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Old 1st January 2012, 11:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

I haven't written a thing, pleasure related, since this last summer. I finally have time to get back into writing, after receiving my B.S., but it seems like my anxiety won't allow me to progress. I believe I just feel generally overwhelmed with the research. I have three stories that I like and want to do, but all need separate research. I don't know where I should begin, how much time I should put in, what I should be reading, ect. Am I just making the "amateur" mistake of thinking everything has to be perfect? Should I just pick one and just go at it?

I am not an anxious/stressful person, and I enjoy writing. I just seem can't take the step from a non-researched short story to a full fledged novel, but I want to.
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Old 1st January 2012, 11:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

I'd say it's not anxiety, but lack of focus and inspiration. So maybe something like this will help :-)

http://www.austinkleon.com/2011/03/3...obody-told-me/
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Old 1st January 2012, 11:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

I think the old advice might be the best; write a few words every day, maybe in a diary or something and don't look at the big picture of the novel, get a little confidence back first.

I'm very familiar with the feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed. When i get like that, I find i need a little bit of time to relax and sort my thoughts out, and there's no point fighting against it until it eases a bit; which might take a day, or a week, even occasionally longer. But that's just me.

If you've just come out of a BSC and all the pressure of that, and now have changed tacks to something very different you might need a bit of time to adjust to a different type of thinking.

Also, to have 3 projects on the go at once is quite daunting, especially if they all need research. It all sounds a bit much if you're anxious already.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 12:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

You're going to be stressed out after the BSc: I remember months before I could really believe it was done and I'd graduated, before my nerves settled from taut enough to twang...

You're clearly in no fit state to tackle a novel, never mind three, but you may be able to write short stories. So, get a 'reporter' note-pad and keep it handy for when you wake with half an idea...

I don't expect you'll see much at first, but wild notions will come...
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Old 2nd January 2012, 12:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

Meditation and maybe take one project and focus in on it.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 07:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

Ask yourself why you want to write in the first place. I think you might find inspiration and direction there.
I do every time I ask my self the same question. I could give you my answer, but my answer will not be your answer, it might help you find your answer, but only you can say why you want to write what you do, so only you can tell yourself what to do with your writing energies.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 09:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

Mouse started a topic entitled 'Write what you know' and he/she's spot on. But more than that, write not only what you know, but what you're passionate about. Subjects about which you not only know, but inspire you, that drive you, the stuff that makes you intensely focused. Research is a very left brained activity, whilst creative writing is very right brained, so that's where you may be having trouble putting pen to paper.

What are the books about if I may ask?
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Old 2nd January 2012, 09:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

I'd just start writing -- that's what works for me, but it may not work for you. Stop worrying about perfection and see where your ideas take you. You can always fix it later.

It's so easy to get paralysed with doubt about having to write things perfectly the first time (the hacksaw thread in GWD covered this nicely). In my --very limited -- experience, once you start writing, it's much easier to keep writing.

I also agree with Nik -- it took me months to come down after graduation (congratulations, by the way) -- I kept expecting them to come and take it back.

(Mouse is a she -- despite the lack of bejewelled coronet -- Write what you know)
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Old 2nd January 2012, 10:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

It's certainly worth reading the "Write what you now" thread. In your case, I think you might do best to forget about the research for the moment and just start one of the stories. Get the characters established and get yourself into it, and then research as you need to. And start by writing just for yourself -- if you're anxious about getting it right, it might be because you're too aware of the possibility of your writing being judged and found wanting/inaccurate by others in the future. Forget about them!
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Old 2nd January 2012, 10:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

I find some planning takes the pressure off, because then I feel "safe" in that I know where I'm likely to be going. But this can just be a short, initial synopsis, and maybe a page or two of ideas to do with setting and characters.

Definitely, I would just start writing, BUT with no pressure. See it as good practice, and if anything is good enough to keep then that's just a bonus.

Also, make time reading. It'll relax you, and help you know better what you're doing. I never read "properly" before I started writing, in that I missed a lot of detail. Now 95% of what I learn about how to write comes from careful, appreciative reading.

Coragem.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 10:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

Is the problem writing in general, or working on the specific projects that need research?

You might start writing something small and unrelated that requires no research, just to get the joy of writing back. Certainly at least try to write something creative each day, regardless of whether it has anything to do with anything else.

