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At a crossroads (1 Viewer)

This might be a specific situation to me, but I wondered if anyone else had been through something similar, so I wanted to ask about it.

I find I'm at a real crossroads with my writing. I've been writing on and off for quite a long time, my last major break being when I was still in school and studying nonstop.

I recently finished a novel (originally intended to be part of a series) and did a couple of rounds of querying. Absolutely no interest whatsoever. I'd done research on how tough getting published was, so I wasn't shocked, just a bit deflated. For reference, my grasp on spelling & grammar is strong and I did pay a literary agency to help me sharpen up the manuscript, the agent giving me positive feedback that the prose was generally strong. I was concerned that my concept wasn't sellable, though, so the lack of any specific feedback from agents discouraged me from starting the next book in the series.

Tl:dr; I ended up with a trunk novel and decided to go indie, but now find myself unable to write a word. I can come up with different ideas but I can't seem to get myself to start writing again. It was also my intention to build a good second income off my writing, so it could also be that I'm putting too much pressure on myself, along with being trapped indoors alone far more often because of COVID making my brain feel stale and out of ideas.

Has anyone else been through something like this? What do you do when your enthusiasm for writing itself seems to have deserted you?
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
It's just a matter of submitting it constantly and revising in line with any feedback you get. Then add in a gargantuan slice of luck. Brandon Sandersone wrote 13 novels before he eventually got published.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Has anyone else been through something like this? What do you do when your enthusiasm for writing itself seems to have deserted you?
I've mentioned this in a couple of places, so apologies to anyone reading repetition.

I decided to self-publish specifically because I recognized that if I churned the traditional submission process, I suspected I'd wait on an answer to that cycle before I started writing the next thing. I enjoy writing, and at this point in my life it's a higher priority to simply write than to be traditionally published. So after a couple of "not for us responses" (which if you'll recall Rowling was hit with circa 30 times ... it DOES NOT mean the book is no good), I decided to move on with life and start writing the next thing. Even that delay cost enough time I could have written another entire novel while I waited.

Submission and rejection, I believe, takes a shell not present on every author's back, and rejections may or may not have anything to do with whether the property is well-written and enjoyable to a specific audience. I hate to say it, but "INTENDING to make a second income from writing" might be akin to intending to make a second income off of lottery tickets. It was a more likely goal for early 20th century writers to reach than early 21st century writers ... the field is beyond crowded.

If you enjoy writing, feel that writing makes a good hobby, and you have the time, WRITE. One of five manuscripts may have a better chance for one to find a home than one of one manuscripts. And if you ever DO get one of them published, the others might suddenly be in demand. Car lots have many models, colors, and options to choose from in the hopes of satisfying a customer. Why should writing be different?

If there are holes in your writing skills, and there are a lot of skills involved, this is a great Site to share work. Experienced writers, experienced readers, and the site's mentors will help you both find them and fill them.
 
Last edited:

Non Serviam

WF Veterans
Has anyone else been through something like this? What do you do when your enthusiasm for writing itself seems to have deserted you?

I'm going to go ahead and say that every writer has times when they feel uninspired or unenthusiastic about starting.

If you're writing for income, then you have to be able to produce the copy. You've got to. One of my writer friends has set up a timer widget on his computer that says: "13 days 12 hours and 41 minutes until what used to be pay day". The timer ticks down automatically, and he finds that helps him stay focused on writing. Others use other tricks; if you're writing to pay the bills, then you've got to find what makes you write when you don't feel like it and you don't have any ideas.

Here's what works for me:- Clear your mind, place your bum on your seat, and start to write. Tell yourself you may not get up and make coffee or do minor chores or browse the internet or check your phone or do anything else at all except write. Write anything, it can be complete drivel that's no use at all (although ideally not!) -- you've just got to break down the barrier to writing.

When that barrier is down, you can start a new scene, or develop an existing one.

Your concept need not inspire you. Many of the world's best and most famous novels have trite, dull, or uninspiring concepts. Pride and Prejudice is "middle class woman finds rich husband". Oliver Twist is "nauseatingly well-behaved orphan finds kindly rich family". In summary and outline, they're objectively pretty dull. It's the characters and the prose that bring them to life.
 
