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> The Writer's Block
crinoline
post Sep 27 2007, 08:48 AM
Post #101


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garlic- I have found that it works for me to go ahead and write out everything you have. You can always go back and change it later, add in the facts, remove any inconsistencies. Good luck, I love historical fiction!


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raisingirl
post Sep 27 2007, 06:37 AM
Post #102


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Confession time.

I still haven't sent that letter to The Writer. For now I've just put it away. I'm still not happy with it.

And I still haven't read that book that GB recommended. I took it out of the library and have since renewed it, but have yet to crack it open.

Eh.

For those of you with day jobs, how do you find a balance and make time to write? I am trying to find or make consistency with many things, writing being one of them. I remember reading from more than one person about finding time at the edges of the day to write. Problem is, my edges are already frayed and I think some mending is in order.
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crazyoldcatlady
post Sep 9 2007, 02:41 PM
Post #103


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i think i might start coming out of the writer's closet. if i own up to it, at least, that will push me to do something, to prove something.

i had a great session last night, courtesy of 100words.com. not earth shattering, but more than i've come up with in a while, and i was pleased with it. i told a friend today; she said she had called me later but figured i was asleep. i said no, i got this second wind and rode this huge wave and wrote until around 1 am. she gave me an "oh yeah?" which was neither a judgemental nor petty retort. she seemed a bit intrigued, actually. but she's kinda out there like that anyway, so it didn't feel like i was confessing to my grandmother that i was masturbating or someting.

garlic- i say forge ahead with the story and fill in the blanks later. i can't rememeber what author said this, but i always remembered this: in some interview, he was asked if he draws from real life or makes things up. he said something along the lines of "making shit up is half the fun."
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bunnyb
post Sep 9 2007, 01:05 PM
Post #104


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As previously explained, it is my reasoning for not calling myself a writer in public; it has nothing to do with my opinion of other people who are writers, published or not.

I don't think you could possibly put an amount of time on how long another writer should research; in depends on the research topic, their method of research and how quickly they work. I will research until I know my subject inside and out and I won't write about something until I have fully researched it, whether it takes me two months or two years.


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Garlic
post Sep 9 2007, 09:34 AM
Post #105


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QUOTE(girlbomb @ Sep 6 2007, 05:06 PM) *
Really? No way! I think being an actual writer has everything to do with writing, and nothing to do with being published. I think I was a writer long before I got published -- I was a writer when I wrote the poems and stories that I did in grade school. I think a writer is anybody who feels impelled to write, and does it. bunnyb, I think you're an actual writer.


Yeah, I'd agree with this, and seriously. There is some very bad writing that is published and some very good writing that is rejected. Are airport fiction writers any more of a writer than someone of quality who can't get published cause there's not judged to be a big enough audience for their work?

And what about people who write for zines and amateur journalists? They are published, but the establishment has not sanctioned their work. Where do they stand? Writers or not?

On a different topic, I'm working on some historical fiction, and need to go back and do some research (on two exact dates, and the area where a massacre took place), but am going straight ahead with it otherwise and will edit it later. Bad idea? Should I put more work in first? And how much time do you think one should spend in an area if you're going to write about it? I know Steph Penney spent all her time researching The Tenderness of Wolves in the British Library, and good for her, but IMO you can often tell if a writer actually knows an area. Does anyone else think this? I can't read DH Lawrence without my eyes widening, or Lawrie Lee for that matter, as I'm very familiar with all the places they describe.
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raisingirl
post Sep 7 2007, 06:31 AM
Post #106


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Thanks, GB, and I'm going to have to find that book at the library today. Come to think of it, this writer I'm writing to (ha) always stressed the importance of reading in conjunction with writing.
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girlbomb
post Sep 6 2007, 08:29 PM
Post #107


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bunnnyb, I totally get where you're coming from about not wanting to sound pretentious. When people ask me what I do, and I say I'm a writer, I always feel defensive and weird, like they're not going to believe me, or they don't take me seriously. A saleswoman asked me today what I did and I said, "Editorial work." It just sounds more legit sometimes.

And raisingirl, I think letter writing is an awesome way to get material down. I recently read Francine Prose's READING LIKE A WRITER, and she talks about narrative voice -- everyone always asks themselves, "Who's telling this story?", but she says "Who are they telling this story to?" is just as important a question. Material seems to come easier to me when I can picture my audience. I hope the exercise will be very inspiring and fruitful for you.
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raisingirl
post Sep 6 2007, 07:33 PM
Post #108


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Well, since I'm always gonna be a Smug Twat, I'm gonna call myself a writer until the end of time and then some. So there! No shame. I don't see it as posturing, I honestly don't.

