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Getting Motivated

Comicality

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Sometimes...the hardest, most unbelievably difficult, part of any story...is the first five paragraphs! It is grueling, it is maddening, it is downright FRIGHTENING at times! And it's hard to really explain why that is to people who don't write all the time. It's a level of insanity that only writers and other artists will ever really know. Because this is the 'kickoff' when it comes to starting a new project. It's the equivalent of throwing the first punch in a fight. Like..."Ok! This is it! Here we go! I hope I know what I'm doing!" And while writing may seem like a relaxing, expressive, and therapeutic exercise in general...this first step forward can be more intimidating than any other part of the process. This is the leap of faith. This is telling yourself that you're actually going to take a shot at making this idea in your head a reality...and you'd better do it right. Because you can't be an artist without taking your armor off. You've got to be vulnerable. You've got to show people your true self, and HOPE that they approve. The world is watching now. I can't think of anything that could be more terrifying when it comes to writing my own stuff. So I'm right there with you, even after years of practice and experience.

 

The thing is...the pressure to get things right on the first try can create a feeling of dread in all of us...even if we don't recognize it as such. We begin to procrastinate. We tell ourselves that our ideas aren't ready yet, or that we're still 'fleshing it out', or we just start binge watching Netflix shows so we have an excuse to not commit until later. And while that keeps our mixed up creative minds calm and comfortable for the time being...it can stop our most gifted thoughts and emotions from ever making it on to the page. Or...the screen. Whatever. We need to recognize this subtle self intimidation for what it is so we can conquer it and actually get something done. Otherwise...your personal story is going to stay stuck in limbo for YEARS...if not forever!

So let's push that weirdness aside and get MOTIVATED, shall we?

 

First things first...sit at your keyboard, and open up that program. Whatever you use to write with...open it up, and let that harsh blank page stare you in the face until you come up with something to say. That's the hardest part. Think of your story as a whole, pick a golden spot to start from, and then word your first few sentences based on that idea.

Easier said than done, I'm sure. But that's the most important part of writing anything. Getting the ball rolling.

 

I realize that a million thoughts are going through your head at this point, and it's easy to feel like the entire story is weighing heavily on your shoulders, but you just have to dive into it without thinking too much. In our heads, we may be thinking of characters and story elements that are waaaaay down the road from those first few sentences. Twists and turns and romantic encounters and everything that we had planned out from the very beginning. But for right now, you just want to find that special jump off point. Nothing else. The rest will come naturally as the story progresses, so try your best to keep from feeling like you have to write an entire book In one sitting by the stroke of midnight. That only adds to the pressure, and before you know it, you'll be opening up your YouTube account in a separate window and you'll be right back to being lazy and distracted. Hehehe! STOP that!

 

For me personally, when I want to get a brand new story or even a brand new chapter of a continuing story started...I think about the main character and where I want him to be at that particular point of the story. Who is he? Where is he? How can I put this character in a place where I can provide the reader with some much needed information about him/her/them? I've written stories that start off with my protagonist's relationship with their parents, and some where they seem to just be hanging out with good friends. Sometimes, their life starts out normal and that beautiful stranger shows up later to flip their whole world upside down. Other times, the very first sentence of the story might be, "He was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen." Boom! You're instantly drawn into the moment. You get a chance to describe the love interest, maybe give a brief history of where this beauty came from, and also have the main character show the audience who they are. Starting a story is all about picking the right moment. Different ways of doing this could be starting at the 'end' of your story, and explaining how the main character got there by having the whole story play out as a flashback. Or you could choose a moment that seems mundane at first, but is soon given detail and meaning through the first few paragraphs to follow.

 

But you want something that will grab your reader's attention right away. Something that will intrigue them and urge them to keep reading to see what happens next. Once you choose that moment, and you make that leap...you can settle in and begin molding your sculpture into something beautiful.

