Thread: Difficulties in Writing
June 19th, 2002, 11:12 AM #1
Difficulties in Writing
I'm just curious what difficulties any of you may come up against when writing, either external or internal, and how you get over them (or not).
Myself, I don't find it too hard to come up with ideas, my problem is finding the time to write. I have plenty of free time, but I also have a three-year old who never leaves me alone for more than a few minutes. And if I ask someone to watch her for me while I do some writing, I inevitably receive a weird look--no one in my family takes my writing seriously (and I can't afford a real babysitter!). That's another problem I guess. Even my "better half" says he believes in me, but he sometimes gets annoyed when I actually sit down on the computer and write, instead of doing something "useful."
So that's my difficulty, I can't manage to steal enough time for myself. How I get over it? Well, I don't, really. That's why I've written so little.
What about the rest of you?
June 19th, 2002, 12:15 PM #2
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You need to but your foot down with a firm hand and say "ok this is my time this evening I am having an hour or two writing." Say to the other half you put offspring to bed, read the story.
This is best done in a room where you can shut the door...
Also is your child at "playschool"? If so, when you get home after delivering said child say B***** to the house work and grab an hour on the machine.
If your child has a nab or has gone to play with friends then again even if it's just half an hour, it will help.
Get up an hour earlier and when the house is quiet, plonk away on the machine.
House work can be done at any time, no one is going to die from an unmade bed or a pile of iorning.
You need your own time and space, especially if you are a working mum, maybe more so if you are at home with your child all day.
June 19th, 2002, 12:27 PM #3
Originally posted by Holbrook
- Join Date
- Feb 2001
- Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
You need to but your foot down with a firm hand...
As far as writing goes, a lack of motivation is my main problem.
It doesn't help that I have about a hundred and one different interests. I'm easily distracted, and I tend to flit from one thing to another without finishing anything.
June 19th, 2002, 12:41 PM #4
I agree with Holbrook, Miriamele. We're writers and writing is an important part of who we are. I read a book not too long ago entitled "Writing in Flow"...something like that...and it had a rather large section about finding the time to write and gave examples of how other writers do it. It's a very good book if you can find it.
The biggest block I have to writing is every now and then I just won't be able to concentrate. I'll sit down at the computer, pull up my story...and then wander off and go on line...or play a game...reorganize the files and folders on my hard drive. Usually I'll bounce between several things and not really get much done with any of them. It is very annoying because usually when I set my mind to concentrating on something the rest of the world sort of drops from my awareness.
How do I get around it? Well, after quite a bit of trial and error I've found it's as easy as listening to music. Something more or less relaxing - I guess I must be too tense or something - oddly enough Country music seems to work best. That's only odd because I don't usually listen to Country music. It works for me though.
June 19th, 2002, 12:42 PM #5
I have the same problem, Miriamele. I do not have children, but I am still in grad school, so this is the comment that I usually hear: "Shouldn't you be working on your thesis?" The other obstacle is that when I do have some free time I have difficulty getting motivated. The desire to write is there, but the mental energy is low. And our house is never clean.
June 19th, 2002, 01:02 PM #6
Thanks for your suggestions, Holbrook. You're right, I need to put my foot down. It's always been a problem of mine to feel guilt when taking time for myself--I suppose this is a common thing for mothers. But I need to do it if I'm ever going to get anything written.
Even so, it will likely be years before I can devote serious time to writing. Because not only is my daughter not in school yet (and she was born in January so she can't go to school till she's almost 5) but because we are currently living in my parents' basement so my husband and I can finish school (i.e. we're dirt broke!). The house we live in, which is not very large, is home to 8 people and 3 animals. My computer room is also our bedroom and tv room. Since it is a makeshift room, there's only a makeshift door. Right next to our room my sister has a hair salon so she can work out of the house, so every evening there are strange people in there and perm fumes wafting out...it's a crazy living arrangement. I know it's not a great excuse but I don't think I'll be able to do much until we finally get our own place and I can get some peace and quiet.
Virginia Woolfe knew what she was talking about.
June 19th, 2002, 01:12 PM #7
As you stated, I too have no problems coming up with ideas. My issue relates to my job. All day long for weeks on end I sit and write page after page of analysis, procedures, processes and other such business material. Sometimes it is very difficult to come home and switch from very technical analytical thinking, which I do during the day, to a more creative mindset, which is what is required for fiction writing. The past few weeks have been somewhat easier though. I've learned not to just pick up my paper and pencil and force myself to write. Now I sit for about fifteen minutes and play the story in my head. I'll also role play the characters in different situations to build their personalities in my head. After a while, thought it sounds somewhat corny, I become one with my characters and the writing becomes so much easier.
I think clearing your mind is essential to good writing. If it takes leaving the house and going to, say, the library or a local park for an hour or two, then so be it.
Just give your "better half" one of those patented death glares all women seem to be experts at. He'll do whatever you ask. Of course it doesn't work on me. Well, that's all I got. Gotta go and wash the dishes, vacuum the carpet, make the beds, cook dinner....