While I'm (still) on my soapbox of Things I Hate About the Craft and Myths that are Perpetuated, I HATE THAT WRITING DOWN THE BONES BOOK. Have you seen this book? It is HORRIBLE. Completely useless drivel. One of my friends was really into this book and it was one of many reasons I had to quit her. It doesn't hold a candle (cliche, natch) to Artist's Way and you all know what I think about THAT one. I am not shitting you. It's even worse. You've been warned.

I love that we can come here and talk about the process. Because a big part of that, for me, is acknowledging the stuff that doesn't help me.

I have a letter I've been meaning to write for years now. There have been many times I've been on a long walk or just sitting on the subway and I've composed the entire thing in my head. I've finally put pen to paper and I'm still working on it and really want to polish it and send it off to its recipient, a writer who I look up to and also see as a father figure of sorts, who ran a writing workshop -- the last one I took, in fact, before I began my period of Not Writing. I'm still trying to figure out my motivation for writing to him. It's a complicated story and I know I'm being vague right now. (No, I didn't sleep with him.)

I wish Maimy was still Lounging so she could participate. Le sigh.
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crazyoldcatlady
post Sep 6 2007, 06:41 PM
Post #109


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QUOTE(bunnyb @ Sep 6 2007, 07:07 PM) *
In my heart I'm a writer but I think that introducing myself as a writer or describing myself as one in public would sound pretentious. I don't want to come across as if I'm posturing when it's something that means so much to me. I am not syaing that if someone did likewise I would think they were pretentious but I have a mental-block about saying it myself.


/ponders.


word.


:::off to stare at notebook to have it stare at me..:::
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bunnyb
post Sep 6 2007, 04:50 PM
Post #110


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In my heart I'm a writer but I think that introducing myself as a writer or describing myself as one in public would sound pretentious. I don't want to come across as if I'm posturing when it's something that means so much to me. I am not syaing that if someone did likewise I would think they were pretentious but I have a mental-block about saying it myself.

I do agree though that I was a writer when I was child and that I am a writer now but I don't produce enough (in my eyes) to be classed as an actual writer. It was obviously a blog I was reading where this discussion took place ... the people posting where very disparaging on unpublished writers calling themselves writers.

I suppose it depends on your perception of what a writer should be and their perception boiled down to being published or not. At this stage, I still qualify myself as being a writer at heart and an aspiring published writer but not an actual writer; perhaps that is a huge insecurity on my part.

/ponders.


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girlbomb
post Sep 6 2007, 03:49 PM
Post #111


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QUOTE(bunnyb @ Sep 3 2007, 04:50 PM) *
I would only call myself an actual writer (as opposed to "I'm writing" or "I want to be a writer") if I was published.


Really? No way! I think being an actual writer has everything to do with writing, and nothing to do with being published. I think I was a writer long before I got published -- I was a writer when I wrote the poems and stories that I did in grade school. I think a writer is anybody who feels impelled to write, and does it. bunnyb, I think you're an actual writer.
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sukouyant
post Sep 6 2007, 06:09 AM
Post #112


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Alotta, me too on an current academic essay. Love the topic, pretty much know my s**&, but I look at the people I'm reading and think "I could never write like them." which shuts me up pretty quick. It's all in my head of course.
Morning writing actually seems to be helping with that. (And it has to be at some farmer hour, like 5AM for me) As soon as I get up and my inhibitions are low, I find I can start writing.

Something that helped to organize my thoughts & points to include is creating an outline from a flow chart that I brainstormed with bubbles and arrows leading from main ideas. Chaos to structure.

Just do it lady. Your research isn't going to be the worst that's ever been done, and it's not going to be the best either, until you give yourself and your mentor something to work with.
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Alotta Errata
post Sep 5 2007, 08:31 PM
Post #113


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Bunny... that's how I feel about telling people that I'm applying to PhD programs. Now what happens if I don't get in?

I'm supposed to be writing a thesis right now. Guess how much I've actually done? mmmmmmm nuthin. and it's not that i don't want to, I love my topic, i'm just scared shitless and I don't know why.


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bunnyb
post Sep 3 2007, 02:33 PM
Post #114


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I shouldn't have told anyone I had made tentative steps towards writing a book because now they're asking how it's going, how much I've written, how many words and I feel bad because I haven't been working on it since the last time I mentioned it.

For an aspiring writer, I don't write very much. That's why I need to religiously do the morning pages. It's a combination of insecurity, writer's block and laziness. Sigh.

Replying to previous Q (was that here or on a blog/something else I read?): I would only call myself an actual writer (as opposed to "I'm writing" or "I want to be a writer") if I was published.


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sukouyant
post Sep 3 2007, 06:45 AM
Post #115


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QUOTE(girlbomb @ Aug 30 2007, 06:31 PM) *
No, it's just that everybody's so busy, uh, writing!

