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On Writing & Motivation

Discussion in 'Original Fiction Discussion' started by Joe, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Having just responded to a PM on this very topic, I thought I'd share my wisdom with the board at large and have a look on how some of you writers out there write and stay motivated.

    This is coming off a week where I wrote about 5,000 words a day, struggling to meet an unexpected deadline of Oct. 1st. The questions I was asked relate to how do I keep writing when I'd rather be doing literally anything else, and how much do I plan ahead any particular novel. Here's how I responded.

    1. How do you keep writing when motivation isn't really there?

    I force myself to keep writing. I've probably started about 20 novels in the last two years, and finished only 3 of them.

    The key is finishing.

    Speaking of motivation, I rarely get up in the morning and feel like writing. I know I need to write, to get the story done, but I'm far more a fan of having written. Heh. So, yes, sit down and force yourself to write is about the long and the short of it.

    Motivation follows action. This last week proved that to me quite well.

    Personally, I aim for about 2,000 words a day (when I'm not racing toward a deadline, like I am now). I figure 2,000 words a day--of original writing, never mind fanfiction--means I'll finish your standard novel in about 2 months, capping it around 60,000 words.

    Someday's I get my 2,000 in 90 minutes. Other days it can take 6 hours, depending on my mood. Some days, of course, I don't make 2,000. And, flip side, some days I do a lot more. Please take a look here at my writing log for the last week or so:

    http://i.imgur.com/1RZ1S.png

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, I've had some big number days, but also in the last few days not so good, given my impending deadline! Still, I recommend keeping a log like this. It does good to see a story grow, or not. Keeps me honest.

    So yup--the key to any project is finishing, even if what you finish needs a month of TLC. Better words on the page, even poor words, than a blank page, yes?


    2. How far along do you plan a story? Do you plan at all?

    I have my rough outline, and sometimes start at a particularly vivid scene that may be at the end or the beginning--it doesn't matter. Again, words on the page. I build my story around that, and a lot of the time when I've written all the story that precedes that initial scene, I find I have to change the scene anyway. It doesn't matter.

    I've never been one of those writers that has a dedicated outline, chapter by chapter. I find it leaves too little room for inspiration. The characters should come alive on the page, and do things that surprise you (that's a terrible how-to-write-novels cliche, but it does fit). With a plan, for me, that can't happen. I'd rather write myself into a hole with no way out, because that's what happens in the real world. No deus ex machina.

    Story is better for it.

    All that said, I do jot down notes as I go along. On good old fashioned pen and paper. Such as:

    Next chapter - Lambros goes missing - Have rigball tournament - Brand beats Drake.

    That's from what I'm working on now. Another:

    Warden poison the fuel, grounds helicopter. Describe Drake. Buy eggs and milk.

    Pretty much stream of consciousness stuff, but I find it gets the job done and keeps me writing what I'm writing without having to switch documents. Just grab a pen and jot a few notes I may or may not use when I get there.


    So let's have a discussion on the process, as I'm interested to know if any follow my, rather crude, model, or what works for you. I'd like to see if there are points that overlap or points of divergence. Word counts, and such.

    Spill it, you handsome bastards and bastardettes!
     
  2. Silens Cursor

    Silens Cursor The Silencer DLP Supporter

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    Hmm, my motivations are a little different. I do one of two things:

    1. Write something every day, either on one of my stories, or on my blog for a review of some sort.

    2. Experience something - be it music, TV, movie, art, or insane social reaction (sex and drunken parties qualify). If you can add to your experience pool from which to write from, that's just as valid. The key point is seeking out these things.

    As of today, I've written a bunch for Criminal Limit, so I'm reasonably happy. It's simple, but it works.
     
  3. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I think I'm famously bad at updating my fics on DLP.

    But recently, with Alexandra Potter, I've churned out 70k words in just under 3 months. Only an average of ~700 a day compared to Joe's 2000, but I only really write at weekends. Still, this is a big improvement on my previous writing rate. By far. What changed? Two things, I'd say.

