Skyler Nova's picture
Skyler Nova from Ukraine is reading The Gun Seller August 12, 2014 - 9:09am

These days, I tend to procrastinate and lose my focus even more than usual, so straight to the point.

I'm an aspiring writer with eight short stories, plans for a novel, no money, a homely six-pack, and the infamous attention deficit. I honestly--cross my heart and hope to die--enjoy reading James Joyce (only read one complete work, and it isn't Finnegans Wake or Ulysses, but reading Joyce is a process that doesn't need a conclusion, so whatever). To top things off, I made a lot of academic-scientific noise on a local scale, so much so that I spent a week at the Large Hadron Collider on an invitation. And I'm studying IT.

Hence, two facts about my life. One, it's messy and stressful and I almost don't know how to rest. Two, my writing used to be weird and showy. I wouldn't say it reminded of Joyce that much, but "sod English" was definitely an underlying sentiment. And honestly, I found pleasure in messing about for the sake of emotional expression, which is what I pursued.

Then I understood it was bullshit.

Not breaching the boundaries of language per se, and certainly not conveying emotions, but it's not the sole purpose of writing. Not for me. The stories I wrote after this realisation are, no doubt, a lot better, but I still haven't found a compass. My writer self is unhinged and in a restraining jacket and I crave to let it out, but I don't know how. Yet.

So, I decided to reach out and ask if you lot ever felt lost. Did you always know why you write? Did the revision of your work ever redefine that?

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami August 12, 2014 - 11:41am

I always do, usually on my twitter. You get so many feeds, that it tends to mimmick the symptoms I used to have when I had attention problems. I recently had to turn off a few retweets, then for others mute because it's like I'm expected to somehow multi-task.

Focuswriter is a life saver. Just thought I'd throw that out there. I also turn off wifi, and still need to find a point to reinstall the timer.

In the writing itself, generally I had a sixteen chapter interconnected story collection pre-plotted, so writers block isn't so much of a problem as attention issues. In the one point I experienced it, I decided having a hard time to write that scene, could be solved by skipping the difficult point. Then filling it later upon revision.

Now I'm wondering if i needed the scene to begin with.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 15, 2014 - 8:26pm

Sometimes you just need to write, not question it.

Eddie McNamara's picture
Eddie McNamara from NYC is reading High as the Horse's Bridles August 17, 2014 - 4:23pm

If you're a writer you write. A ditch digger is someone that digs a ditch, not somebody who talks about digging a ditch and never does it.

Just fucking write.

Skyler Nova's picture
Skyler Nova from Ukraine is reading The Gun Seller August 19, 2014 - 7:29am

Thank you for your replies. Yeah, I suppose it is as simple as "writers write". I just had to grow up to comprehend that, and maturing is what young people do.

Delete Me's picture
Delete Me August 28, 2014 - 6:54am

A couple times in my life, I became so frustrated with my writing that I threw everything in the trash. I am talking about finished works and even literary magazines where I was published. Over the years, I have developed a few strategies to battle myself.

The first is to write at least 500 words every day. It doesn’t have to be a story or anything. Sometimes I just type examples of English grammar and punctuation. I’m learning something at a minimum.

The second is to try different work spaces. My perfect space is my kitchen table with a stack of college-ruled notebook paper and a box of pens—my favorite pens. Sometimes that space isn’t working so I go out. I sit at Starbucks (that ol’ cliché), the library, or another room in the house. Anything to achieve at least 500 words.

The third, which is the hardest, is to write what you find interesting, but write it for someone else. In my head, all my published pieces could have used another draft. I could rewrite something 100 times if I was left to my own devices. What makes this step so hard is that the person you write for needs to be brutally honest and unmerciful. That person needs to tell you when something is brilliant and when something is trash.

This is what has helped me. I’m sure some variation can help you.

Skyler Nova's picture
Skyler Nova from Ukraine is reading The Gun Seller August 29, 2014 - 9:15am

Cheers. Really helpful.

It's a bit like going to the gym, isn't it? I mean, writing at least N words per day. Even in case the process sucks, you feel happy and fulfilled if you manage to do it at all. Spend an hour lifting four-kilo dumbbell and feel like Chuck Norris--squeeze out 500 words and acquire an excessively smug face free of charge. Then, life is beautiful.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami August 29, 2014 - 10:14am

Interesting to note, even David Foster Wallace stopped writing for a couple of years before beginning to pen Infinie Jest.

I also found out he plotted it in the way I sort of expected books like War And Peace would be plotted. More like multiple books. But that's beyond the scope.

Why is it reassuring? Books that are as big as multiple books aren't written all at once. I always got writers block if I were trying to write all 67 pages at once.

(Yes I realize how piddly 67 pages sounds.)