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You ever get so overwhelmed you just cant get yourself to write? (1 Viewer)

KeganThompson

Senior Member
Kind of a weird question, no?
I overthink things and stress about the smallest stuff sometimes I make my brain hurt. Makes me not want to write because I began to second guess everything. Then my confidence goes down. Plus I get to the point where I'm not sure what to write. I ordered a couple of books that have writing prompts, so I can still focus on basic craft without overwhelming myself with a story. I might type up and rewrite prompts that I like the most. (books should be here tomorrow) But I haven't written hardly anything the past few days because I don't know my left from my right half the time. Been trying to focus on understanding story structure and getting back into reading. I'm thinking I may not be as big of a panster as I thought...if I want to try and write a book again I will need to do much more outlining. Don't want it to become a hot mess again lol. I definitely need to build on my confidence before I attempt to write another book. I have been considering participating in NaNoWriMo to some degree this year. Not sure yet.
ANYHOW.
Do you ever get overwhelmed with either, story ideas or how little you know or anything writing/ storytelling related?
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Do you ever get overwhelmed with either, story ideas or how little you know or anything writing/ storytelling related?
I never worry about "how little I know." I just work with what I have.

However, I was a little overwhelmed today. I am now 90% complete with my novel. BUT, I still have a lot of loose ends to wrap up in the next 10%. I had blocked out too many scenes to get it done. So today, before I could write, I had to think of some creative ways to cover off a lot of issues, without too many settings. I came up with a really great idea. A formal dinner party. All the main characters get invited. Sooo, lot's of opportunities to have multiple conversations in one chapter. Internal monologues, as the hostess, runs through each guest in her mind and the relationships between them while placing name cards. Then various combinations of guests. Everyone at the table; smaller groups of four at the table; even smaller groups of two at the table; AND off-table convos in the kitchen or on the balcony. When I started to write it was like a puzzle where I could just plunk down the various pieces and they seemed to fit together perfectly. Closed off a bunch of earlier trailers.

See that's what I love about writing. You can ALWAYS solve your problem...you just have to be confident, get creative, and don't let it overwhelm you to the point where you can't write.
 
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KeganThompson

Senior Member
I never worry about "how little I know." I just work with what I have.

However, I was a little overwhelmed today. I am now 90% complete with my novel. BUT, I still have a lot of loose ends to wrap up in the next 10%. I had blocked out too many scenes to get done. So today, before I could write, I had to think of some creative ways to cover off a lot of issues, without too many settings. I came up with a really great idea. A formal dinner party. All the main characters get invited. Sooo, lot's of opportunities to have multiple conversations in one chapter. Internal monologues, as the hostess, runs through each guest in her mind and the relationships between them while placing name cards. Then various combinations of guests. Everyone at the table; smaller groups of four at the table; even smaller groups of two at the table; AND off-table convos in the kitchen or on the balcony. When I started to write it was like a puzzle where I could just plunk the various pieces and they seemed to fit together perfectly. Closed off a bunch of earlier trailers.