    1. Write the story you want to read. Perhaps this won't produce the best story out there, but it will definitely get you writing. So many times in the past my writing has stalled because I couldn't get past a specific scene which I knew was necessary for the story as I'd planned it, but just couldn't write. That hasn't been a problem with Alexandra Potter, because I'm writing it exactly as I want it. Everything in there is fun for me to write.

    2. Establish a habit. Humans love habits, and writing's no different. If you establish a writing habit, it will be easier to keep going.

    Other advice:

    3. Don't try to write 24/7. Down time is good. For me, during the week, because of my work schedule I find it very difficult to write (thus the weekend-only nature of my writing). This is also related to the fact that I need to know that my day is clear to write. If I have something going on later that day, I find it very difficult to write, even if I have a stretch of 5 hours or so. The fact that I have somewhere else to be going to constantly weighs on my mind. So I don't write during the week, unless I really feel like it. This has the added bonus of me starting the weekend raring to go, because all week I've been desperate to write but couldn't.

    4. If you're trying and trying to force yourself to write, but words are coming out at a rate of something like 10 per hour (Ashaya bore witness to this once, when I was trying to write some Lords of Magic), I actually disagree with Joe. Don't sit and continue to try and force it. What I now do in this situation is go on a run. When I return, after I've stretched and had a shower, normally I'm ready to start writing again.

    As for my planning process, I suppose there are two elements to that: world and plot.

    When it comes to world, I just plan a fuckton. Sometimes I'll sit down with the express intention of world planning, sometimes I'mm be in the middle of writing and will get inspiration for some new part of the world and go off and plan it.

    With plot, my plan looks something like a road stretching out into the distance. The stuff at your feet is very clear. The stuff in the distance is really fuzzy.

    I have three planning levels: this chapter, this arc, whole story.

    "Whole story" is very vague. It might be something like "after major event X, Y goes to Z for 3 years. Stuff happens.". "This arc" is a chapter by chapter plan, which establishes what needs to have happened by the end of that chapter, but not necessarily how it will be achieved. Something like "X gets the motivation to do Y" or "conflict between James and Janice here". Then "this chapter" is a scene by scene description of the chapter, with all the hows.

    Needless to say, often when it comes to "this chapter" planning I'll come up with something that then changes the "this arc" plan, or sometimes even the "whole story" plan.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  4. Andro

    Andro Master of Death DLP Supporter

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    I don't have much credibility, having written less than 30k for any single story, but my thinking lately has been this.

    Just stop taking it all so seriously. How do you expect to be able to write when you've inflated this "writer's block" into this monstrous Everest of a problem? First, it's writing. Not the biggest deal in the world if you can't get the words flowing. You have to forget everything about guilt and obligation to continue the story for readers, because that shit will kill your desire to write.

    If you're of college age, nearly everything you've done has been enforced by the classroom, or by your parents, or by your friends. You haven't even built much consciousness. Maybe the same applies to the guys who've started working. With writing, you don't have that enforcement. If you're writing fanfiction, do you honestly think trying to pressure yourself by saying "This chapter is like a set of homework problems, gotta get it done by Wednesday" is working to work?

    No.

    Deep down, you know it's not true.

    So accept it for what it is. All of that complexity is just overcomplicating it and making it worse. Fanfiction is something you do because you enjoy it. You're not likely to enjoy it if you've fed your writer's block with your frustrations. And if you can honestly say you've excised those expectations and whatnot, and still can't write, then just don't write. Don't brainwash yourself into trying to write more, lol.

    One component is not being burdened by writing at all. I talked about this above, but I'd like to add something more to this. I've been reading hard - just finding all the classics, all the great poems, and reading them, trying to learn lyricism. I know that good writing flows from good reading. I bet Joe, and most of the other good writers here, read a lot of top-caliber literature.

