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Climbing out of a hole (2 Viewers)

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KeganThompson

Senior Member
I don't know if I have been suffering from burnout or what. But lately, I haven't been motivated to write or even pick up a book. Don't get me wrong, I WANT to read and write but the idea of reading and writing right now sounds "exhausting" I have read and wrote some things here and there a little bit the past week, but the motivation and interest isn't quite there. I have been hanging out of Netflix to recharge. I was wanting to inhale some books too, in a sense. "Work on my writing without actually writing" thinking about voice and prose-the best writers are avid readers- but not feeling it. The last (completed) story I wrote took a lot out of me, as dumb as that sounds lol (it was less than 3,000 words)
The next project I want to do (other than the LM challenge) is going to be a long one, not book-length but gonna be way over 3,000 words. I hope I can work myself up to get excited and motivated to start it soon. I think I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I'm still learning my writing process so discovering what works for me seems to be half the battle. What do you like to do to recharge and get yourself motivated for your next project? Or do you just hop right into it?
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
This is something I just have to muscle through when it happens to me. What I do, eventually, is to start treating my writing like a job. Show up at a designated time and write something, anything for a set period of time (an hour, two hours, hell, even 15 minutes will start getting the engine lubed up again. Speaking of which, it's time to get to work...
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
A lot of people are dealing with depression these days - we're locked down due to covid, and left isolated and alone, or in too close proximity to our spouses and families. Lots of cases of divorce, abuse, and people just dealing with a sense of hopelessness these days. Just when freedom rose above the horizon, new variants show up and we're stuck again.
If you can, try to break the routine - get outside and take a walk everyday. Exercise. Do things that get you around people (even at a safe distance). Break your routine. And most importantly, don't worry about not writing - the urge will return when you are ready for it.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
You have to treat writing like a job. It's not something you do whenever you feel like it, you put your butt in a chair every day and you get it done. It doesn't matter how you feel, it doesn't matter if you're in the mood, you just do it and the more you do it, the easier it gets. Stop giving yourself a choice and just do it.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
You have to treat writing like a job. It's not something you do whenever you feel like it, you put your butt in a chair every day and you get it done. It doesn't matter how you feel, it doesn't matter if you're in the mood, you just do it and the more you do it, the easier it gets. Stop giving yourself a choice and just do it.
I disagree. I have continuously forced myself to write when I didn't feel like before and it only made me hate my writing and made me hate writing. I don't want to hate writing. Why do it if I'm not getting any joy our of it? Of course it won't ALWAYS be fun and you gotta force yourself to think and push yourself. But if I do that constantly with no joy in it then I wont want to bother. And I will burn myself out for good. That's the last thing I want to do.Defeats the whole purpose.
I have a full-time job already. I don't want to look at writing as a job, because it's not. It's a hobby but it can still be a "serious" hobby and something i'd like to pursue more seriously in the future. Even when I don't write I still brainnstorm and work on some plot points. I don't want to write something to write something, I want to write something that I have passion for.
If treating it like a job works for you that's great! But I don't think it can work for everyone honestly. Maybe one day, but right now I don't want to look at it as a job.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I do treat my writing like a job - but one I love. When I was in the midst of my design engineer career, I would at times leave my office and take a walk along the river levy - or lay out on the grass outside - or just sit in the cafeteria enjoying a cup of Pete's coffee - and I frequently did pleasure reading at lunch. Sometimes we have to look away, then turn back with fresh eyes to see what's right in front of us.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
I do treat my writing like a job - but one I love. When I was in the midst of my design engineer career, I would at times leave my office and take a walk along the river levy - or lay out on the grass outside - or just sit in the cafeteria enjoying a cup of Pete's coffee - and I frequently did pleasure reading at lunch. Sometimes we have to look away, then turn back with fresh eyes to see what's right in front of us.
I didn't mean to say that treating it like a job doesn't mean you can't love your job. But I find when I take it too seriously I put so much pressure on myself that it makes me not want to write anything. Because it won't be good enough. As a newer writer and someone who has other obligations too right now it's better for me to step back for a second. When I gain more confidence and have more experience, it will be easier to treat it more like a job but for the time being it's best if I chill and have more fun with it instead of worrying. I'm good at suffocating my hobbies to the point of death 😂💀
I never stop the brain storming though~
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I'm not sure I can answer your question because I haven't started many fiction works. However, I have been at that place where you are, not feeling motivated to read or write. So, I played around with visual stuff. For example, I researched my settings on google. When I saw good inspirational pictures I snipped them and arranged them in a collage. They don't have to be non-copyright or royalty-free because this falls under fair use and you aren't going to be showing this to anyone or using it to promote your work. I also went to Staples and bought a small three-ring binder, about the size of a hardcover novel. Using Powerpoint, I created a mock-up cover and printed it out, and then inserted it under the plastic cover of the binder. I even created the blurb and bio for the back cover. Then, with what I had written already, I printed the pages book-fold and placed them in the binder.