See that's what I love about writing. You can ALWAYS solve your problem...you just have to be confident, get creative, and don't let it overwhelm you to the point where you can't write.
That's why I'm taking a small break. I haven't written anything past few days. I am good at coming up with some stuff on the fly. But to have a full picture I can go back to I need to learn how to outline better and learn structure. That was my biggest issue with the novel I tried to write before. I don't wanna do that again lol.
I will get back into the joys of writing once I have my break and focus on smaller tasks. I hope to improve my prose by using these prompt books without having to be overwhelmed with an idea AND prose. I still want to write even when I'm not sure what to write about ;)
Abd congrats! Can't wait until you finish! Are you planning on doing a lot of revising? I heard the bigger the pantser the bigger the revision lol. (Which of course isn't a bad thing. I like to do editing for the most part)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Abd congrats! Can't wait until you finish! Are you planning on doing a lot of revising? I heard the bigger the pantser the bigger the revision lol. (Which of course isn't a bad thing. I like to do editing for the most part)
Thanks! I'm not planning on a lot of revision, but we'll see what the beta readers say. I'm a big pantser for sure, but I don't think that it necessarily follows there will be more editing. Even though before I write, I never know exactly what I will write, I think about it a long time before it goes down on paper. And when I read back earlier chapters, some of them give me goosebumps! Anyway, I don't want to get too confident yet... Let's see what happens. :)
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Kind of a weird question, no?
I overthink things and stress about the smallest stuff sometimes I make my brain hurt. Makes me not want to write because I began to second guess everything. Then my confidence goes down. Plus I get to the point where I'm not sure what to write. I ordered a couple of books that have writing prompts, so I can still focus on basic craft without overwhelming myself with a story. I might type up and rewrite prompts that I like the most. (books should be here tomorrow) But I haven't written hardly anything the past few days because I don't know my left from my right half the time. Been trying to focus on understanding story structure and getting back into reading. I'm thinking I may not be as big of a panster as I thought...if I want to try and write a book again I will need to do much more outlining. Don't want it to become a hot mess again lol. I definitely need to build on my confidence before I attempt to write another book. I have been considering participating in NaNoWriMo to some degree this year. Not sure yet.
ANYHOW.
Do you ever get overwhelmed with either, story ideas or how little you know or anything writing/ storytelling related?
Taylor has given you some great advice - but I'd like to add my take.

Sometimes a project we're about to jump into can seem overwhelming. I mean, there are thousands of aspects we have to address where do we begin?? Ahhh! It makes you want to run and hide in the corner.

Everyone has this issue to some degree - and it's worst when you're new to writing because, if you're like I was, you keep thinking that you're not ready to start writing; you talk yourself into believing that either you're knowledge of grammar or your ability to tell the story isn't up to snuff, or your plot needs work, or you think there isn't enough -or- you have too much to write about.

My advice is to start small. Write something about what your MC had for breakfast... or tell a story of him/her going into the kitchen and making breakfast. Write something about a defining moment from your character's childhood. Start small and get to know your character - listen as they start speaking in your head, what words do they use a lot? What are their preferences about clothing, cars, etc. Who was their first love? All that stuff is useful as it will create a character with depth.

Let all that stuff build up - you're not working against a clock so you have time BUT BUT dedicate at least a few hours every single day to your writing. Keep at it until the project builds to critical mass... that's when you're ready to start writing.

THEN - open a new document (have your notes at hand)... and close your eyes. See your character (or however you story begins), feel that moment, and write.

It won't be perfect - an early draft of any work is never perfect, but editing cures all.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
Taylor has given you some great advice - but I'd like to add my take.

Sometimes a project we're about to jump into can seem overwhelming. I mean, there are thousands of aspects we have to address where do we begin?? Ahhh! It makes you want to run and hide in the corner.

Everyone has this issue to some degree - and it's worst when you're new to writing because, if you're like I was, you keep thinking that you're not ready to start writing; you talk yourself into believing that either you're knowledge of grammar or your ability to tell the story isn't up to snuff, or your plot needs work, or you think there isn't enough -or- you have too much to write about.

My advice is to start small. Write something about what your MC had for breakfast... or tell a story of him/her going into the kitchen and making breakfast. Write something about a defining moment from your character's childhood. Start small and get to know your character - listen as they start speaking in your head, what words do they use a lot? What are their preferences about clothing, cars, etc. Who was their first love? All that stuff is useful as it will create a character with depth.

Let all that stuff build up - you're not working against a clock so you have time BUT BUT dedicate at least a few hours every single day to your writing. Keep at it until the project builds to critical mass... that's when you're ready to start writing.

THEN - open a new document (have your notes at hand)... and close your eyes. See your character (or however you story begins), feel that moment, and write.

