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Discouragement... how do you deal with it?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by DarthBreezy, Mar 24, 2003.

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  1. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002
    What do you do as a writer when that which is even more evil than Darth Writers Block sets in?

    Darth Discouragement

    It can be triggered by a million different things, or by simple self doubt and if you let it sink it's teeth in, it can really be difficult to over come...

    So, fellow writers, aside from offering chocolate (Edit for feedback, though I think chocolate should be the cure for everything), or consoling youself with the feedback junkies... what do you do to disentangle yourself from it's potentially leathal clutches?

    Even long time writers get the blues!
     
  2. Jane Jinn

    Jane Jinn Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 12, 2000
    Hmm. I'm sure I write whiney e-mails to my friends while caught in a discouragement loop. Often I try to distract myself by reading other things. Sometimes the antics of Wraith Squadron will cheer me up again, but sometimes I'll really get depressed and think "I'll never be able to write this well ... blah ... woe is me ..." Occasionally I go to TFN Humor and look at the picture captions for something to laugh at. Or I just read something completely different that has nothing to do with SW whatsoever.

    And sometimes I just have to get up from the computer and do something else such as housework, for instance. It doesn't help the writing problems, but at least you've got something done by the end of the day, and that gives you a tiny little boost of satisfaction.
     
  3. PadmeLeiaJaina

    PadmeLeiaJaina Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    May 23, 2002
    I found that like clockwork- every 3 months either Darth Writer's Block hit me, or just an overall, general case of the writing blahs.

    I found that I have to do several things in order to get back into the groove.

    1) Recognize that I'm just not in the writing zone and let my readers know this.

    2) Don't worry about it... Relax and don't think about your current project.

    3) Go off and read other stuff- SW and non-SW.

    4) Go back and read your earlier chapters and posts- maybe even edit a few of them. I often find editing past posts kicks me back into the writing zone.

    5) Ignore the most recent posts you need to write until you no longer feel drained creatively. Then when you feel the creative bug back upon you- attack your work again.

    6) If you just can't get yourself to work on your larger project- write something else- I find working on a vignette always works wonders. It forces you to come up w/ a whole story w/ a beginning and an end and gets you back in the writing zone.

    Just don't let your writing juices dry up is my main advice. Keep writing, even if that includes writing in a journal or long letters to friends. Eventually, if you love your project enough and want to continue it- inspiration will hit again.
     
  4. Jedi_Suzuran

    Jedi_Suzuran Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    May 22, 2002
    Well, me and my other author friends definetely suffer from that. Talking about it with others is the first best step for me. We encourage each other to come out of the slump. Case in point, I was so discouraged recently about one of my fics, that I was mentally tearing it apart every time I tried to write anything. NOT a good thing. Talking it with others helped.

    Support groups, a good thing. :p

    I also find that reading does help. It takes my mind off the problem, since I can sort of obsess if it doesn't go away. :p
     
  5. Spike2002

    Spike2002 Former FF-UK RSA and Arena Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 4, 2002
    I rant and rave until someone offers me some encouragement and then I'm happy again.
     
  6. Daughter_of_Yubyub

    Daughter_of_Yubyub Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2002
    I turn to my "little sister" who serves as sounding board and generally wonderful friend.
     
  7. Kyp_side_of_TheForce

    Kyp_side_of_TheForce Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 27, 2002
    I wait for my best friend, HJ, who I know IRL, to call me and ask me why the sith I haven't posted in a long time. She always does... eventually.

    If that doesn't happen for a while, then I do my homework. Even if it's not due for, basically, ever. The tedium of homework usually supresses my creativity, but it gets me in a mod where I'd rather do anything other than homework, and that makes it so I can write, even if I don't end up writing as well as I can.

    I never, ever have true confidence in my writing. The instant that I feel my writing is good, I remember how no one ever ups my fic, and such things, and that makes me think that all the people who tell me my fic is good are lying to me-- it all comes down to a lack of trust, in the end.
     
  8. geo3

    geo3 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2002
    I'm actually surprised that there aren't more replies on this thread because discouragement is something that every writer feels at one time or another.

    The suggestions about how to handle it are all very good. I would like to add another.

    I have always thought that the best cure for inner pain is to get out of my own head and my own worries and needs and desires and to focus on others instead. If I'm down in the dumps about my writing, it's 100% certain that there are plenty of others out there who are, too.

    I know from personal experience that even a few words of a encouragement or pleasure or delight from readers can change my attitude about my own work in heartbeat. So I go out and try to do that for others. I make sure that I really respond to the stories I read - there is always something delightful in each post that a writer has so lovingly crafted and taken the trouble to share. I go out and discover what I love in other poeple's stories and tell them so.

    I wish I had the time to read more, but I find that I am especially drawn to more "obscure" stories, often by new writers. I love the boldness that goes with daring to write and post when you are new to it. And usually one is driven to do that by a particular image or vision that is always interesting to read about.