    So I keep a log of all the beautiful phrases and awesome imagery, with a pretty good goal of actively reading and improving my own writing style I was thinking "I need to keep reading more, keep developing myself. Keep developing myself, keep learning, keep developing." I realized that there's a endless number of poems that will make you marvel at their eloquence, and if I tried to absorb all worthwhile literature before writing, then I'd never write anything. So I just stopped, and started writing again. Got a measley 1k written words since then, but I am writing now, and I think this mental release has something to do with it.

    Thoughts like "I have to read a million pieces of writing, so my writing is as good as it can possibly be from the very start, and minimize the chances of me disliking my own writing." I straight up acknowledge them, and let them go. And then I write.

    The other component is time-management.

    Writing, I mean in the purest meaning, the actual production of words, is really a two-piece jigsaw puzzle. The other piece is time-management... you have time, you have the desire, you don't have mental pressure, and you will write.

    Anyone asking to solve writer's block is really asking "How do I fix my time-management skills?"

    This is true even if you're there on spring break or winter vacation and you can't write a single paragraph. "But Andro, I have all the time I need, but I still couldn't write! That proves that it's not related to time management! Writer's block is a different issuuuuuueeeeeeee!"

    Damn.

    You might have had all the time in the world, but you were wasting it. You were so directionless you had that really vague guilt that you weren't doing what you were supposed to. Maybe you knew you needed to progress in your life or something, knew you weren't doing it, and that leaked over into your efforts to write. That's why you always tell yourself "I'm going to bang out 50k words this Thanksgiving", and it never happens. That's why you see so many authors claiming that they'll update on this holiday or that, but they break their word ninety times out of a hundred. Did something happen to magically suck away that time?

    No.

    They had all the time in the world, they just didn't know what to do with it.

    Everyone, look at Silens who's posted above me literally when I just thought of him. You've probably got a vague outlook of his life from just skimming his posts. Disciplined athlete, he's a good student, so good academics while simultaneously staying fit, he's got his shit together. To-ge-ther.

    And see how consistently he's been able to write.

    Not a coincidence.

    And I'm sure this sounds like a flawed, pop-psych theory. But even the prolific professional writers, for whom writing is something that's enforced the same way you are with your day job, how many of them used drugs to simulate the effect of having no pressure and of being in control of their lives?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  5. Swimdraconian

    Swimdraconian Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    1. Open document

    2. Read through the 4.5k already written

    3. Edit a bit

    4. Realize I've spent 10 minutes zoned out on the last sentence

    5. Realize it's ass 'o clock in the morning

    6. Close document

    7. Zzzzzzz...
     
  6. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Good one. Yes, I do this, as well. You can write about eating half a kilo of prime rib without having eaten half a kilo of prime rib, but it sure doesn't hurt.

    Actually, yes, I should have been more clear. 2,000 a day is my goal, but I won't sit staring at a blinking cursor in Word for more than 20 minutes before I get up and do something else.

    I also take hourly breaks and go off and do something else. I've found writing for more than an hour, unless I'm in the zone, can become counterproductive.

    Good, good. This is part of my process, as well. And not just good turns of phrase or well written imagery, but a log of the mundane stuff as well. At the moment I'm rereading Stephen King's The Dark Tower, a helluva long and good story, and I'm using the ebook. Which let's me highlight and save certain sections. At the moment I'm concentrating on how characters interact in dialogue.

    You know, how you break up long stretches of dialogue. I've found that, rereading some of my writing, I can fall into a trap of adding something very mundane in front of or just after dialogue. Like 'he nodded' or 'he shook his head'. He grinned. He frowned. He smiled. Used sparingly, those are all fine, but throughout a 60,000 word novel, you begin to notice the writing, and that's bad. Borders on telling and not showing.

    Here's a few other ways of icing the dialogue I pulled from King:

    Jake considered, then nodded.

    A flick at the left corner of the mouth that wasn't quite a smile.

    Roland proposed.