 

Find a moment that starts your main character off in the middle of his journey. At the top of the roller coaster, just about to take that first exciting dip downward...so that you, as a writer, can get excited about this story too. There will be an urge to start off really slow, thinking that you have to have a basic beginning before you get into anything more interesting. Don't. Get your readers involved right away, and if you have to go back and add some more details to your foundation later, then so be it. But, as I always say, an author's worst enemy is that 'backspace' button on the keyboard. You've only got a small window to impress your readers, especially if they're brand new to your writing. So don't take the 'slow burn' approach. Dive in, and have the dive right in behind you.

 

Once you begin writing, the momentum will build all on its own. You'll begin to feel your fears and tensions relax, and focus more on the flow and rhythm of what you're writing in that chosen moment. Simply pick your peak...and then ski down to the bottom of the mountain when your muse is all out of juice. Then...take a break. Don't force it. Allow the idea to be 'born' on its own. Your only job is to kick it into gear.

 

Visualize where you want to go, and force yourself to take those first few awkward steps towards getting there. Don't let the distractions and excuses stop you. Write a few sentences. Then a few paragraphs. Then a few pages. And the more you build upon what you started with, you'll find yourself pounding away at those keyboard keys until you almost don't want to break away to go to sleep for the night. You may not believe me now, but give it a try. I'm willing to bet you'll be surprised what happens.

 

Passion feeds on its own fumes...so get started. Because the longer you wait, the longer you'll WANT to wait. There will always be a reason not to write. Always. So don't think that you're going to be the first author in history to be 'called to arms' when the feeling hits. No...you've got to make that move on your own. Take the initiative. Deliberately step forward, and like gravity...the story will pull you in the right direction until the feelings in your heart have been expressed. Just push a little bit. Just enough to get started. That's all you need.

 

The rest will write itself.

 

I hope this helps you procrastinators get started with your newest projects. If you feel yourself hesitating every time you sit down to write...then take notice of that hesitation. Why won't you write? What are you afraid of? Just GO! Type! Do it! It's a small step, getting started...but it isn't easy. Be aware of that obstacle...then beat it.

 

Happy writing, folks! And I wish you all the best of luck!

 

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3 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

It's the in between that's a killer. :)

 

Especially in murder mysteries. XD

 

Okay, borrowing the roller coaster. ( will we hear about other rides in your amusement park later?)

 

The middle is tricky for me. In the beginning you're roling down that first hill. (Weeeeee!) It flows there's momentum. To the physical act of writing, and to the story

 

At the bottom of each one, I tend to coast along, slowing down as I wander around looking for that next hilltop, and the next, and the next, and the next, and...

 

I'm thinking out loud here, but I think my stories struggle because of that search. Even if I keep writing and following the characters thoughts, trying to follow where the characters are going, navigate my own mind to find that hill, and *if* I find it, herd my characters in the right direction. 

 

The story might get longer, but that stretch of wandering prose between hills is like deadweight on my mind. The momentum of the wider story stalls. Eventually stopping completely. *looks at the 5 or 6 stalled novels*

 

Cutting the deadweight hasn't really occurred to me before. It's good writing, it's in character, these are natural little things that could happen next. I Part of the story, right? 

 

It's also slow and meandering and *cringe and mumble* it's boring. At least compared to the hills. 

 

It's part of my process that bled ono the page. Hmm...

 

*some large animal noise*

 

Hear that? My scrap bin is hungry. ^_^

 

(Edit: I keep things I cut in a separate bin. Not the circular one.)

 

2 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

It may be why we have so many promising stories that go nowhere and languish unfinished after a chapter or two

* Cough * VampireMystic * Cough cough cough *

 

Roller coaster fits with the "story pulling you along" bit, they're pulled through the track by big chsins. If i remember correctly. 

 

I've been stuck on the opening of chapter for a current project. (I should have stayed up another hour that night. XD) I smell a slight time skip. 

 

Think I'll look for a golden moment, go straight to it and wait for the dive. 

 

"The rest will write itself."

@Comicality said so. XD 

 

I'll try to keep it from crashing. No promises!

 

Here I go! 

 

Weeeeeeee!

