Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#1
Main reason I'm asking is because I've completely lost all of mine, over the past year or so. Before then, and for at least the past decade before that, writing was one of the only thinking I could feel some sort of satisfaction and happiness from, one of the only things which made me feel like I was even capable of fulfilling anything in life. I've struggled with suicidal depression for more than half my lifetime now- writing fiction, like reading it, offered escape via immersion in another world, another reality. But then I lost my hard-drive, along with pretty much my entire life's work up that point (more than 50 stories and short stories, most of them completed and fully edited, amounting to well over 2M words), and since the lockdowns took away literally everything else too, including any prospect of ever having a social life in the real world (as opposed to the hollow, fake and artificial substitute offered by the digital world, via social media), I've just completely lost all of the vestigial drive and motivation I used to have. 

And coming to these sorts of sites hasn't helped, in the way I'd hoped it would- all it's done is just induce further demoralization, and reinforce how utterly worthless, futile, impotent and inferior my best efforts would be, even if I devoted literally every waking moment of every day to the endeavor (in the way I did for a few periods when I was younger, as a university graduate with a BA in Creative Writing). It's just like "Oh, you used to write and edit new content at 10-15k words a week? Pff, that's soo pathetic- all of us REAL web-novel authors write at least 1k an hour, every single day without fail!" And with literally every single concept I've got, all I get is "It's been done" and "TROPE"-calling (half of the time, for ones which I'd already completed, and had ready for publication, years before the other stories I get accused of ripping off for the 'unoriginal ideas'). 

At this point, I just feel like there's literally no point of trying to write anything any more. There's nothing left under the sun that's fresh or original, and since losing all my body of work forever- which, even if I still remembered them all by heart, at the vastly reduced rate of 5k a week at best which I can write now, would require me dedicating at least 8 years of my life, with singular dedication to that one goal alone, just to recover from- whenever I've tried to sit down and actually write again, all it's done is just remind me of my losses, with that incessant voice in the back of my head telling me to give up, pack it in and grow up, instead of continuing to waste my time and efforts on a futile and naive attempt at childhood wish fulfilment, when I know full well that it won't bring me any sort of tangible rewards or appreciation, let alone an income. 

If I do give up and pack it in, never writing again (in the same way that I already had to give up and pack it in with drawing as a teen, since I wasn't fast enough), it's not like it'd be a loss for anyone- there are literally millions of people of there who can churn out industrial volumes of literally any works of fiction I'm humanly capable of crafting, far better and faster than I ever could. And it doesn't matter what it's about; chances are that no-one's going to rate any of my work or my characters, and that I'd have a better chance of supporting myself financially by playing the lottery in the hopes of winning it big than by publishing my fiction novels. So why try? When I've got a reduced life expectancy of only 55-60yrs at most, with a mere 21-26yrs left to live, without having achieved anything meaningful or even had a single relationship, platonic or romantic, in my entire life- is there still a point of writing, an activity I can't even enjoy any more? Or is it just wasted effort? 

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#2
First, write for yourself. Set aside the idea that other people's opinions matter. Just write, and indulge yourself in the joy of writing. 
Second, expand your horizons. If you write fantasy, read romance novels. read sci-fi novels. read history. If you want to be good at writing, you have to drown yourself in words. 
Third, consider therapy. 
Fourth, anything worth keeping is worth backing up. Save it to a flash drive. use Google Drive. so on and so forth. 

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#3
Well, first of all, you can stop comparing yourself with others. So what if they can write faster! Speed of writing doesn't guarantee quality! Some of my favorite traditionally published authors are notoriously slow (it's been 9 years since the previous book in a series I'm reading and I'm still waiting for the next book (and 20 years since he started the series!)). This is also something to be careful of with art. Good art and good writing very often take a lot of time, even with a many years of experience. The surest thing you can do to discourage yourself is to compare your work to someone else's, but everyone works differently so you shouldn't let it get to you if you think someone is doing better than you. Someone is always going to be doing something better or faster than you so there's no point in letting that get you down. What matters is whether or not your work is improving: is the quality of your writing (or art) better now than whenever you started? If the answer to that is, yes, then that's what's important! 

Making any sort of a living in writing or in art has always been and will always be an uphill battle, but that doesn't mean that you just give up. Yes, you might need to take breaks every now and then to recover from emotional or physical burnout or take the proverbial 'day-job,' but that's normal. Also, if it is something that you've loved doing, then forget about making an income from it for awhile and just do it for the enjoyment. Write what you'd like to read and forget about what anybody else might think of it. However, don't be afraid to share it just because you wrote it for yourself and not others. It might surprise you to find out just how many others like the same thing, also, when you write/create something that you yourself love it really tends to show in the quality of the work because it's more genuine to you.