    Jake burst out laughing.
    (Instead of the bland 'he laughed')

    Roland gave him a brief grin.

    Roland's lips parted in a humorless grin.


    Little things--devil in the details.
     
  7. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Heh. We've had a few of those before, but yeah, if you're even remotely serious about writing, then a lot comes down to self-discipline. "How do you keep writing when the motivation isn't there" isn't even a question: Whether or not you feel motivated better had no influence on your decision to write, or you will never get anywhere.

    What you need to train is not to motivate yourself, but to not deliver subpar writing when you're not motivated. At least that's how it is for me.


    The planning/not planning is an individual thing, although I maintain that without at least some planning, all you'll produce is shit. Since Joe presented the one side of that, I'll cover the other.

    I need to know exactly what I want to write, or I can't write at all. I literally can't just start writing. So typically, what my outline looks like, is a long, detailed list of all scenes that I am going to write. X happens, Y happens, A talks to B about this and that, joined by lots of notes about what I want to accomplish with that scene or dialogue, and so on. And even when that's not written down, that's how it is in my head.

    This has a few advantages:

    • Before I start writing, the story/chapter is fix. There will be no surprises or sudden dead-ends. All possible problems I've been over already when I planned and arranged the scenes. I don't do this on paper; most times, it's only in my head: I'm lying on my bed, thinking, moving scenes around, fixing issues, tweaking it here, changing it there, until I can no longer spot any mistakes, and then I just need to write everything down.

    • If I have the outline for the entire story, it doesn't matter anymore where I start writing. So today I feel like writing a dialogue in chapter 7 instead of the opening of chapter 3? No problem, the story is fix, I can just jump there and refer to my notes. I'm writing out of order a lot. It's not unusual for me to write chapters backwards. I know where it ends, and then I go up. You have a great deal of flexibility that way.

    • In theory, you'll always have a good guess how long the story will be, and how far along you are. That hasn't worked terribly well for me so far, but that is because I was pants at gauging the length of scenes. I'm getting better, though, and my current story is only about 25% longer than I estimated (which sounds like a lot, but I'm coming from 100% longer than estimated :?).

    I think those are the three main advantages in writing with detailed outlines. It's a very mechanical, rational approach. I think a lot of this depends on your character; I'm a very logical, rational person. I am constructing stories, like a building, not somehow discovering them. My characters are not alive, and they had better not surprise me (if that would happen, I could bin the story and start over). They are what I want them to be, and what I write them to be, nothing else.

    It's a lot like making a movie, I think. I'm the director, I've got the script, and the writing of the story is the shooting of the pictures.


    The drawback is obvious: stories that have a constructed appearance like this we call contrived, and they suck. So the trick is to hide the construct behind the writing, and for me, that is where the creative part comes in, where the magic is. How you find the right words to express what you want, how you fill the framework and transform the scene in your head into an organic text that draws the reader in and makes him forget it's a story.

    So there's the creative space in this approach: I know what I want to write. But what I'll never know is how I'll write it until after I did.


    Edit: As a side note, 2000 words/day make me cry. Two months for a novel? Two years and we're talking ;_;

    (But then again, Joe's a professional. Yeah, that sounds like a good excuse.)
     
  8. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Two months for a draft of a novel.

    There's a rather large step involved between the draft and the finished product. Don't let my numbers be discouraging--a lot of the time I may get 10,000 words into something and abandon it, or re-purpose it elsewhere.

    As I said above, I've started about 20 novels in the last two years. Finished three.

    Finishing is key.

    I cant emphasise that enough, actually. Finishing is key.
     
  9. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Just don't finish too early? >.>

    As for me... well, I've only ever written maybe 100k words of fiction. Perhaps 10k of those (at most) are readable.

