zone out mid-dialogue.

Maybe.

Could be just the lack of coffee.

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Offline kw3000

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2018, 03:18:40 AM »
The other important part about writing to market is writing something you enjoy. If your "to market" book isn't something you enjoy to write about it then you may have made a huge error in selecting it.

I've never heard someone recommend writing a "to market" book that you don't like to write.

Also, from a personal point of view I don't really think about motivation. I write (or outline, world-build) everyday. It doesn't matter if I'm motivated. Just like I go to work everyday regardless of motivation or to the gym regardless of motivation.

Disipline trumps motivation. :)

I appreciate this advice, thank you. I think you're right, I'd been trying to force myself into writing something I didn't like believing it was the right move from a commercial perspective. I'm glad to be righting that wrong. And it's true, discipline is important. I just have to be better, full stop. Thanks again.

Maybe write two series (genre's) at the same time? Jump from one to the other, follow the inspiration.

Also, do you feel that unmotivated in the middle of a scene? I get the 'before'. I think a lot of writers have that, but there are warning bells if you zone out mid-dialogue.

Maybe.

Could be just the lack of coffee.

That's an interesting idea, the two genre thing. Might be worth a shot. Yes, I had been falling out of writing sometimes mid-scene. Definitely a bad sign, which I attribute to writing something I wasn't enjoying...an idea for a story I wasn't fully enamored with. The lack of caffeine wasn't helping, that's for sure.  8) Thank you for the advice.

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Offline RBN

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2018, 06:36:30 AM »
I know I don't respond well to schedules and deadlines (AKA unnecessary milestones of potential failure that instill dread by their very existence), so if they're not helping you as intended when you put them in place, you may do better without them. "Discipline" that makes you miserable impairs productivity. I write more, faster, and better under the influence of interest and enthusiasm.

When it's new-project time, I have a brainstorming day. I take all those shiny ideas I've been hoarding while working on the last book, fire off every story event I can think of for each, and compare what I have to work with at that time. One might have a great beginning followed by a whole lot of ?!?!? Another might have great characters but no inherent conflict. One will be several orders of magnitude more developed than the others--that's the one that will be the least difficult to write because it comes with the most problems pre-solved. It may make me tear my hair out while writing it, but I have evidence (puny stacks of notecards full of ?!?!?) that every other option would have been worse, which keeps me from flitting back to one of those.

Here's the thing about shiny ideas: They are limitless possibility as long as they're only floating around in your head. Catch them. Pin them down on paper. Quantify them. They lose a lot of their sparkle when you see how little substance they have. Pick the most robust and make something of it, and leave the others to grow up a bit more or fade away.

Offline Jessie G. Talbot

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2018, 06:38:04 AM »
I read this in Cookie Monster's voice...made it seem more wise somehow.

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Offline kw3000

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2018, 12:26:23 PM »
I know I don't respond well to schedules and deadlines (AKA unnecessary milestones of potential failure that instill dread by their very existence), so if they're not helping you as intended when you put them in place, you may do better without them. "Discipline" that makes you miserable impairs productivity. I write more, faster, and better under the influence of interest and enthusiasm.

When it's new-project time, I have a brainstorming day. I take all those shiny ideas I've been hoarding while working on the last book, fire off every story event I can think of for each, and compare what I have to work with at that time. One might have a great beginning followed by a whole lot of ?!?!? Another might have great characters but no inherent conflict. One will be several orders of magnitude more developed than the others--that's the one that will be the least difficult to write because it comes with the most problems pre-solved. It may make me tear my hair out while writing it, but I have evidence (puny stacks of notecards full of ?!?!?) that every other option would have been worse, which keeps me from flitting back to one of those.

Here's the thing about shiny ideas: They are limitless possibility as long as they're only floating around in your head. Catch them. Pin them down on paper. Quantify them. They lose a lot of their sparkle when you see how little substance they have. Pick the most robust and make something of it, and leave the others to grow up a bit more or fade away.

This is great advice, thank you! Love that sentence about being better "under the influence of interest and enthusiasm", that's me too. Also, good stuff about pinning down the shiny new idea, you're right. Thanks again.  8)

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Offline Piano Jenny

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2018, 01:05:12 PM »
I read this in Cookie Monster's voice...made it seem more wise somehow.

