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20 May 2014 @ 02:50 pm
Writing. Depressing things.  
I almost started crying at work just now and had to step away from reading my f-list. Let me explain.

Over three years ago I made the super important decision to go back to school and finish my BA. I had lost my day job with no others in sight. I felt like it was something I needed to do for my future and financial security. Then I finished that, and made the hard choice to do another year+ of school to get my Masters, because in order to go into teaching, I need one. I did these things. I am done, I have my MATLT. And I don't regret it, exactly, but I resent the hell out it.

Allow me to explain: I used to write ALL THE TIME. I wrote fic. I wrote books. I wrote every day. I wrote a book you all might remember about telepathic space pirates that garnered me a really awesome phone conversation with an agent who read the whole thing, and gave me invaluable feedback about hoe to make it better. I had another story I wrote rejected, but with a wonderful personal letter from the editor asking me to expand it into a full length book. I feel like I made this choice about my financial future at a critical moment in my writing career, if you want to call it that. School happened, and it demanded so much reading and well, academic writing time that I just didn't have the energy left over to write creatively. I barely had time to read anything. I kept telling myself "When school is done". Well, it is, and I still haven't picked up the gauntlet again.

I read about friends of mine, writers doing the things I used to do - finishing books, querying agents, working on things - and something inside me breaks a little bit. I mean, I'm happy for them, I am. But I just seem to sink deeper into my own personal writing depression. I miss it SO MUCH. So why am I not doing it? Why haven't I picked up that pen again and started being creative?

Honestly? I'm scared. I am terrified in some deep part of myself that I've somehow "lost it". That in the three years of academic writing, my ability as a fiction writer has somehow vanished. While I might be a tad rusty, I know logically that that is ridiculous, and that if I just do it, I will soon be churning out words and characters and stories to the level I was at previously. But the fear is paralyzing in a way that I cannot explain. I WANT to write, but forcing myself to actually do it is proving to be this huge hurtle I never thought I would EVER have to overcome.

The longer this goes on, the worse it is. Fandom and fic writing helped me get back into writing the last time I experienced an issue kind of like this. But it wasn't this...much. It wasn't as intense, and hadn't gone on for as long. I know the answer: write, stupid. But I am really, really struggling with how to make myself just move past the fear and do it. And in the meantime, I am almost crying when I read about how happy writerly friends are, or the strides they are making in their own writing.

This can't continue. I have to do something to move forward. But fandom isn't what it once was, and I don't know if writing fic will give me back my confidence the way it once did. I am sad, and afraid, and I don't know what to do to kick myself in the rear and move forward.
Queen of the Skiesqueenoftheskies on May 20th, 2014 10:35 pm (UTC)
You never lose it, but the getting past yourself is a difficult thing.

What about a few words/day and work your way back?

What about a writing partner to talk writing with and share work with?

We're all rooting for you, you know. We all know you can do it. We all know you WILL.

rhienellethrhienelleth on May 20th, 2014 11:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Getting out of my own way is definitely the problem that I am struggling with.

Good suggestions. And thanks for the vote of confidence. :)
KayJayUUkayjayuu on May 20th, 2014 10:53 pm (UTC)
Something fun.

Writing used to be fun, right?

Find something to do that makes you happy to do it. Not fearful because you might not.

What would your main character say about this?
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 20th, 2014 11:15 pm (UTC)
Writing used to be fun, right?

Exactly. I'm putting all of this pressure on myself, instead of just doing what I love.

My main character would shake her head and tell me to get to it. Fear isn't overcome with avoidance.
KayJayUUkayjayuu on May 21st, 2014 12:19 am (UTC)
So let's hear her.
Nuquiet_rebel on May 20th, 2014 11:15 pm (UTC)
I totally understand. After I finished grad school and moved out to California, my writing stalled. I was writing and submitting, but that passion, that fire, it was gone. I was lucky enough to find a great writing group and we meet monthly to critique and just encourage each other. Another big difference is I've come to acknowledge the fact that I am a writer. When people ask me what I do, I say, "I'm a writer," not "I want to be a writer." For some reason, that gives me a lot of that confidence.

Even if you set small goals for yourself, write a few hundred words, submit one story, outline something new, etc. it means you're moving forward.

I do miss writing fanfic. That's what I'm more frustrated about. Every now and then, I'll get this idea and go over it in my head, but then it never makes it to the page. I think because, like you said, fandom as we knew it isn't the same anymore.

Not sure if you know about this author named Chuck Wendig, but he maintains great blog and gives great writing advice. Funny enough his post today was about writers block and what it really means. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/05/20/writers-block-might-be/

If you ever want me to read something, let me know! You're talented and creative and I totally remember the space pirates, so go for it!
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 21st, 2014 12:00 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this reply, Nu. Just reading about someone else who has been there and gotten past it is huge. I think I just need to write something and send it a few people to read, get feedback, write more, etc. Small goals are a good suggestion.

Wow, that blog write up was great. *bookmarked*

If you ever want me to read something, let me know! You're talented and creative and I totally remember the space pirates, so go for it!

Thanks, this totally made me smile. :) I just may take you up on that at some point. I think interaction with other writers might be key to me moving past this.
kistha on May 21st, 2014 12:27 am (UTC)
You Have This!
Seriously it's not like your talent went off somewhere because it didn't like college. It isn't a teenage brat. You're muse might be, but that's between you two. :) You can do it, you just need to let yourself do it.

Dream a dream again. I am, you can too.

One title:

Agents of SHEILD.

Just do it, for yourself. And share with me, because obviously.

Edited at 2014-05-21 12:28 am (UTC)
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 21st, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC)
Re: You Have This!
Seriously it's not like your talent went off somewhere because it didn't like college.

