Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#2
I set myself a new years resolution at the start of 2020 to write every day. I'm a slow writer, I probably average somewhere in the region of 500 words an hour. And that's a solid hour without breaks, which I almost never managed to commit to at the time. My goal here wasn't to write a lot but to write consistently. I had days ranging from 1500 to less than 100, but the key was writing every day, no matter what. Even if it's only 10 minutes, get it done before you go to bed. All the advice I saw talked about making a routine of it, and I had never manged to succeed at this before. But after about half a year of doing this it became second nature to get a session of writing in every day. It was a massive challenge getting to that point, but I've not skipped a day since then and find it increasingly easy to get started and finish whatever my writing goal of the day is.

One of the things I found particularly useful was hanging a calendar on the wall in view from my PC. I'd write down my word count every day. After a couple of weeks of doing that, the idea of missing a day and having a blank spot is motivating on its own.

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#3

Schratze Wrote: the lack of feedback/followers for my fiction.


Solve that by writing first and posting only after you have a more massive backlog. An imaginary audience can't demotivate you. 


Schratze Wrote: I haven't written much in these days, just 58 words (consider that I'm a slow writer and I usually write 100-500 words a day if I'm inspired).

There's two opposing methods of writing - those who paint section by section in meticulous detail, and those who draw all over the canvas in broad strokes and slowly narrow the strokes down until they're individual details. 

I'm the second type.

I don't bank on inspiration to write from nowhere. Tackle it like an engineering problem instead. First, focus only on the outline. Write up the main plot points, then figure out what scenes need more tension, where transitions need to be added, character questions that need to be solved and at what point in time they need to be solved. All the big questions need to get answered in this step. Don't focus on the small questions like who says what. A note like "He convinces Mary to go along with his plan in a way that the audience will consider to be manipulative but understand he has no other choice." would be typical to this sort of stuff. That could be half a chapter on it's own, but on the outline it's just a sentence along with some info on what the meta-goals are. 

Once you've got your main outline with all the mechanics setup, go chapter by chapter and write out a bullet outline of what's supposed to happen in that specific chapter.  Then go through those bullets one by one and expand them into a larger sublist of bullet items (What needs to happen, what information needs to be conveyed to the reader, what emotions or character development is expected within this bullet point, all the sub-details that need to be correctly hit by this bullet point.)  

Once you're done with that, then go through and actually start replacing the main bullet points with the first rough draft text. At that point, there's no need to wait for inspiration, everything's already solved and you don't need to come up with new ideas besides micro ones, like how someone says something, or what actions they take.  

What this process does is compartmentalize all the different steps to writing a story. The issue you might be facing is that you have to do all those steps at the same time if you're just sitting down and trying to come up with something from nothing. That's too much to do so your head shuts down. If instead you split it all up into very specific tasks that require just one or two skills at a time, it's a lot more manageable. And of course, don't do all of this in the same day. 

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#4
I give myself a break. Take a nap with one of my cats or go for a walk with music on. Personally, I usually find that trying to force it leads to writing of such low quality that it isn't even worth it, while letting my brain go elsewhere often gives me new ideas and motivation.

Also, I don't start posting anything anywhere until I have a substantial backlog. I take it for granted that it will take a while to gain any traction at all, and with a backlog, I can keep releasing chapters regularly while I work on the next arc. That keeps me distracted from fretting about numbers.

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#5

Mark Wrote: Solve that by writing first and posting only after you have a more massive backlog. An imaginary audience can't demotivate you.
I'm currently updating my fiction once a week, but I always end up finishing part of the story I intend to publish a day before the usual release date and for that reason I feel tired. Maybe I should accumulate some written chapters before posting. After all, I don't have an audience yet.



Mark Wrote: I don't bank on inspiration to write from nowhere. Tackle it like an engineering problem instead.
I have a general outline for my initial chapters, but I usually expand them while I'm writing. I should probably make a better list of what to write in a certain part of the story, if my laziness allows it. Anyway thanks for the tips!