It won't be perfect - an early draft of any work is never perfect, but editing cures all.
How do you feel about NanoWriMo challenge? When I first heard of it earlier this year I was like NO WAY I could do that. But I am considering giving it a try. I wasn't going to do 50,000 words but 25,000-30,000 since I'm new at this. I don't know if I will try to work on the new novel idea I started or a different idea before trying to do a full 70,000-100,000 word novel again. I want to focus on my prose next couple of months. I feel like there is something major I'm missing in my ability. Something bigger than spelling or grammar. I I am lacking something that would help not only finish but finish a decent novel. Trying to learn more of what it is so I can work on closing that gab.
I don't have issues with characters telling me things, the issue is all the stuff that is spouted. Not all of it is going to work for the story, I gotta pick and choose which is a challenge in itself. I was told I was pretty good at writing more simple day to day tasks. So writing my MC pouring cereal should be something I could do, just to work on prose and not so much the story. (for now)
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
Thanks! I'm not planning on a lot of revision, but we'll see what the beta readers say. I'm a big pantser for sure, but I don't think that it necessarily follows there will be more editing. Even though before I write, I never know exactly what I will write, I think about it a long time before it goes down on paper. And when I read back earlier chapters, some of them give me goosebumps! Anyway, I don't want to get too confident yet... Let's see what happens. :)
so instead of outlining everything, you pants, you plot then you pants. haha thats what I was doing. unfortunately it didnt work out for me this time. hopefully with learning more about structure/beats it will be easier to have a better flow. I plan to have a mix of plotting and pantsing.
Do you have a deadline you gave yourself? when do you want it to be done by?
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
so instead of outlining everything, you pants, you plot then you pants. haha thats what I was doing. unfortunately it didnt work out for me this time. hopefully with learning more about structure/beats it will be easier to have a better flow. I plan to have a mix of plotting and pantsing.
Do you have a deadline you gave yourself? when do you want it to be done by?
Yes, that is exactly what I do. I plot first, just major points needed to hit, then pants, then plot some more, and then pants some more...lol! The goal I started with was two chapters a month. I am five chapters ahead of that and would like to be complete by early September.

I don't know anything about structure or beats. And even if I did, I'm not sure it would help me. I'm not good at trying to fit into a mold. I think I'm operating on gut feeling based on a sort of muscle memory of the many great authors I have read over the years, like James Clavell, Jackie Collins, James Michener, and Dan Brown. And maybe that makes it more challenging when each time I sit down to write I'm looking for that "inspiration", instead of knowing exactly what I will write. It's not the easiest way to write I'm sure, but it's pretty exhilarating when it works.

My wish for you is that you find a wonderful story that captivates you and you want to tell it. And that you don't get too bogged down in theory. Like indianroads says, you can fix a lot in editing. You might have to look outside of your own world to find this story. And developing your voice has more to do with a compelling story than it does with your diction, IMHO.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
Yes, that is exactly what I do. I plot first, just major points needed to hit, then pants, then plot some more, and then pants some more...lol! The goal I started with was two chapters a month. I am five chapters ahead of that and would like to be complete by early September.

I don't know anything about structure or beats. And even if I did, I'm not sure it would help me. I'm not good at trying to fit into a mold. I think I'm operating on gut feeling based on a sort of muscle memory of the many great authors I have read over the years, like James Clavell, Jackie Collins, James Michener, and Dan Brown. And maybe that makes it more challenging when each time I sit down to write I'm looking for that "inspiration", instead of knowing exactly what I will write. It's not the easiest way to write I'm sure, but it's pretty exhilarating when it works.

