Anonymous said: I've formed a bad habit where, instead of writing, I'll just sit and daydream stories, and they're always perfect because they never have to be translated from thought to form. As a side effect I've stopped writing almost completely. I try to get back into the habit of writing but I've found it hard to come up with ideas without sitting and daydreaming ideas, but doing that makes me lose the motivation to write. Do you have any advice to break this habit?
This was my ‘writing career’ when I was young. I’d come up with great ideas, wonderful ideas, aaand… I never got past jotting down the basic summary. Why? I’m still not sure. Maybe I was afraid of my ability to write them (reflecting, I think this had a large part of it). Maybe the first draft blues kept me from really understanding how to put the moving pictures in my head into words.
Thing is, though, even in movies, script writers and directions have to use language to convey what they imagine, and the fear of fucking it up is only hurting one person: you (and me!). I’m gonna be honest here; it’s not easy. It’s really hard, actually, and you need to keep trying and failing until you get on it. You can do this thing. You know you can.
Make peace with the shitty first draft. You have to accept this as part of the process. Breathe in, let go. This is one of the main reasons I draft in ink and paper, because it’s much easier to keep going without looking back. Don’t hesitate too long over which word to use; write both, underline, and move on. The only thing between you and perfecting your idea is the shit it’s gonna start out as, and you have to get that hammered out before you move on.
It’s hard. I know it’s hard. Your idea is so good, but it comes out so badly. Fear of the shitty first draft is the biggest motivation killer I know. It’s an emotional landmine, one that waits for when you come back to reveal something you liked while writing earlier is, in, fact, not that great at all. You have to accept this. You have to live with it and keep writing. It gets better later on, you just have to deal with the bad now. Don’t dwell on it. Get it down to edit later.
Outline. Outline and remember outlining is not writing; no matter how vague or detailed, you have to go back and put it into story structure later. Outline knowing that it’s a way to write without the scariness of writing, outline knowing it gets you closer to your goal. Outlining is your ally, but don’t let it hold you forever. It’s tempting to stay in the outline phase; it’s safe there, with no chance of failure. Don’t believe it; you have to move beyond it.
Deadline. Once the writing starts, find ways to stick to it. Give yourself goals and dates, tempt yourself with rewards (candy!) and punishments (do the dishes!). Find people to help you out; ask your Team You to check in with your process. If you’re having trouble, talk to them about plot points or just vague ideas. You need encouragement and the internet can be a great place to find it, but again, don’t get stuck there. You need to move on. You need to get those words down.
You can do this anon. Your ideas are worth it. Put those daydreams on paper, get partners to encourage or write with you.
This is totally what I’ve been doing. YAY a possible solution!