Everyone's skills and talents are different. In college, I struggled for the longest time to even consider myself an artist despite the fact that I was a Fine Arts major. I'd never taken an art class before my Drawing I class in college and couldn't draw to save my life, but I was in that major because I was going into jewellery design. I learned an awful lot in that class, but I still kept comparing where I was at to where some of my classmates were and, when I didn't think I measured up, just kept telling myself that I was a jeweller and not an artist. Except that jewellery is an art, just a completely different one to drawing or painting. It took most of by three years at community college to realize that and to stop comparing my work to my classmates. Of course it wouldn't always match up to theirs, they had all been doing it longer than I had! I was comparing apples to oranges because I had more catching up to do before I could try and match, let alone pass, where they were in terms of technical and creative skill. That didn't mean I couldn't get there, but that I would just have to work harder at it. 

It's the same thing with you (whether with your writing or your drawing). You want to improve and get to where you think you 'measure up' with whomever you've been comparing your work to and think somehow defines where you 'should' be at? The only way you will ever do so is by not quitting and simply writing more or drawing more. Your skills can't grow if you aren't regularly using them. Also, speed of creation is a terrible thing to make any sort of comparison with because it isn't constant. Even the most experienced writer or artist will have projects that just slow down to an absolute crawl at times and the reasons for it vary wildly and usually have very little to do with their level of ability. In terms of artwork, unless you are doing client work and creating to a deadline, then speed is largely also irrelevant. I've had digital paintings that only took a few days and then I've had ones that took years. They were all personal projects though so I could take whatever time I needed to ensure they turned out well and not rush them just to 'get them done.' However, all of my personal work, made it possible for me to majorly overhaul a fellow author's book cover in just about two-weeks. 

As for tropes? They are tropes for a reason: they work. Some will love them, some will hate them; it's just a matter of reading taste. Yes, it is increasingly difficult to come up with truly 'original' ideas, but it's not impossible, and it's very possible to take a familiar idea or trope and give it a unique and enjoyable spin. Again, write what you would like to read, don't necessarily try to write to market. You don't know who your readers are or their minds to know what they will or will not like reading, but you do know your own and, odds are, you aren't the only person out there with that particular taste in stories. Not everyone will like what you write, but not everyone will hate it either so don't take to heart too much what discouragement you get from readers comments. It may simply be that the right audience for your story hasn't found it yet and have very little reflection on your story itself.

In short, if you want to draw, then draw; if you want to write, then write. Forget about everyone else and how you think you compare. It doesn't matter. This is your art/writing journey and not theirs and the sooner you can get past it, the sooner you can start to enjoy it again and feel more motivated to keep going.

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#5
I mostly write because I enjoy it. Because I like to take the daydreams I use to entertain myself when I'm failing to fall asleep, or when I'm stuck on a long drive, and turn them into something real. 

My big problem with mental health is how much my current state affects the quality of what I'm writing. My mood, and the media I'm otherwise consuming, has a very immediate impact in what I create. And while I can write just fine when I'm depressed, the quality is terrible. Like terrible by the standards of high-school-emo-poetry terrible. Like flowery and descriptive language about dead bodies would be an improvement. 

So I've already been tracking mental heath day by day, so what I started doing is changing what projects I'm working on based on mood. Something for when I'm depressed, something for when I'm genuinely happy (Which oddly enough also makes for kinda crappy writing), and something for when I'm stable. And I try really hard to never write when I'm chemically impaired. I don't want to get into the habit of feeling the need for chemical imputs to be creative. 

As for comparing myself to other writers, I just can't. There's always someone better, or faster, or more successful, or whatever. I'm sure when Steven King has dark days he thinks about how his concepts will never compare to Neil Gaimon's; Gaimon worries his prose will never compare to Cormac McCarthy; McCarthy is probably upset he doesn't write as much as Steven King; all of them are upset that they don't make as much as JK Rowling. 

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#6
Hello.

It sounds like you are facing a depression problem moreso than a writing one.  Not that I wouldn’t be pained at the loss of 2 mil worth of words, too.  That would be very very frustrating.  But having written that much is definitely something to be proud of!

The thing about depression, though, is that it lies.  

"No one cares" and "no one loves me" are two of its biggest lies.  But they aren't true.  You've got family, friends, coworkers, etc.  You know this for fact and it becomes a logic vs emotion thing. 

"I'm all alone" and "I'm worthless" are two other big lies told by depression.  Both aren't true.  You are only as alone as you allow yourself to be.  Yes, COVID stuff gets in the way of gatherings, but that just makes the gatherings you do go to that much more important.   And only you determine your worth.  If you truly felt you were worthless, I'll offer you a grand total of 50 bucks to live in my shed, cook my meals, clean my house, do the yard. I'll even allow you to work fast food so that you can pay some of my bills.  Would youu take that?  I doubt it.  Because you know you are worth more.  