I can always count on my BFF to say the best stuff! Or maybe just the "I really need to hear that" stuff. :)

You know where I think some of this is coming from? Training. Because when I quit martial arts and tried to go back after three years, it was godawful, like I'd never flipping trained before, after twelve years of doing it. But that was a totally different situation, and training itself and how we trained had changed hugely in the three years I was gone.

Still. In the back of my head somewhere, some part of me remembers that and thinks "what if writing is the same?" It's not like I haven't written at all during this time. I wrote a LOT, just all academia, with a few aborted attempts at getting some fiction writing scattered in.

You're right. I should try my hand at some fic, and see what happens.
kistha on May 21st, 2014 04:40 pm (UTC)
Re: You Have This!
Training *really* changed, and ask my husband continues from session to session for him. If you wanted it back and had the time, you could get back into it. And you'd change as it changes. I see a lot of older dancers coming back, and it's hard for them, but then they just do something naturally and they keep coming back. In some ways learning the same skill only different after a break is harder than learning it with no previous exposure.

Writing doesn't change the way training does. The English language hasn't changed dramatically in the couple of years you've been gone. Publishing might have altered, but writing well, and crafting good stories? Totally the same. And all that academia writing totally kept you're writing chops in action. Now it's just time to let loose.

Can't wait to see you!

L.A.frenchroast on May 21st, 2014 03:10 am (UTC)
I understand how you're feeling--once I started my teaching internship, I didn't write another thing until I quit teaching a few years later. It was months after that before I could try writing anything, and even then, it took ages just to write my first drabble after that. I still write nowhere near as much or as often as I used to, even though I'm not overwhelmed like I used to be. It's really only in the last couple of months that I've finally started to crawl out of the Writer's Block Valley, and it's very slow going. I lost all the habits I'd acquired, my surroundings are completely different, and all of those things make it harder.

The one thing I've found that has helped me is fic exchanges, because they give me an extra incentive to write--if I don't, it means I let someone besides myself down, and I don't want to do that. So far, that's the only writing I've managed to finish outside of a drabble here or there. Maybe that would help you get back into it?
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 21st, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, fic exchanges are a good idea! If only I knew how to find them anymore. It used to be, those would pop up all over my f-list, but that isn't the case anymore. :( Hmm. I'll do some searching. Thanks!
celli on May 23rd, 2014 05:49 am (UTC)
A wandering fellow on the long roadtsarina on May 21st, 2014 03:51 am (UTC)
I'm going to recommend a good source of encouragement, especially when it comes to writing. Do the thing! Even if you aren't moved to post, I think perhaps reading some of the comments and some of the encouragements about other folks & their writing struggles might help?
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 21st, 2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I have it bookmarked and will check it out. I will take all of the encouragement I can get right now, and it seems to be a theme in what everyone is suggesting: find a writers group, a few friends, whatever and write and get feedback. That is EXACTLY what writing fic did for me years and years ago, so I don't know why this should come as a surprise. :)
xlanaxlana on May 21st, 2014 04:46 am (UTC)

if you want advice, here's mine: pick a reward/bribe. promise yourself something nice if you write x minutes every day for z days. a little something for a week, a medium something for a month, and a big something for completing a full story.

if you don't want advice, here's tons of hugs and support. (and sympathy; both winglets are busy writing very interesting stories. wing2 wrote a 100k fanfic that is being translated into two languages, even.)
rhienellethrhienelleth on May 21st, 2014 03:41 pm (UTC)
*hugs you back*

*blinks* Fanfic being translated? That happens? Wow.

Thanks, Wing. :) The reward/bribe is a good idea. I'll have to think about something I could use for that. And I really appreciate the hugs.
kistha on May 22nd, 2014 05:35 am (UTC)
Side note
You might like these paranormal romances: http://www.blackgate.com/2014/05/19/the-series-series-cursed-by-s-j-harper/
I haven't read it but Dr. Pretentious did and reviewed it, and other than her not liking romance genre, she thought it was a good book.
roseaponiroseaponi on May 22nd, 2014 02:32 pm (UTC)
I go through cycles of this too - and I don't even have the degree afterward :( you've been busy with writing that has a lot of weight in it, writing intended to be judged by an audience, writing for the purpose of earning the degree, conforming to what the professors expect of you. It's like you've been sitting in one position for too long - there are some pops and creaks and pins and needles when you finally get to stretch.

It isn't pleasant, but it's healthier than staying crunched up into a ball. </p>

You can try getting a cheap pen and scrap paper and just writing something that doesn't matter in the two or five minutes between finishing something and starting another, just to see what writing feels like with zero expectations attached.

Lara: quillcarmentalis on May 22nd, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC)
Sorry for a random person popping in, but this did hit a very familiar note...

I don't know if you're actively teaching at the moment, but that might be one of the reasons for the situation. Teaching drains a lot of creative energy from other areas, even if it's only about coming up with theoretical lesson outlines and drafts. It's something a lot of my colleagues struggle with - we are a group of writers in my school, and most of us only really manage to write in the holidays. It's not so much a lack of time, but all the creativity ends up in other channels. It's not necessarily a bad thing (the creativity is still there, it's just somewhere else), but it's sometimes a very frustrating situation.

Little things like a daily word challenge or just having another writer to cheer you on and vice versa can help. It works for me, but it's obviously not a one-shoe-fits-all situation.
Stephstephdub on May 25th, 2014 03:27 am (UTC)
Would a website that offers different prompts help to get you writing? Maybe not fiction, but just something that might get some creative juices flowing. A journal maybe? I don't know. Sorry, I'm not very helpful, writing was never my thing.