 

(Great article Com. Hey,

2 hours ago, BlindAmbition said:

I have absolutely no problem with this. Sometimes I get as far as the first five pages.  But then those little voices dictating to me just dry up and that's that.  They seldom return to a topic I have written about before.

You have many stories that have been going on for years. Could be another article on how you deal with THAT. XD)

 

Edit:  missing words, the wrong vowel that completely changed the change a verb. 

 

And I think Com already said something about that somewhere after all. * Shrug *

Edited by VampireMystic
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15 minutes ago, VampireMystic said:

Especially in murder mysteries. XD

 

Okay, borrowing the roller coaster. ( will we hear about other rides in your amusement park later?)

 

The middle is tricky for me. In the beginning you're roling down that first hill. (Weeeeee!) It flows there's momentum. To the physical act of writing, and to the story

 

At the bottom I tend to coast along, slowing down as I wonder around looking for that next hilltop, and the next, and the next, and the next, and...

 

I'm thinking out loud here, but I think my stories struggle because of that search. Even if I keep writing and following the characters thoughts, trying to follow where the characters are going, navigate my own mind to find that hill, and *if* I find it, herd my characters in the right direction. 

 

The story might get longer, but that stretch of wandering prose between hills is like deadweight on my mind. The momentum of the wider story stalls. Eventually stopping completely. *looks at the 5 or 6 stalled novels*

 

Cutting the deadweight hasn't really occurred to me before. It's good writing, it's in character, these are natural little things that could happen next. I Part of the story, right? 

 

It's also slow and meandering and *cringe and mumble* it's boring. At least compared to the hills. 

 

It's part of my process that bled ono the page. Hmm...

 

*some large animal noise*

 

Hear that? My scrap bin is hungry. ^_^

 

* Cough * VampireMystic * Cough cough cough *

 

Roller coaster fits with the "story pulling you along" bit, they're pulled through the track by big chsins. If i remember correctly. 

 

I've been stuck on the opening of chapter for a current project. (I should have stayed up another hour that night. XD) I smell a slight time skip. 

 

Think I'll look for a golden moment, go straight to it and wait for the dive. 

 

"The rest will write itself."

@Comicality said so. XD 

 

I'll try to keep it from crashing. No promises!

 

Here I go! 

 

Weeeeeeee!

 

(Great article Com. Hey,

You many stories that have been going on for years. Could be another article on how you deal with THAT. XD)

The gremlins are back. I didn’t say that. 😆

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5 minutes ago, BlindAmbition said:

The gremlins are back. I didn’t say that. 😆

Indeed not. Uh... I swear I just hit quote.

 

# I didn't do it

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1 hour ago, VampireMystic said:

You have many stories that have been going on for years. Could be another article on how you deal with THAT. XD)

 

That response was meant for my comment. Actually I do NOT have stories going on for years, I have shorts that were prompt responses, although many have asked if I could expand them into stories. The thing is, I am not really an author, my claim to 5 minutes of fame is as an editor.  Things I write are actually distractions to me that get written down so they will no longer distract me!

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2 hours ago, BlindAmbition said:

This is where I think prep comes in handy.

Prep would work great if I were actually trying to sit down and write a full length story.  All my posted work is just shutting up that distracting damn little voice in my head so I can think about what I am supposed to be thinking about!

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4 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Funny but I never have a problem starting a chapter or book. Or ending them! It's the in between that's a killer. :)

 

Same here, though everything in between isn't so bad as Carlos makes out ... ;)  :P 

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1 minute ago, Carlos Hazday said:

 

Not that hard? With a bunch of readers threatening me if I don't keep writing? Oy wey, the pressure...

Don’t forget!! According to one of your readers, there’s 25 more volumes to be written. 🤣

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@BlindAmbition

 

Yeah... I don't see it happening. As I said above, the part between the start and the end is the problem. I have plenty of ideas but each book's taking me longer to write these days. Trying to ensure the quality continues to improve ain't easy.

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21 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

 

Not that hard? With a bunch of readers threatening me if I don't keep writing? Oy wey, the pressure...

