L._. asks from Lakeside, CA on November 21, 2011
Do We Have Any Writers on Here?
I have a question about writing. I love to read and get all kinds of crazy ideas about books. But I can NOT force myself to write ANYTHING. I tell myself all the time that one day I'll take a class. I even signed up for a correspondence class and paid 600 bucks for it. I get so embarrassed at the thought of anyone reading anything, I wouldn't finish it. STUPID. I've tried many times to force myself to write and bought all kinds of books. I read them for awhile. But when faced with an assignment of writing anything at all, I just shut down. Why am I such a COWARD?! It can't be writers block when I'm not a writer!!! LOL.
So my question....Is it possible to overcome a fear of writing, at least, enough to try. Or is this just me not being a writer, can't ever be one, shouldn't even be thinking about it? Is it even worth it? It's not like writing is the best career path for anyone. I mean most writers work their arses off most of their lives and never make more than a pittance and very few will write some best sellers like the Harry Potter writer.
I really wish I had a good friend/writer that would take my ideas and do something with them.
4 moms found this helpful
A.J. answers from Williamsport on November 21, 2011
Just tell yourself you don't have to show it to anyone, and you don't have to finish it, but keep your "file" (book idea, story idea, article, etc) saved where you can easily access it and start disciplining yourself to work on it a little every day or at least somewhat frequently, again, no pressure at all to finish or show it. If you are disciplined enough to "work on it" then after a while, you will see if it is taking shape or not, and you can ditch it for a new one, or start editing and perfecting it. If you get a finished product YOU are happy with, (or almost happy with) you can look into where to go from there to have it proof read and submitted properly for it's genre. Or not! Don't let the fear of future failure or rejection keep you from writing something. Once I dabbled and journaled a day in the life type thing, then honed it a bit and sent it into mamapedia back when it was mamasource, and they posted it. It was called Men Don't Wear Earrings. I was shocked since I didn't intend to show it when I first wrote it. You never know when you'll see a perfect magazine or something for a piece you might have once you have one!
2 moms found this helpful
J.L. answers from Minneapolis on November 21, 2011
It depends on what type of "writing" you want to do, and how well you can tolerate criticism.
Most professional writers do not limit themselves to just fiction. Many successful fiction writers have a background in journalism. In a career like that you get used to writing under the *daily* pressure of deadlines, hone your craft because you are writing daily, get skilled at research, and get used to criticism as you face an editor and public opinion daily.
By the way, whether you write fiction or for a major publication, if you don't take criticism well - there is alot of this in the writing world - you may find you're not cut out for this. No one is going to take your material and help you make it into something. They'll send you back to the drawing board to fix grammar and semantics, but the creativity, will and drive has to come from you because you're motivated.
Try writing for a community newspaper in your area or consider taking classes at a community college if you're serious about this. Blogging is good experience too, but short of you having studied journalism at school, you won't necessarily learn the art of writing through blogging. There are lots of blogs out there, but the sites that are written by professionals are the most successful and stand out above the rest.
Lastly, write about what you know. Most successful writers stick to experiences and information they know very well because they find the ideas or topics flow much easier.
Furthermore, the stories (especially fiction) have more veracity, authenticity, and tend to be more engaging because the writer can better express themselves through sharing real life experiences that are universally relatable by others (readers). Readers like connecting with the book's author. If you are able to share experiences or recreate familiar experiences with others, you will most definitely have engaged readers and a successful book.
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A.V. answers from Washington DC on November 21, 2011
Most writers I know have day jobs. It doesn't pay well for many people. Journalism, for example - half the "pay" is to see your name in print. But that's the nature of the thing, really.
As for not being able to finish your work or being afraid someone will not like it, just write for you. Write so YOU finish YOUR story. Then if someone else likes it, yippee. If not, you wrote for yourself.
Right now, just focus on finishing. Write out an outline of the whole story so if you come back later, you aren't scratching your head (I've done that and wondered what mystery I was setting up there....).
I don't think it's fear of writing. I think it's fear of failure. But you can't succeed if you don't try.
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R.A. answers from Providence on November 21, 2011
My first thought was, send me some of your ideas. Nothing in the writing world is ever stupid. At least I don't think so. I have been in the process of writing a book for the last two years. It takes commitment. You can't force yourself to write, the desire has to come through. You have the equivalent of an actor having "stage fright". Until you can let go of your fears, and just jump in, you might be sitting on that fence for awhile. For me, I started with poetry. It has a start, and finish, and doesn't take as long as a short story or novel. I write them all the time now. Even some people would request one from me for a special occasion.