    It's funny. The more I reach out to other writers in my own small way, the kinder and more patient I can be with myself. And ultimately we need to be kind and patient with ourselves when things are not going well.
     
  9. anakin_girl

    anakin_girl Jedi Knight star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 8, 2000
    I have always thought that the best cure for inner pain is to get out of my own head and my own worries and needs and desires and to focus on others instead. If I'm down in the dumps about my writing, it's 100% certain that there are plenty of others out there who are, too.

    That's a way I deal with being in a funk too, geo, about writing and about other things as well.

    I've been through the "I suck as a writer" phase many times--in fact, I'm probably there more often than not.

    It also helps me to talk to friends, either bounce off possible plot bunnies, or complain that I don't have any. Their support is always invaluable.

    I also re-read my old works and the feedback there to remind me that there are people who enjoy my story, and if it's been awhile, I'll leave my readers a note that says "My muse is taking a nap--I'll let you know when he wakes up."

    Finally, if all else fails, I just have to remember to give it time--no period of the blues lasts forever, thank the Force.
     
  10. AlrikFassbauer

    AlrikFassbauer Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 2, 2003
    Discouragement - what sort of ?

    I often feel discouragement when I think of how much better other artists seem to me.

    For example, I could never be able to produce nice wallpapwers for my computer desktop, so everytime I see one, it makes me feel inferior. So I rarely use one.

    I have a similar problem with good stories: They all teach me how it should be, but rarely tell me, how I could be better, except I take my time analysing them (what I rerely do, for not spoiling the feeling a story creates.

    So, when I feel discouraged, I take a look at some things I've written and which I really love. Often these are texts (mostly stories) which I have written only for myself, for no-one else.

    These are the places I go back to, when I need some time to get over the "Two Darths". ;)

    Another good thing is, to immediately stop writing at all, and do something else - the best thing would be to do something you know you are good of. ;)
     
  11. Sara_Kenobi

    Sara_Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Registered:
    Sep 21, 2000
    I usually step away from the fic in question, and take a long break. Discouragement, for me, comes when I've run out of things to say.
     
  12. LuvEwan

    LuvEwan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 24, 2002
    I find discouragement often when I'm writing...mostly because I love to read other fan fics.

    If I'm reading a particularly excellent story, I'll get lost in it, and just marvel at the brilliance of the work, how entertaining and poignant it is. Then I'll go to write on my own stories, and suddenly feel that they're a hollow excuse for good storytelling. They seem so empty I want to shut myself away from them.

    And yet I know I can't ever truly do that, because even if I don't return to the computer screen, the plot lines linger constantly in my head--a place I can't escape. So sometimes, like many others here have expressed, I just take time away from it, until it can become fresh again, and less disgusting to me.

    Another discouragement is negative feedback. It's so strange that the positive is almost always overlooked if a darker comment is also written in response to a work. I tend to focus on what this unsatisfied person has said, and even if I don't really agree with them at the core, I will let it eat away at me. But I can also be grateful for the eye-opener that can occasionally result, it helps me see my characterization from a different, outside perspective. ;)

    In some odd way, for me discouragement is something that I almost need in order to write. I think if I was completely or mostly confident of my stories, I wouldn't be able to handle writing. I have to have those doubts in order to improve myself, because the minute I'm one hundred percent sure of my work is when it's probably the worst. Does that even make sense? :confused:

    Oh well. :) Great topic, Breezy. The tips are great advice!
     
  13. PatttyB0123

    PatttyB0123 RSA Latin America star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Apr 2, 2003
    I got discoragement not long while ago when I went to a writers club.

    They looked me if I was a weird bug.

    I heard things such as
    "You write Star Wars?"
    "Science Fiction, oh?"
    "There are not feelings in those stories"
    "Write something else, kid"

    I got little upset, but I did not say anything.

    I got a terrible blue time.

    I wrote some others stories before I started writing Star Wars stories. I think that some people think that because is a sciencie fiction story there is not feelings or emotions.

    I went over my blue time by listening some music, and reading some others sciencie fictions stories. There were tones of emotions and those stories. Then I felt better.
     
  14. AlrikFassbauer

    AlrikFassbauer Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 2, 2003
    Yes, that's why I suggested this : If you feel down because someone has heavily critizised you, then take something you really love, and - most important - something no-one will ever see to criticise. ;)
     
  15. Jane Jinn

    Jane Jinn Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 12, 2000
    When you feel discouraged about your own fics, you might want to try giving some good, detailed, supportive feedback to another author. I know that whenever I'm down, but I force myself to do something nice for somebody else, I often come away feeling a bit more energised and just plain happier than when I started.
     
  16. Dev_Binks

    Dev_Binks Jedi Knight star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Go and read something really funny that always works for me... Oh and then you could always try my cure all... banging your head against a hard surface may not get rid of discouragment but'll sure give you a hell of a head ache.
     