I've mentioned this in a couple of places, so apologies to anyone reading repetition.

I decided to self-publish specifically because I recognized that if I churned the traditional submission process, I suspected I'd wait on an answer to that cycle before I started writing the next thing. I enjoy writing, and at this point in my life it's a higher priority to simply write than to be traditionally published. So after a couple of "not for us responses" (which if you'll recall Rowling was hit with circa 30 times ... it DOES NOT mean the book is no good), I decided to move on with life and start writing the next thing. Even that delay cost enough time I could have written another entire novel while I waited.

Submission and rejection, I believe, takes a shell not present on every author's back, and rejections may or may not have anything to do with whether the property is well-written and enjoyable to a specific audience. I hate to say it, but "INTENDING to make a second income from writing might be akin to intending to make a second income off of lottery tickets. It was a more likely goal for early 20th century writers to reach than early 21st century writers ... the field is beyond crowded.

If you enjoy writing, feel that writing makes a good hobby, and you have the time, WRITE. One of five manuscripts may have a better chance for one to find a home than one of one manuscripts. And if you ever DO get one of them published, the others might suddenly be in demand. Car lots have many models, colors, and options to choose from in the hopes of satisfying a customer. Why should writing be different?

If there are holes in your writing skills, and there are a lot of skills involved, this is a great Site to share work. Experienced writers, experienced readers, and the site's mentors will help you both find them and fill them.
A lot of good advice here! There is a lot of waiting involved in waiting for agents, which I understand why it's like that to an extent, but waiting around can feel difficult. And a definite yes on the 'not for us' responses - again, I understand why agents default to it but I could probably knock something else out in the time it would take me to wait & try and decode what the response actually means, especially when I'm already paranoid my work isn't enough like anything on the shelf already to sell.

That's useful to know about the indie market - I assumed it was easier to get into than traditional publishing, but I do know less about it. It's naturally going to take a while to build any audience of regulars in a crowded market, but I suppose it depends what the writer wants to get out of it.

Also good advice on having multiple manuscripts - dusting off one to improve or continue might be more helpful than driving at the same project the entire time.
 
I'm going to go ahead and say that every writer has times when they feel uninspired or unenthusiastic about starting.

If you're writing for income, then you have to be able to produce the copy. You've got to. One of my writer friends has set up a timer widget on his computer that says: "13 days 12 hours and 41 minutes until what used to be pay day". The timer ticks down automatically, and he finds that helps him stay focused on writing. Others use other tricks; if you're writing to pay the bills, then you've got to find what makes you write when you don't feel like it and you don't have any ideas.

Here's what works for me:- Clear your mind, place your bum on your seat, and start to write. Tell yourself you may not get up and make coffee or do minor chores or browse the internet or check your phone or do anything else at all except write. Write anything, it can be complete drivel that's no use at all (although ideally not!) -- you've just got to break down the barrier to writing.

When that barrier is down, you can start a new scene, or develop an existing one.

Your concept need not inspire you. Many of the world's best and most famous novels have trite, dull, or uninspiring concepts. Pride and Prejudice is "middle class woman finds rich husband". Oliver Twist is "nauseatingly well-behaved orphan finds kindly rich family". In summary and outline, they're objectively pretty dull. It's the characters and the prose that bring them to life.
The timer widget is an excellent idea for getting things done! It's also a bit more focused than just a Pomodoro timer.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
This might be a specific situation to me, but I wondered if anyone else had been through something similar, so I wanted to ask about it.

I find I'm at a real crossroads with my writing. I've been writing on and off for quite a long time, my last major break being when I was still in school and studying nonstop.

I recently finished a novel (originally intended to be part of a series) and did a couple of rounds of querying. Absolutely no interest whatsoever. I'd done research on how tough getting published was, so I wasn't shocked, just a bit deflated. For reference, my grasp on spelling & grammar is strong and I did pay a literary agency to help me sharpen up the manuscript, the agent giving me positive feedback that the prose was generally strong. I was concerned that my concept wasn't sellable, though, so the lack of any specific feedback from agents discouraged me from starting the next book in the series.