Of course it did -- Cookie Monster is also Yoda!  :)

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2018, 08:06:46 AM »
This is how I feel lately. I think it's because I have too much on my plate. (I've gone back to school and my accounting class is sucking up most of my time... and brain.) I keep getting ideas and I have zero desire to move forward with any of them. I guess it's time for me to pick something and power through!

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2018, 02:28:05 PM »
I'm dealing with this a bit right now. The discipline thing is something I've far from mastered yet. I just finished the draft of my latest novel, and I was working on a short story in the same world, but for some reason I'm just not motivated. Then, separately, I got excited about puttering around with a fanfic thing, so I figured that working on fanfic is better than not working on anything and just, like, sitting around watching TV. So I'm leaning into the fanfic thing for now, and I'm hoping that in a week or so, I'll have gotten that out of my system and can get back to the short story I was trying to do.

Offline CarolynVMurray

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2018, 05:20:35 PM »
I think having a big success can do wonders to rejuvenate your motivation. Go with a write to market series - although it might be the sci fi epic or epic fantasy series you have in mind. Just make sure you research the market potential. Put some real effort into your launch plan and ideally finish Book 2 and put up for pre-order right away. Frequent releases have made a world of difference in my latest pen name series. Do a reader magnet immediately to attract an ARC team.

I do remember with my first pen name series (I'm on my second) that when the last couple of books were released to crickets - it just sapped my motivation. Seeing a real payoff for all the effort makes a huge difference.

But I'd say, don't sabotage yourself with genre/series hopping.
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Offline kw3000

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2018, 05:48:00 PM »
I think having a big success can do wonders to rejuvenate your motivation. Go with a write to market series - although it might be the sci fi epic or epic fantasy series you have in mind. Just make sure you research the market potential. Put some real effort into your launch plan and ideally finish Book 2 and put up for pre-order right away. Frequent releases have made a world of difference in my latest pen name series. Do a reader magnet immediately to attract an ARC team.

I do remember with my first pen name series (I'm on my second) that when the last couple of books were released to crickets - it just sapped my motivation. Seeing a real payoff for all the effort makes a huge difference.

But I'd say, don't sabotage yourself with genre/series hopping.

I appreciate this advice, thanks. I have taken a step back and looked at what I've been doing, then decided to move forward with a project I'd had on the back burner for quite a while. It's a cyberpunk/dystopian sci-fi story. I'm fairly into that genre/subgenre as it is so, I have a passion for it, but I have researched into the genre/subgenre as I am hoping to make more of a mark this time around in terms of meeting market expectations, i.e. satisfying readers instead of just myself.

I will make a marketing push this time too. I think you're right about the ARC thing...really, anything I can do to gain visibility is helpful...within the rules of course. And you're right about genre/series hopping. Important not to do that. The good news is I'm working in an area I love so I can see myself creating stories in this realm for a long time to come, and I love the story I've come up with and the outline is solid so, yeah, I'm optimistic.

Thanks again.  8)

Ken Ward

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2018, 05:55:47 PM »
Ken,

The ideas presented above have merit. Let's take it all a bit further. Write something in a genre you don't normally use and with a style you don't normally use. It can be short, but the best part is that you know when it's done, it goes into the file never to return.

Bob


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Offline Rosie A.

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2018, 01:16:22 PM »
This is how I feel lately. I think it's because I have too much on my plate. (I've gone back to school and my accounting class is sucking up most of my time... and brain.) I keep getting ideas and I have zero desire to move forward with any of them. I guess it's time for me to pick something and power through!
Sorry, but I just took a look at your blog and vote for your second chance divorce romance. That sounds awesome!

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Re: I want to write everything...and nothing.
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2018, 11:44:17 AM »
Sorry, but I just took a look at your blog and vote for your second chance divorce romance. That sounds awesome!

Don't be sorry! Thank you so much -- it actually releases June 4th: http://elizabethbarone.net/the-stairs-between-us/ :D

I started working on my planned novel. I'm 2,000 words in, then I got hit with an idea for a novella, which I've mostly outlined. Sooo I might be bouncing back and forth between the two for a bit. My excuse? It's how I'm gonna stay sane this semester.

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