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#6

Prysmcat Wrote: Also, I don't start posting anything anywhere until I have a substantial backlog. I take it for granted that it will take a while to gain any traction at all, and with a backlog, I can keep releasing chapters regularly while I work on the next arc. That keeps me distracted from fretting about numbers.
I thought about that before posting my story online. However I decided to publish it regardless of not having a backlog because I didn't want to give up on writing ( it happens regularly because I get depressed easily). In this way, I could remind myself of my commitment to writing.

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#7

Schratze Wrote:
Prysmcat Wrote: Also, I don't start posting anything anywhere until I have a substantial backlog. I take it for granted that it will take a while to gain any traction at all, and with a backlog, I can keep releasing chapters regularly while I work on the next arc. That keeps me distracted from fretting about numbers.
I thought about that before posting my story online. However I decided to publish it regardless of not having a backlog because I didn't want to give up on writing ( it happens regularly because I get depressed easily). In this way, I could remind myself of my commitment to writing.
Different things work for different people. :-) I live daily with severe depression and anxiety. I use writing as my fun escape, the thing that keeps me grounded, which is why I don't force myself to write when I'm not feeling it - if it becomes a responsibility, I'll stop wanting to do it at all. I would find the stress of the pressure to keep up the pace far more de-motivating, personally. But then, I write first for myself, just to enjoy doing it, and finding an audience is a secondary consideration. One that matters to me, but that comes after the pleasure just of immersing myself in my own worlds.


Whatever works for you is best for you, though. Everyone gets to figure out their own approach. I hope you do!

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#8
I'm just getting started with Royal Road, with my story application sent in last night. So this thread was very interesting to me. 
My problem is that I will work on a story in my head for ages, reworking ideas, putting things in order, thinking of scenes. But wasn't putting it down on paper. What finally worked was not writing the first chapter, but working on anything at all that inspired me at the time. After a few days of quite a bit of writing I finally put it in order and started cleaning it up. Someone in a post above described it as painting all over the canvas and that certainly describes what i've been doing. 

I think at this point the challenge is going to be splitting my time between writing any part of the story, and then making sure that the next chapter gets done on time. 

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#10

Schratze Wrote: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?


Well, you kinda wrote something didn't you? This post! That's what I do - I write. Even if it ends up plain garbage I throw away eventually. Sometimes I write something nonsensical. Like right now. Can I do that here?

---
Meet Jane. This unfortunate lady likes to write, but today she's kinda out of her head. Why? Well, the stupid dinousaur's descendant screramed in the morning! This dammable bird woke up two hours before she did and tried its best to kill its chords. Then there's Dave. She was supposed to meet him, but he went awol, lol. So how could she focus and write? Easy. She just sat down and wrote a story how Dave's hair got frozen in a land of magic. Voila, her block was away and she could write what really matters - angri comments about current geopolicital situation on royalroad forum.
---

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#13
Depends on the cause. If I am restless and finding it hard to focus, I meditate until my mind is in the right state to concentrate.

If I am having trouble with a particular passage, I have two methods. One is trying to work it out in my head. Going on a walk helps with this - removes me from distractions, and being physically active can help stimulate your mind. If that doesn't work, if I can't figure it out, I force myself to sit and stare at the document until I have written at least one sentence. If I can, I force another sentence. Etc. When I can't anymore, I set it aside for the rest of the day, and tomorrow, I force myself to get another sentence done. My reasoning is that as long as I'm making daily progress, however small, I will eventually get through the troublesome passage.

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#15
I just do something else. Inspiration comes and go when reading something else or watching something else. 

Dozing off and sleeping is fine too. Dreaming of your story is a good way to move the plot or see a scene more vividly. 


With only a couple chapters out it is a bit early to feel discouraged by the lack of views. Don't expect readers and comments before you have more chapters out.
I know the feeling when you see no views and no comments. 

There is nothing else to do than to keep writing. Either the story is worth telling and it is enough to motivate you or either you yourself aren't interested in your story and it might be time to plan another one. 

In the end what are you writing for? Fun? Fame? Work? That's also something to consider. 