My wish for you is that you find a wonderful story that captivates you and you want to tell it. And that you don't get too bogged down in theory. Like indianroads says, you can fix a lot in editing. You might have to look outside of your own world to find this story. And developing your voice has more to do with a compelling story than it does with your diction, IMHO.
I think I found the new story I want to write. My other one got too messy and I'd have to do a complete rewrite. I became unsure on what I wanted, under confident and lacked knowledge of pacing so it fell a part. I do want to try the story again eventually but I dont have a clear view of what i want yet. This other idea is challenging too with its themes but now that I am understanding the basics I think I'm more incline to finish and have structure to finish. I know where I went wrong last time at least. I just dont want it to happen again and fail. I'd like to add some art work to this new story development. So that would be fun.
I got some interesting ideas. I like the day to day life mixed with a bit of a twist haha. Just need to know how to execute my ideas and string them together properly. As you have been made aware, my plots are character/ emotionally driven.
My issues don't seem to be finding a story, my issue is execution and knowledge of how to do so. I will keep writing, hopefully building my confidence to start a new big story soon.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
How do you feel about NanoWriMo challenge? When I first heard of it earlier this year I was like NO WAY I could do that. But I am considering giving it a try. I wasn't going to do 50,000 words but 25,000-30,000 since I'm new at this. I don't know if I will try to work on the new novel idea I started or a different idea before trying to do a full 70,000-100,000 word novel again. I want to focus on my prose next couple of months. I feel like there is something major I'm missing in my ability. Something bigger than spelling or grammar. I I am lacking something that would help not only finish but finish a decent novel. Trying to learn more of what it is so I can work on closing that gab.
I don't have issues with characters telling me things, the issue is all the stuff that is spouted. Not all of it is going to work for the story, I gotta pick and choose which is a challenge in itself. I was told I was pretty good at writing more simple day to day tasks. So writing my MC pouring cereal should be something I could do, just to work on prose and not so much the story. (for now)
I’ve never done theNanoWriMo because it doesn’t appeal to me. For a new writer it might be like someone that’s just learning to drive piloting a slingshot down a quarter mile track at 300 mph. There’s a risk of it doing more harm than good.

ETA:
Why not write a blog for a while to build endurance and start to create a process that works for you?
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
I’ve never done theNanoWriMo because it doesn’t appeal to me. For a new writer it might be like someone that’s just learning to drive piloting a slingshot down a quarter mile track at 300 mph. There’s a risk of it doing more harm than good.
thats how I feel, I dont want to make up whatever just to get words down and having to completely do it over again. I like pantsing to a degree but I'm learning I need to plot more than I did last time. I know a lot of people say its a good motivator, especially for new writers. But it might stress me out too much and thats what I want to do less of
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
IMO a blog that's a series of short stories (they don't have to be closely related) - maybe tales from your childhood or whatever - I think is a good idea. That's how I started out. I wrote a blog about trips I took my my motorcycle.
I made a website for myself and posted the stories there (indianroads.net - I now use it as my author website). Creating a framework for the discipline of writing is good too - and a website gets you used to publishing.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I think I found the new story I want to write.
Perfect! Now start writing things down about it. You don't have to write the story yet, just capture ideas. I started with a three-ring binder and loose-leaf. That way I could add and take out pages. I wrote one-liners that described the theme. I wrote out character bios. Ideas for scenes, conflicts, resolutions, anything really...any ideas I had. I wrote a few scenes. I didn't worry about the order. Then once I had a bunch of ideas I started an outline. Eventually, I moved to a pegboard and Post its, because I wanted to be able to move things around and see it all as one big picture.

Just need to know how to execute my ideas and string them together properly.
Just my opinion, but you may never fully "know" how to do this for the first novel. You will learn as you go.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
Perfect! Now start writing things down about it. You don't have to write the story yet, just capture ideas. I started with a three-ring binder and loose-leaf. That way I could add and take out pages. I wrote one-liners that described the theme. I wrote out character bios. Ideas for scenes, conflicts, resolutions, anything really...any ideas I had. I wrote a few scenes. I didn't worry about the order. Then once I had a bunch of ideas I started an outline. Eventually, I moved to a pegboard and Post its, because I wanted to be able to move things around and see it all as one big picture.