Now these aren't the lies you've been telling yourself about writing, but they are the standard depression lies.  The lie you're telling yourself about writing sounds a lot like "I can't do this" and "it isn't fun anymore".  

10-15k a week is amazing.  That's a freaking book in a month.  Maybe 2 months if you're looking at epic fantasy novel lengths.  6 books a year is nothing to sneeze at, and could easily make a career.  

Who says you hafta go the webnovel route anyway?  There's plenty of successful self-pub authors on kindle that don't.   In fact, there's plenty of downright excellent stories on RR that don't make trending or the best rated because they just aren't formatted best for webserials.  Doesn't mean that they wouldn't be successful as a published novel. 

Now, as one stranger on the internet to another, I recommend you keep trying.  If you can't, then see a doctor.  Heck, they make antidepressants precisely to combat depression. 

You aren't the only author that fights depression, and you aren't the only one that looks at bigger stories that produce more words/week and goes "crap".  You aren't alone.  

Good luck!

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#8

Allanther Wrote: You aren't the only author that fights depression, and you aren't the only one that looks at bigger stories that produce more words/week and goes "crap".  You aren't alone.


Yup. I'm pretty sure just about every author and artist has been there at some point. He also isn't alone in the pain of losing one's work. It's an author's worst nightmare, but it happens all the time! I had it happen to me not all that long ago.

Desi_Rable Wrote: But then I lost my hard-drive, along with pretty much my entire life's work up that point (more than 50 stories and short stories, most of them completed and fully edited, amounting to well over 2M words)


I can very much relate to the pain you must have felt at that! I didn't lose as much as you did (just a little under 115k words), but a little over a year-and-a-half ago my laptop had a major malfunction and I lost everything that I'd written of my second book when I was only a few days (maybe a week at most) away from finishing it and passing it off for editing. After over two years of working on it, that hurt horribly and when months of taking my laptop to PC repair places failed and I accepted that I was going to have to start again from scratch, I couldn't even look at a blank word document without bursting into tears. It took months for me to feel like I could write again, but I was determined not to give up and just quit. Progress has been slow (especially as a pantser as I don't even have an outline to go by), but I've now resurrected a little of 1/3 of my lost story.

The point is don't give up. Take what time you need to mourn the loss of all that hard work, and then start again, maybe with something completely different from everything you'd written before. Also, keep back-ups and have back-ups for your back-ups! I now keep at least three different back-ups of my writing.

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#10
I'm sorry for everything you've gone through. To lose something so personal and important to you is quite a blow. I can understand why you feel the way you do. There's nothing I can say that will make that hurt go away. Just try and do what's best for you. If it hurts to much to write, then don't. However, I hope someday you might be able to come back to it. Good luck.

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#11

Nestor1079 Wrote: First, write for yourself. Set aside the idea that other people's opinions matter. Just write, and indulge yourself in the joy of writing. 
Second, expand your horizons. If you write fantasy, read romance novels. read sci-fi novels. read history. If you want to be good at writing, you have to drown yourself in words. 
Third, consider therapy. 
Fourth, anything worth keeping is worth backing up. Save it to a flash drive. use Google Drive. so on and so forth.
First, I used to; but it keeps getting harder and harder. If I were to set aside the idea that other people's opinions matter (which, as someone with Asperger's, would be incredibly easy to do), then logically, what'd be the point of writing, let alone publishing my work (in print, or online), as opposed to simply indulging in dreaming or imagining things, and keeping it in my own head?

Second, as someone who set up their own fiction publishing house and kept it going for about five years, publishing about a dozen titles and evaluating a few submitted manuscripts and drafts every day, I'd like to think that I've got pretty broad horizons when it comes to reading and writing. Drowning myself in words is the easy part. But it also makes comparisons and self-evaluations that much harder. Can my own work compare to the best work that I've read? No. Would I have deemed it good enough to merit publication...? 

Third, I've been told that, and repeatedly done it, since I was fourteen. Never helped; and I refused to engage in substance abuse to 'fill the void'. Still do, even today. Talking about my problems to people who're only permitted to nod their heads and hmm, stating that "we can't engage with you because that's not what therapists do", is about as helpful, and therapeutic, for me as talking to a houseplant or an intruding housefly would be- namely, not one jot. 

Fourth, I did- but both the PC and the back-up hard-drive went down at the same time. And whilst a few patches here and there were saved on back-ups for the back-up, they're so out of date that looking at them, or trying to work with them, just works me up- leaves me feeling that "this was so much better before, look at this and listen to this compared to what I wrote before, why can't I match up, how crap am I now".