Tl:dr; I ended up with a trunk novel and decided to go indie, but now find myself unable to write a word. I can come up with different ideas but I can't seem to get myself to start writing again. It was also my intention to build a good second income off my writing, so it could also be that I'm putting too much pressure on myself, along with being trapped indoors alone far more often because of COVID making my brain feel stale and out of ideas.

Has anyone else been through something like this? What do you do when your enthusiasm for writing itself seems to have deserted you?
Hi Amateur, welcome to the Forum.

I have to say you have stolen my writer's name, I was hoping as time passed I would be able to sign off as 'Hardworking Amateur' or 'Amateur' but from your thread, you are not, you are very skilled. In Covid times, things are a lot different and the mind plays a lot of tricks, it does that in harsher times, but I would like to agree with the 'Wizards' that have already replied to you.

You seem to be in many minds about what to do with writing and all three wizards have made wonderful Suggestions, and I think that is the key here Sir. AZ is very right in that if you want to follow the traditional route ... revise your work, go over it, knock publishers down, keep going, keep trying ... but this is a long route (as you already know) and as a writing friend told me You are more likely to win the lottery.

The VRanger wizard is and old sage, with buckets, no no deep wells of experience and knowledge, I say 'old sage' I don't really know him but he's a clever man. Second income is a tough gig if it is a goal, but your thread doesn't seem to point to 'needing' a second income, maybe I am wrong to me, you seem to want validation of what writing is for you - Please don't be mad (I will back up my 'gut' feeling after Non's reply.)

Should you want a second income, then Non has a good template to follow, to chase to rid of the lack of enthusiasm.

I maybe a little wrong here and if I am, I am very sorry in advance for ... being stupid. There is no need for politeness if I have made error, but here we go (and I'm very sorry if you are offended):

My hunch is (and during my writing journey I have been encouraged to be myself, to follow what I believe, in my own writing, in my own mind) that doubt, Covid, the stress and strains of normal day life flicks us into looking to past. The curious mind going back to find things that once was a joy and pleasure into something that should be rewarded. I am at the start of my journey, yet the problems, the fears of writing for anyone to appreciate is tough to take, nevermind having something for publishers to say no over and over.

My advice Sir, is simply enjoy writing. I have no basis bar your opening thread, but from your writing story, your journey so far, there has been a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, time, research, money ... spent for documents in a folder rarely opened. Start writing, like Non suggested too, get back into the groove of sitting down on your chair, at a certain time, for an hour, or two, and let the mind explore. It maybe crap but who cares ... no one needs to see, but get back to that world and the memories of your stories will come back, I am sure. I have gone that route at a much more express pace, but the joy of writing, of making nothing into something that moved you or your friends, enough for you to push as hard as you have, that is pure joy in itself.

I apologise again if I am way out of line here and if the powers that be feels I am wrong then I will learn and understand not to do it in the future.

Has anyone else been through something like this? What do you do when your enthusiasm for writing itself seems to have deserted you?

They say the first step is always the toughest.
 

Backstroke_Italics

Senior Member
If you've got the option, taking a break from one project to pursue another always helps me come back to a story refreshed. Otherwise, try the "break the seal" method: Set a timer for ten minutes and write idiotic nonsense about your characters or setting. Then throw it away and get to work.
 
Hi Amateur, welcome to the Forum.

I have to say you have stolen my writer's name, I was hoping as time passed I would be able to sign off as 'Hardworking Amateur' or 'Amateur' but from your thread, you are not, you are very skilled. In Covid times, things are a lot different and the mind plays a lot of tricks, it does that in harsher times, but I would like to agree with the 'Wizards' that have already replied to you.

You seem to be in many minds about what to do with writing and all three wizards have made wonderful Suggestions, and I think that is the key here Sir. AZ is very right in that if you want to follow the traditional route ... revise your work, go over it, knock publishers down, keep going, keep trying ... but this is a long route (as you already know) and as a writing friend told me You are more likely to win the lottery.