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#16

Tynian Wrote: Either the story is worth telling and it is enough to motivate you or either you yourself aren't interested in your story and it might be time to plan another one.
I have other stories in mind, but I think I should complete the one I'm currently writing. If I start another fiction, it would be difficult for me to keep both stories moving forwards considering my slow writing speed and short attention span. So for now I will continue working on my first fictionand improve my writing at the same time.
Tynian Wrote: In the end what are you writing for? Fun? Fame? Work? That's also something to consider.
I think a combination of the three. I have always loved imagining original characters and worlds: I cannot draw or make games, thus I resorted to writing to tell my stories. It would be great if this became my job, but for that to happen I need readers and money. I wonder if I can succeed though.

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#17
So let's say money is your goal. (there is no shame in wanting something you like doing to earn yourself a living, this isn't pejorative) 

Then you need to plan accordingly. Meaning backlog, regular schedule, and at best, daily chapters. 

If you expect people to pay for your story when there are a lot of free ones out there you must either provide super high quality or a lot. 
Seeing how well daily published series are doing, I'd advise you to go down that road. It works and people are less regarding on quality as long as the volume keeps coming. 


Next is advertising, publishing on multiples platforms, specialized websites, promoting your story on discords and forums to catch as many reader as you can. You can't wait for customers to come, you must go get them. 

It is a fulltime work, there are writters here making threads on what they do to make a living. (recently i saw this infography with a guy writing 2k words/day and juggling multiples stories, just to make living wages).

But I'm just a hobbyist, so I'll let the professional writers talk more about this aspect. 

TL:DR: If you really want to go professional then writing is the only answer. Force yourself to write, even when not motivated, because it is work, not only fun. 

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#19


Tynian Wrote: Meaning backlog, regular schedule, and at best, daily chapters. 

If you expect people to pay for your story when there are a lot of free ones out there you must either provide super high quality or a lot. 
Seeing how well daily published series are doing, I'd advise you to go down that road. It works and people are less regarding on quality as long as the volume keeps coming.



I'm the slowest writer you can ever met. It can take me a week just to write 1k words (that's why I update my fic once a week). It's impossible for me to publish daily chapters. If I'm lucky, I can write 4 "chapters" in a month with no updates for my story and only in this way I can have a kind of backlog.
Tynian Wrote: Next is advertising, publishing on multiples platforms, specialized websites, promoting your story on discords and forums to catch as many reader as you can. You can't wait for customers to come, you must go get them.



Unfortunately I don't have a huge following online and I'm too broke to afford advertisements. Self promoting is good in moderation: I can't go on other websites and tell people to read my story. I'm not even sure where I can get readers.

That's why being a writer is still a dream for me. I don't see a good prospect with all these flaws. 

Re: What do you do when you feel unmotivated to write?

#20
Maybe for right now, it would be best to just live in the moment and concentrate on having fun writing and getting better at it, since the best way to improve is to actually do it as much as you possibly can. Looking at barriers to making a living from writing is only going to further undermine your sense of motivation.

Lots of people write just for the enjoyment of doing it.

Making a living off writing is hard work - it certainly isn't an easier alternative to a more traditional job. Like any kind of self-employment, it's not likely to stay within a standard work-week and it is always likely to be precarious. The only good reason I can think of to dive into that is because you genuinely love it that deeply - and the only way to know whether it's going to grab hold of your soul and never let go is to explore.

It takes time to discover your own best process - planner? Pantser? Some variation? Whether a particular time or place or both works best for you, whether a particular type of music helps you. It also takes time, practice, and editing to explore your own voice, and for that matter, to learn how to edit well.

At this stage, I would suggest that you read a lot, and write as much as you possibly can, just to get the world in your head out in some form, and be gentle with yourself as far as numbers and stats and readers and all. Building an audience takes time and enough material for them to actually have an opinion about. So many stories online get abandoned early that many don't start reading until there are ten or more chapters posted regularly. But if you're writing purely for readers, not for yourself, then I suspect you're going to have chronic issues with motivation.