Here's the bad thing I've been doing: talking about the piece I'm writing too much. Bad girlbomb! WRITE the story, don't talk about it! The only one I should be talking about it with is myself, in my notebook. When the first draft is done, then I can talk about it all I want. But right now I'm letting all the steam escape out my damn mouth.

God I have been doing this too - and everytime I'm about to do it again I think "I'm fucking myself", and I still do it! People keep asking about it, and I feel obligated to answer them.. I might start making up some lie to discuss with people, instead of making my creative work small talk.

I was reflecting this morning on why I write anything. Definitely it's this impulse to make myself understood, and writing is one of the few ways I've felt any confidence in accomplishing that (then of course I'm always at the mercy of people's literacy and willingness to read. Do ya ever wish you had tried to be a rockstar instead?). But to my frustration, I still find it difficult to make myself understood- It's still this struggle and psychodrama, and it makes me hate writing too.

(but then the reward when it finally happens)
eta (or maybe it's not a reward so much as relief that i don't have to write anymore, for a little while)
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girlbomb
post Aug 30 2007, 04:14 PM
Post #116


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No, it's just that everybody's so busy, uh, writing!

Here's the bad thing I've been doing: talking about the piece I'm writing too much. Bad girlbomb! WRITE the story, don't talk about it! The only one I should be talking about it with is myself, in my notebook. When the first draft is done, then I can talk about it all I want. But right now I'm letting all the steam escape out my damn mouth.
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sukouyant
post Aug 30 2007, 09:32 AM
Post #117


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the thread killah!
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sukouyant
post Aug 23 2007, 09:51 PM
Post #118


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QUOTE(girlbomb @ Aug 22 2007, 08:21 AM) *
.. It's not an easy task, writing, but if you've ever felt the calling to write, you're shit out of luck -- you've got to answer it, or you'll feel unfulfilled.


well if that statement doesn't give me a kick in the pants nothing will (and it did this morning!)
very inspiring to read the advice and personal methods in this thread.
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sybarite
post Aug 23 2007, 08:28 AM
Post #119


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*laughing as raisin rips apart The Artist's Way*

Apologies to everyone it works for. I never read it so I can't comment but the blurb on the back was enough to put me off I'm afraid.

I just want to chime in and say what works for me is, as raisin says, just writing as often as possible, even if it's shit. Give yourself permission for it to be shit, but don't stop. Editing processes work for a reason; try not to sweat the quality when you're churning, or eking, out the words.

I should say I'm currently not writing fiction, but a thesis, which is a very different and arguably more straightforward process. I also used to write for a living, mostly web content. When I had a looming deadline I would write first thing in the morning and it worked really well. Somehow being half-conscious sped me up rather than slowed me down.

I'm glad this thread is moving again. I've never really written about my writing but I have to say it's kind of cathartic thinking about which process works for you. Anyway, the above is just my 2 cents. Really, if you've found an approach that works for you, use it.

Saying all the above... of course I'm typing here instead of, um, writing more of my thesis...
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raisingirl
post Aug 22 2007, 12:00 PM
Post #120


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Hee. I like that we are talking about this, GB! Free writing, yes! Free association. Write, don't think.

I was fond of calling them Mourning Pages.

Sometimes I'd just write stuff like "you think you call yourself a writer, bigshot?" Just to get the inner critic to talk until it can say any more.

Yeah, hokey is what I think of the whole thing. It's just crazy that she has some people who are such fervent fans (not like I know any of them personally -- they probably wouldn't even talk to me). My group of friends that were doing it kind of acknowledged the twee-ness of it. But my god, I still find her annoying. She's probably one of those people who's all "I want my fish poached with the sauce on the side, no ice in my soda, a teaspoon for my soup, hold the cream, etc." You know? It's like ALRIGHT ALREADY!!!!!!!

And with that said, I'll shut up about this subject. Julia, if you're reading this (heh), I'm sure you're a decent person, but I still hate your book.

So I still think doing something SIMILAR TO the MPs is a good practice, no matter what one wants to call it. You have to do something to warm up, stretch the muscles, etc., before going in for the kill.

I think I want to do that nano whateveritscalled this November, but I might do it in longhand. Is that totally crazy? Notebooks are on sale at all the drugstores just in time for school, so I might as well stock up. My eyes go buggy if I look at a computer screen too long -- it would be a pain in the butt to go back on the computer and try to examine, edit, or salvage anything if I do do this in November. I think I'm more visual/tactile and need to have it on paper. But I don't know, I find that my writing voice changes if I change my method (typing vs. writing vs. talking into a tape recorder). Not that this is a bad thing, but just something to consider. I'm all for experimentation.
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