I have a to go person for all of my writing ideas, thoughts, etc. She is my best friend and I trust her with everything I have. She looks at it, and gives me her honest opinion. It works for me.
You also can find some one to help or assist, or even write your thoughts, ideas down for you. I however, am a perfectionist, so I would rather do the work myself.
I would suggest taking that class. You never know what could happen! :)
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H.W. answers from Portland on November 21, 2011
I don't write for pay, but I've been writing for pleasure--for myself--since I was eight.
Whether it was journaling or poetry, I was always busy putting pen to paper. That's just how I process. I'd say that other people have only seen 1% of what I've worked on or written.
Before I was a mom, I spent six years immersed in the poetry scene here. (This is how I met my now-husband.) I was part of a group of self-described 'guerilla poets' (we read on the street, spontaneously) and did readings with the group out at gatherings, on the street, crashed Wordstock, read out in front of the library for National Poetry Month each year. After a while of this, started to be asked to come read my work on my own. It was very validating. My husband is a great editor and we'd help each other fine tune/finesse our poetry. This has led to some fun claims ("I've read at Powell's!" )and I've made some new connections into the community, like when I was asked to read at a tap dance showcase, of all things.
When I became pregnant, I became 'allergic' to the scene, so to speak. I was tired, I was fuzzy-headed by 6 pm and I couldn't stand the less-lovely sides of hanging out with poets. My brain stopped putting words together and I took up watercolor. A few months after Kiddo was born, I started a new kind of writing, one intentionally focused on parenting, helpful suggestions, and immersed in my life with Kiddo. Hence, the blog I have now.
I have a book I'm working on from time to time. It's going to take a long time because, unlike some of the previous responses, I am not a disciplined writer. I have become very disciplined in other aspects of my life and for now, have decided to leave writing as a pleasure I can keep for myself. At some point, I hope to go further with it, for now, it's something I look forward to.
I suppose my point in all of this is this: try it out in your quiet moments, as a hobby. No pressure. Just writing down a synopsis will be a start. If you have ideas to share, start a blog. You can always take it down if you aren't happy with it. I can tell you that my blog doesn't have a ton of hits by any means, but it is a good outlet for me and I get feedback from friends (often not on the blog but in real life) which is encouraging. The bigger picture is that following my natural tendency to write has changed my life significantly, even without all the fun, memorable moments. Ultimately, though, I do it because I enjoy it.
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S.M. answers from Washington DC on November 21, 2011
What I learned in grad school and have observed in great writers I have met is this. Set a time early every morning and force yourself to write. Get a blank notebook and a pen, set the timer, and write something. If all that you get out is a shopping list, consider yourself productive. Don't worry about someone reading it, assume they won't. Don't worry about constructing great sentences. Good writers write in bits and pieces and outlines and go back later to fill in the details if they want. What is important is getting your thoughts out there. Write down your ideas. It is the process that matters, it's the part that makes you think more deeply, and expand your ideas. But you have to be diligent - even 15 minutes sitting in bed in the morning is a start.
Don't worry about how-to books and gimmicks to become an author. Journal for a year, see what you end up with. By then, you might be comfortable picking an idea to expand upon. Maybe send a sketch to a publisher :)
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N.P. answers from San Francisco on November 22, 2011
You can trick yourself into writing by putting pen to paper and calling it a Journal or a Diary. Write your stories in a secret place where you don't have to worry about showing your hidden worlds to anyone, then, one day when you have a small pile of them, you may feel confident enough to let one come out and play.
J.S. answers from Jacksonville on November 21, 2011
I am working on my second novel now. My first was what I will call my "starter novel". I loved the characters, I love the story, but I also understand that it will take a few shots for me to get it right. I write because I have a story to tell, I understand that I will never get rich from it (though a girl can dream).
I took the plunge and sent off a bunch of queries to agents. Got shot down at least fifty times. It does get discouraging. But last month I went to a writers conference and had a meeting with an agent. I pitch the idea of my new book to her and she loved it. If I can just get my writing to meet her standards we may have something.
Writing takes commitment and passion. In almost every free minute I have I think about my book, how to improve it, how the characters would react to a certain situation, developing their lives in my mind.
Sometimes to get what you really want you have to take the plunge.