When writing becomes forced

73500 words. That’s how many words I’ve written so far and yet everything I’ve written the past week reflects 100% what Stephen King had written in his book On writing when he described what writing sometimes may look like: shoveling shit from a sitting position… I haven’t read many of his books nor am I yet a big fan but the man described my last week in the best way possible.
It’s not that I don’t know what to write (I have my outline from the Snowflake method), it’s just that a) what I write sounds to me like a five year old child has written it (and if I can’t satisfy myself, how can I expect to satisfy compete strangers?!) and most importantly b) somehow the story I outlined now seems to have huge holes that make me arch my brow as I read the outline. And, to make things worse, now that I’m 70k+ words into the story, I can’t help but feel that my inciting moment has taken too long to appear. Yay… *sarcasm*
I feel bogged down and that I’ve somehow lost something along the way; perhaps the spark, perhaps my focus of the inner thoughts of the character perhaps… I don’t know!
Over the past week I’ve been reading less fiction and more articles from agents. Nearly every one of them simply states the obvious: it’s really really hard to make it in the publishing world. What are the chances that a non-native English speaker can traditionally publish a book, when others have failed? Maybe that’s the reason I feel lost and everything I write seems, well, like shoveling shit from a sitting position.

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4 Responses to When writing becomes forced

  1. I tried the snowflake method at first, but it didn’t work at all for me. My experience has been one of finding the story far more often than that of creating it. This is just my experience, but I am less than 10k words from my estimated completion point and so far I love 98% of what I have written. There have been days like you’re talking about where I look back on up to 3k or more works and say “that sounds like shit” then delete it. I don’t know what to tell you except maybe take some time off of writing and think through your story, figure out where the important plot holes are and see what you can do to fill them in. I have had to look back and realize gaping issues, but after a day of speculation I have always found a solution and often the solution makes for an even better story than I could have expected. That’s all I got for ya man, I hope it helped and I hope you don’t either give up OR settle for less than your best.

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  2. Thank you for the encouragement, Nathan. Giving up is not option. I have an OCD and I have to see through everything I start. Unless it becomes so pointless and meaningless that my mind just switches off.
    I’ve tried writing on the fly, so to speak, with no outline but I found myself getting lost and without a feel for the characters. In fact, that’s how I started writing. After a few months I realised it wouldn’t work for me. So I adopted the Snowflake method. I think it’s a matter of what you said: I probably need some time off or work on something else for a week perhaps. Or perhaps it was just a bad week. It may also be time to start thinking about all the things that revising should cover… Obviously, it’s going to take longer than I previously expected.

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  3. You are a great writer. I know it’s discouraging, but you can do this!!

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  4. Thanks Dee. You’re always very supportive! It may be just a case of me getting tired. If that’s the case then some time off should patch things up. On the other hand, I feel VERY guilty when I’m not writing. Like I cheated myself, kind of thing…

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