So now I had a physical thing in my hand, that looked just like a novel. This is probably not the answer you are looking for, but I'm sharing it because I know you to be a visually artistic person. So perhaps you can relate to why this little break from writing and reading was a refreshing and motivating experience. It's doing something else that's captivating and creative, but still contributing to one's writing goals.

@TheMightyAz did something similar last week. It looks amazing! You can go to his page and see his work and he has also kindly provided some links to sites that help build the artwork. These sites provide images that are already licensed for certain usage. So you can play around to your heart's desire, and make your visual dreams come true. BTW, thanks AZ. :)

Anyhow, I know by the time you read this you will probably have already moved on from your conundrum. Creativity is such an elusive thing. Just remember it ebbs and flows, but there are many ways you can channel it to feed the beast.
 
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KatPC

Senior Member
I don't know if I have been suffering from burnout or what. But lately, I haven't been motivated to write or even pick up a book. Don't get me wrong, I WANT to read and write but the idea of reading and writing right now sounds "exhausting" I have read and wrote some things here and there a little bit the past week, but the motivation and interest isn't quite there. I have been hanging out of Netflix to recharge. I was wanting to inhale some books too, in a sense. "Work on my writing without actually writing" thinking about voice and prose-the best writers are avid readers- but not feeling it. The last (completed) story I wrote took a lot out of me, as dumb as that sounds lol (it was less than 3,000 words)
The next project I want to do (other than the LM challenge) is going to be a long one, not book-length but gonna be way over 3,000 words. I hope I can work myself up to get excited and motivated to start it soon. I think I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I'm still learning my writing process so discovering what works for me seems to be half the battle. What do you like to do to recharge and get yourself motivated for your next project? Or do you just hop right into it?

I wouldn't be too hard on yourself Kegan. To constantly push to get that spark back is not always the best way to move forward, a lot of times it is better to take a little step back and gain some perspective of what writing brings to you. In this strange world there are so many pressures that life exerts and writing can be a form or release, or as others have put, a job. Take time out, and in a week or two you will automatically fall back in love with that passion to create. As Taylor mentioned, others can go to painting or drawing as a little breather, to recharge the batteries.

There is a saying i was told when i was younger from a lost friend. He told me: Sometimes, take a step back and see how far you have climbed that mountain.

:)
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
Sometimes, take a step back and see how far you have climbed that mountain.

Unless you're on a narrow ledge. Then...you kinda have to take things in faith for a while.

For what it's worth, I was never much good at treating writing like a job. The whole "You will get this many words down in this amount of time" runs a little too close to regimenting something that doesn't always conform to a charts and timetables.

Something that did help me though, albeit learned the hard way:

The story you write doesn't have to be the story you planned.

Chances are you have a story floating around your head right now. It may not be your primary story, or the one you put all the work into, or the one you really really want to get on paper, but odds are it's there. You push it to the back burner to focus on the important stuff, only to find the important stuff is on backorder. Unless you're really into the groove on a particular story this is a fairly easy place to wind up.

So write that instead. You'll still be working on sorting out universal writing problems - better yet, you'll do it out from under the stress of making your primary work perfect. Sometimes that's the thing that reshuffles the deck and puts you back on course. Sometimes it takes on a life of its own (I once took a break from my usual to write a children's book with talking farm animals...it's probably as weird as it sounds). Either way, you'll still have something to show.

Then again, I'm an unrepentant slacker with terrible judgment and marginal abilities, so...that advice is worth what you paid for it.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Print off some common faces & images of celebrities and paste them on to the walls of your bedroom. Talk to them like fellow survivors upon your desert island. The week after print some more faces and run a local election ballot in the bedroom. Within a month you will be mayor of the house with a story to tell.
 

Turnbull

Senior Member
Speaking of writing things like it's a job, why not get a tiny notebook? Use this notebook to "clock in" and "clock out" by writing the times you start and stop writing. I've also noticed that when I got to certain places, my brain instantly engages in whatever activity I usually do in that place. So like, set up a specific area to write in, and then your brain will get used to writing in that place. Don't allow yourself to slack there, just write.

If you need to, maybe outline a story all the way through, so that when you're not feeling inspired, all you have to do is write the next bit of your outline.

Finally, if you're feeling really, really out of it, read a story which is absurdly weird and feel like there are amazing things you can do with story. I recommend The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl, All Flesh is Grass by Clifford D. Simak, or something even crazier than both those (because it's nonfiction) Worlds in Collision by Immanuel Velikovsky. Then you will have your mind stretched and feel like there are endless possibilities.
 

Lawless

Senior Member
I don't know if I have been suffering from burnout or what. But lately, I haven't been motivated to write or even pick up a book.

By a strange coincidence, I posted a comment on that very topic half an hour ago:
www.writingforums.com/threads/someone-kick-me-in-the-tush.195141/page-2#post-2363068


What do you like to do to recharge and get yourself motivated for your next project? Or do you just hop right into it?