    I'm bad at just sitting down and writing. I want to know more or less what I'm going to be writing, so I do planning/plotting. If I get stuck somewhere I plot and plan some more. I am damned good at sitting down and writing down plot points and ideas. Last time I sat down to write out ideas for a story I wrote about 10k in 2 hours. But that's a far, far cry from actually writing anything that qualifies as a *story* -- my difficulty is getting my ideas (which are awesome) onto paper as I envision them. I don't have the writing skills to communicate what I want to get across... PRACTICE IS IN ORDER!

    When I do finally have something planned is when I've actually been able to write it. Then I read what I wrote and get discouraged. Eventually perhaps it will get better. I shall take encouragement from this thread as well as tips to get myself to write more.
     
  10. LittleChicago

    LittleChicago Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    My approach lies somewhere between Sesc and Joe.

    I'll plot out a story - tell myself the whole thing, really, and write it down. For Broken Mirror, which finished off at about 22,000 words, I had about two pages of notes like that, just outlining and describing what happened. For Broken Cicrle, I had 18 pages, and it's over 110,000 and still going. (I'll finish soon, I promise).

    Basically, I write myself a Wiki summary, just to make sure I like the plot and the actual story. If the summary isn't interesting, the story is unlikely to be, either.

    From there, I expand. I might have a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, but not always. And even if I do, I'm not afraid of making changes and re-working what happens later. Some of the details, i keep in my head, most I write down before I forget. If I come up with a bit of dialogue that sounds good, or suddenly figure out a way to work in a character I haven't used yet, I jot it down.

    Eventually the disparate bits come together; the actually writing, I find, is the glue that hold those bits together and makes them flow.

    Hell, I've revised this very post three times, just to make it flow.

    Dealling with block, I've tried both methods - walking away and charging through - with success, depending on my state of mind at the time.

    tl;dr: Everyone has a different approach - my way won't work for many, Joe's way might be abhorent to others.
     
  11. MattSilver

    MattSilver The Traveller

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    I just bang my keyboard and words appear. Sometimes they're coherent. Sometimes they just have zombies!

    But in all seriousness, I probably bastardise a lot of the excellent advice given above, agreeing and disagreeing on all sorts of points. For example, folk may have noticed I write all my fanfic beforehand to avoid what Andro was talking about; if I get a block or the story's not working, the only people who're affected are just me, and I can do my best vulture act on the story's corpse for later use (Note: happens a lot. Don't be afraid to kill stories and loot their corpses later, okay? Even if they're a pile of ash, Fallout style.). Anyways, I do this to both remove the obligation aspect and to allow a huge amount of planning and hindsight that I think will come in handy come actual novel writing time.

    'Cause I'm a super serious planner, and I disagree that it cuts inspiration and stuff by following a guideline. Hell, I find more inspiration while writing by having this already in-depth outline at the ready. I want to establish a character's certain quirk which'll come in handy in a later moment? Oh, it'd fit in this scene, and it works for what else is going on because it's blah blah. It's like retroactive inspiration that only appears while actually writing the story, and because I can do that and still enjoy myself even though I'm following a plan long since devised, it adds another dimension and layer to the story. I mean, I'm not saying I'm against killing the plans too, but I like having one more often than not, and whether or not it adds or detracts from motivation is going to be a big sticking point for people, but yeah, I like doing that, and if you give it a try, you might too.

    Another thing that I do a lot that helps motivate writing is to proto-write/plan scenes in my head. Showers and toilet = massive inspiration moments. Boring classes, lulls in work shifts, long car rides = also good. What you do is play out a scene, some of the words you'd use if you were actually writing, maybe run dialogue with yourself outloud, just do shit like that. It won't always be what the final product will be when you actually write it, but nine times out of ten you'll come away with a quote or a connection from one aspect or a scene to another, and my advice then? Remember it. Worried you won't? Write that down. Piece of paper, in your phone, wherever. It motivates you to get to your laptop and write the whole scene down, to build up to that big memorable moment you noted beforehand. And if there's a particular, heavy, emotion behind the scene you're planning/writing in your head, you'll definitely remember it when you come to write it. It also doubles as a good way to improve memory recall, which comes in handy if you're a details story writer and stuff.