June 19th, 2002, 02:22 PM #8
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Is there a public library near you? Or can you use your college computers in the evening or a Saturday????
If so get the other half to mind your child for a few hours a week and take your self off (complete with floppy disc). Make it a set time so folks know that is your time.....
Putting it bluntly you need "your time" badly... been there done that so to speak....
Gotta go and wash the dishes, vacuum the carpet, make the beds, cook dinner....
June 19th, 2002, 03:29 PM #9Originally posted by Holbrook
Colossus is that all??? I raise you planting out the bedding plants, shopping, baking cakes and work!!!!
June 19th, 2002, 03:45 PM #10
- Join Date
- Jun 2001
- Salt Lake City Utah usa
Wow you're living arrangements are definitely challenging. I can totally relate. I'm here in the Mecca of Mormonism, Salt Lake City, as a result of business deal gone delightfully awry. I was brought down here from Alaska to, not only play in a band, but to write movie reviews, and articles for an online Game magazine (long story). The living arrangement is with the bass player/singer, his wife, his oldest daughter, his two sons, and one of their wives and their new born baby. The living room has 11 computers, 3 tvs, video games, baby play pen, and three dogs. There is never a quiet moment. It is totaly mayhen most of the time. So as a writer the one thing I make a point to do is when ever I feel the creative muse come over me, I make the effort to either get it down on a word document or long hand on paper regardless of the riot that maybe taking place at the time. Then when there is the rare moment when there's peace and quiet I can refine what I've written, not very often. But in a hectic enviornment it is nearly impossible to schedule snipets of time and them will your creative muse into immediate action. Some people can, I can't.
My day job is as an security officer for the State of Utah Deparment of Workforce Services, where I'm posted at an awesome computer station 22" screen, with the freedom to do as I please. However the influx of angry people, unattended children, stressed out umemployed folks, irate child support people, makes concentrating on writing equally difficult here.
So I guess you have to make the best of whatever time you can find, when or if you can find it.
Rest assured, for as they say the only thing that's constant is change, and I would imagine your situation will continue to evolve and sometime somewhere you will find a balance where your writing will find time your life.
June 19th, 2002, 04:11 PM #11
Thanks for your helpful advice, all.
I'm sure things will change for me eventually. (My sister and her husband will hopefully be moving out in the spring and then we'll have the basement to ourselves! No hair salon!) This is just a hectic time in my life right now.
But I'll still try to steal a few hours for my writing now and then. The challenge if part of the fun I guess.
June 19th, 2002, 05:18 PM #12
Well, I feel lucky, having a whole summer to write, and having a practically empty room, and a laptop to take to a quiet place when things get hectic. I have too much free time. That is not my main problem I encounter with writing. I have a myriad of ideas, yet, I still move at a staggeringly slow pace. So why? I ask myself?
I have interest. Apart from basketball, this has been my longest standing hobby so far. So basically my main prolem is that whenever I sit down to write or edit, I get overrun by ideas, and have to edit some more of the earlier work, and so eventhough the first few chapters get better and better, I'm not moving forward. But if my writing is improving I don't mind. The other block is my concetration span. I have one about 10 minutes long, and then my mind wonders. Hell in lectures, as soon as I sit down, I get a pad and a pencil, and start to draw. I cannot concentrate, and so I do different things.
They are all easily overcome...
Gabador, the egyptian white goldfish(memory, 5 seconds)
June 20th, 2002, 01:24 AM #13
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
- I live in my own little world . . . or one of its suburbs.
I think everyone has their problems.
I have a situation very similar to yours, enazwo, because I live in a house where there are a total of ten children and I have no bedroom. It is never quiet until after one A.M. So for writing I had to switch my schedule around to where I stay up until six each morning, and write between one and sunrise. I've gotten used to the nocturnal lifestyle, but it has taken me a while. But I also have the problem of "too many stories, not nearly enough time to write them." This isn't exactly a bad thing, I already have four books set to write when I finish editing this one, but I'd like to get started on them. And being impatient certainly doesn't help.
But as the saying goes, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger . . . either that or it drives you over the edge and you lose your mind and spend your days inspecting your own poop.
June 20th, 2002, 01:55 AM #14
I understand and sympathize with all of you.
Lack of time, lack of focus (i.e. easily distracted), impatient with the writing process (i.e. need to edit), etc. Been there, done that.
That's why I also want to have a laptop so that I can write anywhere, anytime. Of course, my writing speed is so fast such that I prefer to type my ideas out rather than write on pencil and paper.
And I've also figured my best time to write is late at night, when I've gotten home. Of course, I have to forego a good night's sleep with that but can't have everything, right?
June 21st, 2002, 10:42 PM #15
problem no.1, then, is disctraction...
getting ideas is never a problem, but theres one thing that keeps happening to me. i think of something, and after writing about it, i suddenly realize - wait a minute, this is like [fill incident here] in [fill book here] and my subconscious just twisted it around a bit to try to convince me it was an original, brillliant thought.
but then so many bestselling fantasy writers are completely derivative! aaargh.