8 Comments

When “Just Do It” Isn’t The Advice You Want To Hear

I’ve sort of drifted into this weird limbo of not getting much writing done. I still really love the story, but I think I’m psyching myself out into doubting my abilities. Can’t put my finger on where this is coming from. The feedback from what I’ve written so far has been good and the next scene is clear in my head, but the writing? Not with the happening. I know every writer goes through this and the only solution is to Get Butt in Chair and WRITE.

It’s just . . .

I really don’t want to hear that advice right now. And I guess that’s because hearing what I know I have to do only makes me feel like a bigger loser for not doing it. I’m not used to this at all. I’m more of a “What’s the problem? Let’s solve it.” kind of thinker. Especially when it comes to other people’s problems. But maybe certain problems don’t require a solution or, rather, the solution is simply a friendly ear and a little understanding.

Thoughts?

8 comments on “When “Just Do It” Isn’t The Advice You Want To Hear

  1. When I was working on the novel that was going to be my “this is the first book I’m going to write and try to seriously finish and do something with” it was going very much how you described.

    Good feedback, seeing the scenes in my head, the whole deal you described.

    And I felt the same. Why can’t I just put my butt in the chair and write the words until the right ones come out?

    Because I can’t. If it’s not working for me, if there is some kind of disconnect, I can not do the “I’ll just write until it starts working again.”

    At least, not on that story. I set it aside. I worked on a few small non-writing projects. I started the Tell Me a Story series to keep my writing muscles flexed. And then I picked up…a different story.

    That different story I picked up is now complete, critiqued, and due to be released before the year is out. That first story – I’ll return to it, but it just wasn’t time.

    Maybe you don’t need as much time as I did, but you shouldn’t feel like walking away or taking a break is the losing way to go. Just because a lot of other people say “just do it” doesn’t mean what they are saying is right for you.

    (And if you literally meant you just wanted someone to listen and I totally just talked to much, I blame it on being raised with too many men – they are problem solvers, not problem listeners šŸ˜‰ )

    • I’ve had a bunch of ideas I’ve partially outlined or wrote and they weren’t the right ones to go with. Then the current one came along and it felt . . . different. So, I feel like dropping it is like throwing away my Stairway to Heaven. Or something like that. But putting it aside to read and/or write something different could be a good way to go. Appreciate the ear.

  2. I’m not sure how I want to say this. But here it is. Maybe you don’t want it badly enough. Maybe you want it, but not to the point of making sacrifices for it or really working for it. When I worked for Weight Watchers, this was something we talked about. Those of us who ate correctly and exercised only part of the time, then went back to the “bad” ways didn’t want it enough to continue doing the right things to get it. Does that make sense? Maybe you aren’t ready. You have to almost crave it; getting that story done is something you NEED.

    Okay, here I am, like Amber said, talking instead of listening. My advice isn’t “Just Do It”. My advice is “Just Do It…Or Don’t”. It’s your right to choose. Make sure you haven’t pushed yourself into writing the story. Step back and make sure that’s what you really want. I’ve balked against writing stories more times than you can imagine. It’s not until I decide it’s what I really want that I’m able to “Just Do It”.

    • It’s true that writing this story is not my number one priority. It’s up there and it’s exciting to know I’ll one day have a story I MADE UP to share with people. It’ll happen, that much I know. But even if I was rabid to get this done, I’d still be in the spot I’m in and probably freaking out over it.

      I don’t feel forced into writing my story. I do it, solely, out of love for the idea. I could find plenty of other ways to spend my free time. But I honestly don’t know what my problem is. It might be as simple as a temporary feeling lameness. It did feel good writing it out and now talking about it with everyone.

  3. I believe that sometimes, the best thing to do is set a story aside. More importantly, we should always listen to our instincts. If yours are telling you to just NOT do it, I say don’t.

    I was grappling with a story for a long time, after getting too much feedback on the idea and the draft as I wrote it. My gut told me another story was looming, so I switched gears and wrote half of the next novel in less time it took for me to write 30 pages of the last.

    Looking inward to determine what’s at the root of our inclinations can also go a long way. I believe in life-block, but not writers’ block. Whatever you decide, good luck!

  4. For me, those moments happen at a time when I need the story to “gel” – pushing too hard, forcing myself to write something I’m “meh” about or feel unmotivated about usually ends up hurting the story structure. The forcing of it is obvious in the writing.

    I can tell the difference between that a genuine writer’s block because I am still able to write other things — other stories, blog posts, etc. But then I’m one of those writers who usually has two (or ten) stories “in progress” at any one time, and when one stalls out I can put it aside and let it settle while I work on other stuff. I know some authors simply cannot work that way, but it’s a great system for me to stay writing even when a certain story is proving difficult.

    So I guess my advice would be to look at your usual writing methodology, and try to figure out if this is a gigantic stall of your overall creativity or if maybe there is something about that particular story that needs more time to come to fruition, even if you can’t see what that entails yet. /2 cents

  5. You know we all feel like this… maybe you just need to walk away and take a break? Do something else that you love? It sounds like you feel required to do this, not that you want to do this. I believe in your talent and know that it’s there, but sometimes we all just need a cleanse of some sort.

  6. @August- Seems like the consensus is to step away for a bit and come back to either writing something new or attack the current WIP with a rested brain. Think I’ll try both and see what works.

    @Kim- I’ve got another story idea. One that gets me almost as excited as the current WIP. Might work on that or maybe even get more posty on the blog. Writing out what’s on my mind helps me figure out what to do next.

    @Tiff- I don’t feel like I have to write this story. I really like it and I know I’ll get back to it. But maybe a break from it is the way to go for me.

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