Just my opinion, but you may never fully "know" how to do this for the first novel. You will learn as you go.
so you're not a complete panster. sounds like your a "Planster"-haha
I have been thinking about doing the same thing. Writing down some liners and inspo that come to me until I feel ready to start. I did start a basic doc with Ideas and printed out an outline sheet to help me focus on the main plot points and where they go. Our planning/ plotting style seem to be similar. I'm still learning the best way to plot/ start ideas but it seems like its headed in the way you like to do it :)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
so you're not a complete panster. sounds like your a "Planster"-haha
I have been thinking about doing the same thing. Writing down some liners and inspo that come to me until I feel ready to start. I did start a basic doc with Ideas and printed out an outline sheet to help me focus on the main plot points and where they go. Our planning/ plotting style seem to be similar. I'm still learning the best way to plot/ start ideas but it seems like its headed in the way you like to do it
Yes, I'd agree, I'm a Planster...lol! I think we all are to varying degrees.

I like your approach and hope I can provide support as you go. Not being too experienced, myself may help as we may see things the same way. So excited for you !!:D
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
Yes, I'd agree, I'm a Planster...lol! I think we all are to varying degrees.

I like your approach and hope I can provide support as you go. Not being too experienced, myself may help as we may see things the same way. So excited for you !!:D
I am excited for you too! I would like to read when you're finished. Idk how good of a beta reader I would be though.
Thank you, if it's okay with you, when I am able to put together a collection ideas, I'd like to know your thoughts. I need feed back regarding not just my prose but my ideas. I think that would help me gain more confidence. there are topics I am looking into currently but I am curious at to what someone would think about my concept. the smallest of feedback I really think would help me out a lot and I'd really appreciate it. :)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I am excited for you too! I would like to read when you're finished. Idk how good of a beta reader I would be though.
Thank you, if it's okay with you, when I am able to put together a collection ideas, I'd like to know your thoughts. I need feed back regarding not just my prose but my ideas. I think that would help me gain more confidence. there are topics I am looking into currently but I am curious at to what someone would think about my concept. the smallest of feedback I really think would help me out a lot and I'd really appreciate it. :)
I would love to help you in this way. There is a section on plot and character development on the forum that doesn't get used all that much.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
I just realized I posted this in spelling and other tips, lol I thought it was in writing discussion. Sorry if I posted it in the wrong place. I will check out character and plot development section :)
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
I'm going to echo IR's comments. If you're having trouble thinking big, aim small.

Look at this like a two-week getaway. A complete novel is daunting in the same way as somebody asking what you did on vacation; you went a lot of places and you saw a lot of things, and the impulse is to either condense so much that the flavor of the trip is lost or go into detail that exceeds of the limits of the question.

(excised a small novel's worth of example here)

But suppose you don't think about the vacation as a whole. Think about day by day, one memory at a time. Chances are each stop can carry a story of its own. You've got a whole string of self-contained plots, each of which can be told from multiple perspectives. Each can stand alone - and once you've got enough, you can plug those into a larger narrative.

So in your case...take one of your characters. Find some small incident from their lives. Whether or not it bears on the primary story you're trying to tell is immaterial. All that's required is their involvement. Plot relevance is optional.

Then write it. Let them win fifty bucks on a scratch-off ticket. Steal their wallet. Send them to Taco Bell at 3AM on a snack run. Introduce them to the neighbor's dog.

Doesn't have to be a big thing. A couple of thousand words at most. And all the time you're writing this stuff you're getting more familiar with their story and how it can best be told. Even if it never sees the light of day you'll have a better grasp of your characters and the how/why of the things they do. You'll also be operating out from under the weight of the Big Plot.

So pull a string. See where it goes.
 

Dr Hooss

Senior Member
I write to stop myself from being overwhelmed by snippets of dialogue, visions of scenes and ideas for plotlines. I feel overwhelmed as I am writing but in an exciting and exhilarating way. I keep writing until I no longer feel overwhelmed by the cacophony of ideas, images and phrases jostling for position. Then later on I go back and tidy up the vast stream of consciousness into something intelligible to people other than myself. After whicch I have a temporary sense of having brought order to the chaos of my thoughts.
 
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