The VRanger wizard is and old sage, with buckets, no no deep wells of experience and knowledge, I say 'old sage' I don't really know him but he's a clever man. Second income is a tough gig if it is a goal, but your thread doesn't seem to point to 'needing' a second income, maybe I am wrong to me, you seem to want validation of what writing is for you - Please don't be mad (I will back up my 'gut' feeling after Non's reply.)

Should you want a second income, then Non has a good template to follow, to chase to rid of the lack of enthusiasm.

I maybe a little wrong here and if I am, I am very sorry in advance for ... being stupid. There is no need for politeness if I have made error, but here we go (and I'm very sorry if you are offended):

My hunch is (and during my writing journey I have been encouraged to be myself, to follow what I believe, in my own writing, in my own mind) that doubt, Covid, the stress and strains of normal day life flicks us into looking to past. The curious mind going back to find things that once was a joy and pleasure into something that should be rewarded. I am at the start of my journey, yet the problems, the fears of writing for anyone to appreciate is tough to take, nevermind having something for publishers to say no over and over.

My advice Sir, is simply enjoy writing. I have no basis bar your opening thread, but from your writing story, your journey so far, there has been a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, time, research, money ... spent for documents in a folder rarely opened. Start writing, like Non suggested too, get back into the groove of sitting down on your chair, at a certain time, for an hour, or two, and let the mind explore. It maybe crap but who cares ... no one needs to see, but get back to that world and the memories of your stories will come back, I am sure. I have gone that route at a much more express pace, but the joy of writing, of making nothing into something that moved you or your friends, enough for you to push as hard as you have, that is pure joy in itself.

I apologise again if I am way out of line here and if the powers that be feels I am wrong then I will learn and understand not to do it in the future.

Has anyone else been through something like this? What do you do when your enthusiasm for writing itself seems to have deserted you?

They say the first step is always the toughest.
Hi! I'm not offended by your advice at all, it was very well put and polite :)

That's correct, I'm not reliant on writing at the moment to keep the lights on - I knew from the jump how hard it was to 'make it' in the business so I made sure I could make a living another way. I would like to build up to a good second income even if I can't live on solely my writing in the future, though I should probably reflect on whether or not that's a good idea when part of my current 'block' seems to be due to putting pressure on myself to start an indie career. The rest is likely due to Covid and other day to day stresses, as you said, and wanting a tangible result for writing can be anathema to the creative mind.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
Hi! I'm not offended by your advice at all, it was very well put and polite :)

That's correct, I'm not reliant on writing at the moment to keep the lights on - I knew from the jump how hard it was to 'make it' in the business so I made sure I could make a living another way. I would like to build up to a good second income even if I can't live on solely my writing in the future, though I should probably reflect on whether or not that's a good idea when part of my current 'block' seems to be due to putting pressure on myself to start an indie career. The rest is likely due to Covid and other day to day stresses, as you said, and wanting a tangible result for writing can be anathema to the creative mind.
Perhaps post a paragraph or two in my Snippets thread and we can take a look at any potential reasons your work hasn't been accepted. :)

 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Hi! I'm not offended by your advice at all, it was very well put and polite :)

That's correct, I'm not reliant on writing at the moment to keep the lights on - I knew from the jump how hard it was to 'make it' in the business so I made sure I could make a living another way. I would like to build up to a good second income even if I can't live on solely my writing in the future, though I should probably reflect on whether or not that's a good idea when part of my current 'block' seems to be due to putting pressure on myself to start an indie career. The rest is likely due to Covid and other day to day stresses, as you said, and wanting a tangible result for writing can be anathema to the creative mind.
I’m a fairly creative person. I’ve always written stories, did sculpture, and drawn nature pictures, but as a teenager and young man I was on my own and learned that money = security = good. When I went to college I studied drafting because I knew there were good paying jobs in that field. After graduating I took classes that were more interesting, and still drew, wrote and did sculpture on weekends. Now I’m retired and write full time.
 
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