    You can never, ever, have too many notes on a story. I'm exceedingly proud of 50000+ documents containing random facts about worlds, plotlines that I've improved or dropped or changed around as I've gone along, and my favourite, character motivation essays, complete with backstories that'll never come up in the story itself but help me think things through. Lacking in motivation one day? Look back at your old notes and see if you had a solution written down already. If not, just look at them all anyway and realise you have an awesome story in the making already, so just write it.

    I'd also say don't arbitrarily set yourself goals you'll never get, and if you do set words-a-day counts, for the love of fuck, do not be afraid to push past them. If you're set to write a 1000 words one day and you get there, and it's the middle of the scene? Don't fucking stop (Lookin' at you, T3t); you have a good steam going, and you can keep slamming more out. Another positive of super planning is that if you push past a goal or a scene you were planning to write, you have another set in the barrel to move onto, and if it's a scene that has a similar pacing and feel to the previous one, it'll be the easiest in the world to write if you've already started. So, to summarise, don't stop. Write write write. 4am? Keep writing. Wrists broken and bloody? YOU ONLY NEED YOUR FINGERS TO TYPE, BITCH. That's how I can slam out 3-5k every other day, and 18k on a really, really, really, good (And work-free) day. Rape that keyboard until your spacebar makes a horrible, sad, clicking noise every time you press it. Then you know you have broken its spirit.

    Hmm... what else. Agreed on Silens's idea to use music/TV/movies to help inspire you (Nothing gets me going like zombie movies!), chapter-by-chapter breakdowns are very much recommended too (Big detailed ones filled with proto-writing dialogue and ideas can be half-written by the end, and that's awesome), finishing is indeed key (but don't beat yourself up if you can't; it happens to the best of us), dialogue inspiration ala what Joe said is also good (There's always someone better, don't forget), don't be afraid to edit and improve as you go (Though that's another mileage may vary thing for people), and, in summation, don't just read my ramblings, read the ramblings of the better writers who posted above me.

    Hmm. Might go write now. Laters.

    (Also, if Andro's deduction of Silens's habits makes Silens a dedicated athlete who's got his shit together, mine makes me look like a daydreaming spastic who likes raping keyboards. Which is true. Now you all know.)
     
  12. H_A_Greene

    H_A_Greene Professor –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    When I write, I usually start off with a base concept. Sometimes I'll consider where it goes when I'm done with that chapter, but with most of my fanfiction, I don't plan ahead beyond a chapter or two at a time.

    Most of the time I'll end up writing out several different scenarios or interpretations of the next line of events without ever actually settling on one of them, as has been the case of late - you should see the number of outtakes for Fallen King I have piled up, especially the Asgard sections.

    Some days I just don't want to write at all, but I'm dedicated to the 500 club and not going to let my motivation or lack thereof stop me from hitting the daily count.

    When that happens I tend to let my quality drop if it means reaching the mark - needlessly wordy descriptions of a characters appearance, expression, and worst of all, run-on-sentences that can hit four or five lines in a row - kind of like this large paragraph, but all in " ".

    However, when I'm writing something I actually like and want to read well afterward, I tend to slow down and feel out the words a few at a time.
     
  13. Celestin

    Celestin The Cursed Child

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    I need to have a detailed plan, no questions asked. Without the plan there is no story for me to write. With the plan I tend to write more interesting things first and then fill in between thinking how to make them interesting too.

    But more importantly, I need to write what I want to write in my head before I start putting it on a page. Otherwise I will just sit down and watch an empty page for hours trying to find words. But if I already did in my head it's just a matter of coping it.

    The only problem I have with it that sometimes I forget an exact wording of the sentences that sounded very good in my mind, but only when I don't have a pen and a paper to write it down.
     