No one can really tell you how to tackle the research, especially not what books you need to be reading without knowing what your projects are about. Or even if we did know really, since we aren't you and don't know your inner workings. I would suggest though that you don't try to tackle them all at once. Do a little bit each day on a single project, whichever interests you most on the day, and just ease yourself into it at a relaxing pace. As you get back into the flow you can adjust your methods to suit your comfort levels.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 11:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex View Post
(Mouse is a she -- despite the lack of bejewelled coronet)
Ooh, but can I get me one? Can I borrow TJ's?

Arkose, yes, I'm having the exact same problem. The thought of having to research is stalling my writing anything longer than a short story. Check out the thread and see what people have suggested.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 12:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dozmonic View Post
I'd say it's not anxiety, but lack of focus and inspiration. So maybe something like this will help :-)

http://www.austinkleon.com/2011/03/3...obody-told-me/
Thanks for the good read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by springs1971 View Post
I think the old advice might be the best; write a few words every day, maybe in a diary or something and don't look at the big picture of the novel, get a little confidence back first.

I'm very familiar with the feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed. When i get like that, I find i need a little bit of time to relax and sort my thoughts out, and there's no point fighting against it until it eases a bit; which might take a day, or a week, even occasionally longer. But that's just me.

If you've just come out of a BSC and all the pressure of that, and now have changed tacks to something very different you might need a bit of time to adjust to a different type of thinking.

Also, to have 3 projects on the go at once is quite daunting, especially if they all need research. It all sounds a bit much if you're anxious already.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nik View Post
You're going to be stressed out after the BSc: I remember months before I could really believe it was done and I'd graduated, before my nerves settled from taut enough to twang...

You're clearly in no fit state to tackle a novel, never mind three, but you may be able to write short stories. So, get a 'reporter' note-pad and keep it handy for when you wake with half an idea...

I don't expect you'll see much at first, but wild notions will come...
Quote:
Originally Posted by HareBrain View Post
It's certainly worth reading the "Write what you now" thread. In your case, I think you might do best to forget about the research for the moment and just start one of the stories. Get the characters established and get yourself into it, and then research as you need to. And start by writing just for yourself -- if you're anxious about getting it right, it might be because you're too aware of the possibility of your writing being judged and found wanting/inaccurate by others in the future. Forget about them!
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMB View Post
Is the problem writing in general, or working on the specific projects that need research?

You might start writing something small and unrelated that requires no research, just to get the joy of writing back. Certainly at least try to write something creative each day, regardless of whether it has anything to do with anything else.
I believe you all are right, and I will focus on a smaller project like extending my 75 word challenge story to a fun little short story. Something that had me entertained and wont need much research, but would get me writing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnyaKimlin View Post
Meditation and maybe take one project and focus in on it.
Does going to the gym count?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex View Post
I'd just start writing -- that's what works for me, but it may not work for you. Stop worrying about perfection and see where your ideas take you. You can always fix it later.

It's so easy to get paralysed with doubt about having to write things perfectly the first time (the hacksaw thread in GWD covered this nicely). In my --very limited -- experience, once you start writing, it's much easier to keep writing.

I also agree with Nik -- it took me months to come down after graduation (congratulations, by the way) -- I kept expecting them to come and take it back.
They can take it back

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coragem View Post
I find some planning takes the pressure off, because then I feel "safe" in that I know where I'm likely to be going. But this can just be a short, initial synopsis, and maybe a page or two of ideas to do with setting and characters.

Also, make time reading. It'll relax you, and help you know better what you're doing. I never read "properly" before I started writing, in that I missed a lot of detail. Now 95% of what I learn about how to write comes from careful, appreciative reading.
Never thought about writing a short synopsis, it could be helpful.

I probably should read more, maybe I will revisit Tales of Otori.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varangian View Post

What are the books about if I may ask?
1. A Santa Trilogy (steampunk esk genre) aimed at YA-Adult (flip flopping)
2. A Epic Fantasy ( 3 "friends" taking different paths for the same goal)
3. A single story (Alternate History/Steampunk). Mexico invading U.S. over water issues.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 12:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkose View Post
Does going to the gym count?
Do you meditate when there ?
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Old 2nd January 2012, 04:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Ideas/suggestions for removing my writing anxiety

Splurge it all out onto paper/screen and sort the wheat and the chaff later. Once you start having fun again and enjoying your characters' company, you'll get back to taking it seriously again.

Writing a book is like having a loving, lasting relationship with a beautiful woman, only slightly more probable
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