  17. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002
    You mean like THIS?


    [image=http://www.sgtfretsurfer.com/Grilled-Sarlacc/ouch.gif]



    Works for me!
     
  18. Daughter_of_Yubyub

    Daughter_of_Yubyub Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2002
    I'm really lucky because my honorary little sister is the perfect sounding board. When I just can't seem to write, I just talk to her and we throw ideas around.

    [hl=pink]YubYub and TG- Protecting fangirls from hormonally gifted fanboys since 2002 [/hl]
     
  19. Tahiri

    Tahiri Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 9, 2001
    I'm still in that stage of having no idea what to do when discouraged because I'm always discouraged. I have fan fics up on fanfiction.net with tons of reviews and not a single bad review. Then I go and read something else and feel terrible because however many reviews I got is meaningless, because there's so much better out there. I get no encouragement from my family, because they never see what I write and don't take me seriously about it, and only one friend of mine really knows how I feel, but she's also 10 times better than me at writing and I'm lucky that I don't feel jealous because I wouldn't forgive myself. The only thing I can thing of doing - ranting. RANTING MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER. I rant to anyone and everyone and instead of beating my head on a keyboard I annoy everyone by being all emo and telling my problems, like I just did right now. It doesn't quite make the discouragement go away, but it makes you feel better that you're taking your frustrations out on poor online people like yourselves by complaining to them, because your friends and no one else you know IRL really gets it, and you hope that SOMEONE out there online in this thread full of other people trying to get out of the same problem you're having will understand. That's all.

    I feel much better already 8-}
     
  20. Arwen-Jade_Kenobi

    Arwen-Jade_Kenobi Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2002
    I tend to go into a spin of re-reading what I have written, looking for any bug whatsoever, then I pass it to my friend who is the supreme editor. *sudders and the red marked papers she gets back*

    Usually her advice is good, and I can pull myself out of the discouragment easily.

    That or going reclusive for the next month and a half works! ;)
     
  21. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    When I get discouraged, mostly I turn to music. Music and the written word are the two things that are my special talents, so to remind myself that there is something worth finding in my own efforts, I find the beauty I am able to create in other forms. After that, if I haven't mastered it or beaten it into temporary submission, I get on and vent a bit to a helpful hearer. And if that doesn't work, I just give it a day to stew and see what the morning brings.
     
  22. ShrunkenJedi

    ShrunkenJedi Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2003
    If it's criticism that's discouraging me, I think discouragement sometimes makes me want to go back and make what I've done a whole lot better. Then, if you can make it better, it gives you the satisfaction of being able to say, at least in your mind, "Ha, I did it, now is it good enough for you?!" Of course, this doesn't always work.
    General discouragement, though, I think is hard for me to deal with and more insidious. I think the way I get out of it is thinking about any nice things people have said about my work.
     
  23. MariahJade2

    MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2001
    Getting totally away for awhile from it can help to get perspective. Sunlight. Get lots of sunlight. Go out and do something physical and active and away from the computer. It can change your mood and then you can go from there to talking to friends and trying to write again. That's what I do anyway. :)
     
  24. Knight_Dilettante

    Knight_Dilettante Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Well, I've not posted anything of length here (as a writer anyway - some of my reply posts probably are felt to be too long already heh heh heh) yet. But I am familiar with discouragement. Much too familiar.

    One way I find that works to get me writing again fairly quickly after succumbing to the "I can't write" etc voice in the back of my head, is to read extremes of other's writing. I'll read someone's work that I think "if I've died and gone to heaven I might be able to write almost that well" while reading to inspire me to work hard at my own writing. And I'll read stuff (and there is far too much of it published from a certain point of view) that is so bad I spend the entire book saying "I can do better than that!" but I read the entire thing anyway (saying "it has to get better or they wouldn't have published it" right up until the last page).

    By the time I finish, at most a couple of the latter, I can usually start writing again. Either something new if I don't feel up to working on whatever discouraged me, or I will work on something else that I paused for some reason a while back. Sometimes I need to do the inspirational reading in a different genre from the one I am trying to write in so that I am a step removed from the itimidation of the brilliance. Otherwise it is too much fuel for that nasty little voice that really ought to go get a real job. Like reminding me to take my vitamins in the morning.

    KD
     
  25. Reihla

    Reihla Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    May 17, 2002
    Two things work for me when I just can't make myself write (whether writer's block or discouragement is the cause).

    The first is taking a nice long walk around my neighborhood. It's nice and peaceful and helps me clear all the excess clutter out of my head - all the stuff we all worry about that has nothing to do with writing.

    The second thing is I go read more stories. Not usually the trade paperbacks, or the longer fics I read regularly. I just pick out a few new stories from the boards (usually short ones) and read them. Lately I've jumped in on a few challenges when I got a little bogged down in my longer story. That seemed to help too.

    If none of that works then I figure I'm just not meant to write right now and I go to a movie :)
     
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