  14. iLost

    iLost Minister of Magic

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    I think I've posted in a thread like this before, but I'm more towards Joe end of things. In so far, that I like to have room for inspiration. Though, I have to have that tempered by at least some knowledge of where the story is going. I need a direction for it, just maybe not all the specifics.

    Though, as for motivation..

    1. Read through a few old chapters then get into.
    or
    2. Just sit down, shut-up and write.
    or.
    3. At least to make myself feel good I will edit some of the last chapter.

    Though, writing wise I've done jack and shit this past year. Last summer, nailed 30,000k of an eva fic in three weeks. Two months later added 10k more. Hit a brickwall. Just this past month wrote out the next chapter. May work on it some more.

    However, this being fanfiction, I don't put too much pressure on myself to write it; I just end up feeling guilty later for not typing anything. It'll come when it comes. Which is sad, since it's something I love doing.
     
  15. Anarchy

    Anarchy Half-Blood Prince DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Messages:
    3,614
    Location:
    NJ
    You've written more in the past week than I've written all year.

    I like (some of) my stories, I just find it hard to dedicate time to writing them. I guess I feel a bit overwhelmed since I got so many WiPs, that I know that all the stories have hundreds of thousands of words ahead of them before they're finished, and that's a bit daunting. I feel like I know I'll never finish most of them, so why bother even trying?

    I guess I lack a lot of motivation. I find it more satisfying to keep writing snippets and fleshing out errant plot bunnies than to continue stories that will take ten chapters to get to the interesting scenes I want to write. My only motivation I really got is realization that it's been months, or perhaps close to a year, since I last updated a story, so it's time to get off my ass and write something.
     
  16. Dwitty

    Dwitty Seventh Year DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    May 12, 2006
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    I'm not really one to talk about finishing anything, but I can share what I've learned from when I actually do write.

    Word targets, loud music and realistic goals. As soon as I start making up impossible or very difficult targets for myself I don't even bother. But I do need an end goal that's worthwhile. Moreover, I need the energy to get there.

    As an example, at about 23:45, quite some time ago, I had written all of 6 of my 500 words. So I clamped on my headphones, blasted a random rock tune I don't remember, and had almost one thousand words only slightly after midnight.

    Simple, but it works. My failing was writing myself into scenes I didn't like. Other than an eight month hiatus I don't have a solution for that.
     
  17. Riley

    Riley Alchemist DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2,342
    Location:
    On The Eastern Seaboard, USA
    I have yet to finish anything lengthier than my short stories, most of which are crap, but I usually try to draw from experiences as I can.

    That being said, I also have what I think is a different approach than most. Not better, just different. My mind works through visual cues, so I like to imagine my works as films and then describe what I am seeing.

    Therefore a lot of the time, as I'm writing, I'm trying to imagine as if I am either describing a scene in a movie or a scene that is seen first person (a la FPS (stupid I know)). I'm not to fond of this habit in writing as it severely limits what I feel comfortable writing and I'm working on broadening that horizon but it's slow going.

    All that being said, I also keep a word count log, but it's much more paltry than anything I've seen so much, mainly because I've got so much other crap on my plate already with full-time school and full-time work. I'm hoping to get there though.
     
  18. Thorn

    Thorn Professor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    429
    Location:
    Ohio
    Joe, after reading your advice, my process is pretty similar. I know, at least with the story I mentioned to you, that pushing ahead, progress, is key. I push out anywhere from 700-3000 words a day (at least when work doesn't get in the way, and it does.)

    Sometimes I find my self completely out of inspiration and the well is dry. In times like these I go hunting for something to set off an emotional response in me. It can be music(most often), a tv show, a movie, or another book - but I've found these forms of entertainment are what most often set off my muse. Today was one of those days, and I found a couple things that hit me profoundly enough to jump start me. The first thing I wrote wasn't even for the story I'm working on now, rather it's sequel, which I'd only very vaguely planned up until this point. That was enough to get me back on track for the first one though.
     
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