:worship:  I'm only a mere mortal, with no-one demanding anything ... ;) 

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@northie

 

You read what JP said... someone suggested 25 more books in the CJ series! You'll miss the reference but I think they're not really praising me that much; I suspect they broke into CJ's famous Harley-Davidson coffee can. (I'll skip the explanation here, I'm already off topic enough.) :P

 

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2 hours ago, Kitt said:

distracting damn little voice in my head

 

12 minutes ago, Myr said:

Excellent!  I'm glad I'm not the only one hearing voices in my head. :D

 

I've always heard that Writer's block, is when the voices in your head, refuse to talk to you.

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7 hours ago, Kitt said:

That response was meant for my comment. Actually I do NOT have stories going on for years, I have shorts that were prompt responses, although many have asked if I could expand them into stories. The thing is, I am not really an author, my claim to 5 minutes of fame is as an editor.  Things I write are actually distractions to me that get written down so they will no longer distract me!

 

Wasn't directed at you... I said

8 hours ago, VampireMystic said:

Great article Com. Hey,

And then  Blind Ambitions quote, and then:

8 hours ago, VampireMystic said:

You have many stories that have been going on for years. Could be another article on how you deal with THAT. XD)

 

 I was directing that at Comicality. Seeing as he is the one with the weekly blog that we are all commenting on,  I thought it might be a good article idea.

 

 but then I remembered he said something about it somewhere else. 

 

7 hours ago, Kitt said:

my claim to 5 minutes of fame is as an editor. 

 so you're not also the talking car?

XD

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Really? Interesting. I think my writing process might be very different from you guys.

 

See...I always spend a lot of time planning things out in my head. Then on paper. Then I have to sort of 'work myself up' to tackle the actual story. That's when I begin to worry and hesitate. What if it's not good enough? What if I get stuck? What if I start writing and it's not as good as I'm hoping it will be? All of those things go through my mind, and it causes me to wait until I feel I'm 'ready', you know?

 

BUT...once I have everything plotted out in my head, and I actually start writing the chapter/story...it's merely a matter of completing the thought. "This is where I was, this is where I want to go...I just need to get from point A to point B." For ME, that's the easy part. Once Istart writing, everything else just sort of falls into place. As long as I keep my goal in sight, then the middle part is easy. But yeah, it takes me a while to start things off sometimes.

 

As for the many stories that I've got going at once, they're already finished in my head. I just need to 'get from point A to point B'...and that takes more hours in the day than I've got to work with, unfortunately. But I never forget. Not ever. Like...imagine you haven't seen a family member in years. Or a high school buddy that you don't talk to until you're high school reunion. No matter how long it's been since you've spoken to one another, you don't completely 'forget' who they are, do you? There's a STORY in your head about this person. "Oh yeah, we used to hang out. And this person used to babysit me, and that person was on the baseball team with me, and me and this guy used to date." You might need to catch up on new developments, sure...but you guys are still attached, right? I mean, I am.

 

One day, all of my stories will be completed, and I'll shake the stigma of being the guy to never read because he takes so long! Hehehe! But, all the stories started with a direct vision in mind. It would be a disappointment and a disservice if I didn't do it right. At this point, I've worked too hard to half ass the effort now. :P

 

Loving the input! Thanks! it's cool to hear how you all operate behind the scenes!   

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I usually start with a strong opening, plan for a possible ending or two, and then link them together, chapter by chapter. I might plan out a few scenes that I have in mind, and work my way to the middle. Some people have problems writing beginnings or endings. Myself, I have trouble writing the "climax" of the story. No, not that climax! Get it out of the gutter, people! :P I also tend to get bored with writing some stories after a while, or a new idea distracts me from focusing on the old ones. Undiagnosed ADD, maybe? I hope not. :unsure: But, I usually get there in the end. :)

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Writing many stories around sites on the web, it is hard. The stories I write I don't post, as I have a few dozens of discs (when I had my uncle's old Commodore) in boxes.

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