I hop right into it and write when I feel like it, except when it's something I have promised to complete by a certain date. In that case, I make a plan: based on how much I'll have to write and the deadline, I let Excel calculate how much I have to have written at any given day between today and the deadline. Then I just follow through with willpower, because I have no other choice, I have a contract to fulfill.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
By a strange coincidence, I posted a comment on that very topic half an hour ago:
www.writingforums.com/threads/someone-kick-me-in-the-tush.195141/page-2#post-2363068

I hop right into it and write when I feel like it, except when it's something I have promised to complete by a certain date. In that case, I make a plan: based on how much I'll have to write and the deadline, I let Excel calculate how much I have to have written at any given day between today and the deadline. Then I just follow through with willpower, because I have no other choice, I have a contract to fulfill.
I do the Excel thing too. But my calculation doesn't tell me how much I have to write each day, it tells me the date I will finish if I write at the same rate as did for the past 15 days. If I have a productive day then I can see the date move up. So it's a real incentive to increase or at least stay at the same word count rate. I have contracts for technical writing and I never have a problem fulfilling those. It's my contract with myself that I sometimes struggle with. I have fallen behind on occasion, but the calculation really helps, because even after a few productive days I can see the positive outcome on the completion date. The other good thing about this system is that you don't have to feel a failure if you miss one or two days because you are operating on a 15-day average, which is easy to catch up even sometimes by writing an extra 100 words a day.

I think it's important for me to know that there may be days that I don't have to write. Like yesterday for example. I couldn't get into my novel. So I decided to take one of my favorite author's books and examine the use of dialogue tags. I meticulously went through and made a note of each one, and documented them in alphabetical order and by type, i.e., ending with ed; said with a; using ing or ly. (Please feel free to let me know if these things have names.) I had already given myself permission not to write. But then after my exercise, I was really eager to put my research into practice, and before I knew it I had 600 words on my WIP.

I have often asked myself, why on some days, I lack the motivation to write my novel. And apparently, I'm not alone...lol! The only way I can explain it is, that I have to go to this special place in my brain to write fiction, and it's not always accessible. And I contrast this with technical writing, where I go to a different place in my brain and have never had a problem going there. For example, on Monday I am scheduled to write a financial training guide. I am looking forward to it and will have no difficulty getting right down to it. So what is the difference? I hear Kegan talk about "burnout." Is that it? Do we all have a creative capacity that limits us? And if yes, is this something we can control or augment? Because I find it hard to believe that this is merely a matter of willpower.
 
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bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
I don't know if I have been suffering from burnout or what. But lately, I haven't been motivated to write or even pick up a book. Don't get me wrong, I WANT to read and write but the idea of reading and writing right now sounds "exhausting" I have read and wrote some things here and there a little bit the past week, but the motivation and interest isn't quite there. I have been hanging out of Netflix to recharge. I was wanting to inhale some books too, in a sense. "Work on my writing without actually writing" thinking about voice and prose-the best writers are avid readers- but not feeling it. The last (completed) story I wrote took a lot out of me, as dumb as that sounds lol (it was less than 3,000 words)
The next project I want to do (other than the LM challenge) is going to be a long one, not book-length but gonna be way over 3,000 words. I hope I can work myself up to get excited and motivated to start it soon. I think I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I'm still learning my writing process so discovering what works for me seems to be half the battle. What do you like to do to recharge and get yourself motivated for your next project? Or do you just hop right into it?
Don't ask me. I'm all over the place at the moment.
Ask yourself, what is really pushing your buttons at the moment? What causes you to drag out the soapbox and get on your high horse.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
So I am currently working on plotting, yes, plotting-a person who came onto this forum saying I am a proud pantser! I don't hate plotting actually. Once I up my skills I can become more of a pantser, but the main reasons why I gave up writing my novel is 1. it was a hot mess, my ideas kept changing to the point I didn't know what I wanted to do with it. 2. It lacked decent structure. The OG idea and this idea are totally different, but thats ok, because the original idea I had, come to find out, wasnt my muse. As I was writing I discovered what I liked but couldn't figure out how to make it quite work. Over time, ideas came to me that made me realize I could make the story work after distancing myself.
I took a breather and focused on writing small projects and craft on here, and honestly, I still have a long way to go but...I think I'm at a decent point where I can try again. I understand story structure much more and am to the point where my writing isn't totally god awful and filled with filter words. lol
Truth is, I don't really wanna write a bunch of small stories, even if it's to improve my craft. I can see myself taking a break and writing something small here and there but I don't think I am a short story person.
I became hyper-focused on getting better and getting approval until the pressure made me not want to write (and it's no one's fault but mine) I am going to be taking a break from WF. I will pop in every now and again but I just need to write and not worry right away if it's any good. I can worry about fixing all that when I'm actually done with my draft. Currently, I am still plotting but I plan to start drafting again soon.
I'm sure I will be back beetching and moaning about something else eventually 😝✌️
 
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