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#12
Besides wanting to get a story out of my head and on a piece of paper (figuratively speaking in this digital age)? The thought of angry readers with pitchforks waiting for the next update. I might have fewer followers compared to some of the giants on this site, but every one of my readers is precious. The sheer thought of disappointing them just chills my blood and drives me forward. 

I think that you take everything way too seriously. I don't mean that it is fine to have your writing dreams trampled. No, no, no! Follow your dreams. Even if you put them on hold, don't bury them forever. What I mean is that you are making one fatal mistake - comparing your art to other artists'. This is a big no-no. A sign of a good artist is, at least I believe so, their inferiority complex. It shows that there is still a drive in them to improve. But seeing flaws in our work only becomes more burdensome when we see how "perfect" others are. Well, let me tell you a secret. Those "others" think exactly the same. The important part is not to let it get to you. Remember, you are not doing art for other artists. You are doing art for everyone else. Artists can be wolves to each other (well, fans can also be toxic, but still...). Think like this - if there is at least one person who likes your art, be it painting, novel, movie, statue, dance, etc., then it means that you have touched a soul. Not everyone can be Da Vinci or Tolkien. But as long as there is someone rooting for you, someone who is fascinated by what you do, it is enough of a reason to go on. If you stop, you are betraying not only yourself and your dream, you are also betraying them. 

Heads up. Life might seem nasty and unfair, and hard, and difficult to fit in, but there is always something to keep the flame burning. There is always magic. And there is always someone who would need your art. 

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#14

Desi_Rable Wrote: First, I used to; but it keeps getting harder and harder. If I were to set aside the idea that other people's opinions matter (which, as someone with Asperger's, would be incredibly easy to do), then logically, what'd be the point of writing, let alone publishing my work (in print, or online), as opposed to simply indulging in dreaming or imagining things, and keeping it in my own head?


How about the satisfaction of seeing your work completed and out there? Sure, you're likely to get some readers that didn't like it and might even be rude about it (it's the risk we all take when we put our work out there to be seen), but not letting yourself get discouraged by them is a choice. Yes, it hurts at first, but only as much as you let it.  You can read what they had to say and see if there might be some small portion of it that you can use to improve your writing, but, if there really isn't and it's simply a matter of their reading taste doesn't match up with your writing style, then just shrug it off as them being the wrong audience. Sometimes, you have to wade through a lot of the wrong people to finally find the right ones, and, when you finally find them, it makes all that work and pain worth it.


Desi_Rable Wrote: But it also makes comparisons and self-evaluations that much harder. Can my own work compare to the best work that I've read? No. Would I have deemed it good enough to merit publication...?


It's a matter of perspective and a deliberate choice. The natural reaction is often to look at someone else's work and despair over our own, however, it doesn't have to be. Instead of finding discouragement, look at it as something to reach for in your own work. Find what it is you like about it and think is so much better than your own, and push towards achieving it yourself. 

Desi_Rable Wrote: Fourth, I did- but both the PC and the back-up hard-drive went down at the same time. And whilst a few patches here and there were saved on back-ups for the back-up, they're so out of date that looking at them, or trying to work with them, just works me up- leaves me feeling that "this was so much better before, look at this and listen to this compared to what I wrote before, why can't I match up, how crap am I now".


Ouch! That's precisely why I now keep, at minimum, three backups. There's just no telling when technology will betray you, and, usually, it's at the absolute worst time.

When I lost my book, I only had the opening paragraph to work off of and, only, because I'd shared it on Patreon as a teaser. I know what it's like to compare what you remember of what you wrote before with what you're writing now, but, as hard as it may seem right now, that will eventually pass if you just keep working through it. Before my laptop ate my book, I was consistently writing 10k+ words a week, but, when I finally sat back down to begin the painful resurrection of my book, I was fortunate if I could even manage 100 words. I'm now back to where I can write 1k-2k words a day on a good day, but it's taken a months to get back to this point and it still varies greatly. Many days, I just stared at the screen and cried and, maybe typed a word or two. I kept comparing what I had to what I lost and trying to recall how I'd written it the first time because I loved what I'd had then. However, it was the constant comparison that held me back from making progress. You don't have to write it like you did before. If you can at least remember where you were going with the story, then you know enough to write it again. Let what you do have, inspire what needs to come next and be willing to let it redirect you away from what it used to be. As much as it hurts, what it was is gone, but what it can be now is completely up to you and whether or not you are willing to try again or let this set back rob you of something you loved. I've talked with other authors who have had this same thing that we're both going through happen to them and, so far, every one of them has told me the same thing: that, at the end of it, their book turned out even better than what they'd lost. I even know of authors that deliberately delete their first draft of a book to rewrite it from scratch believing that it will be better for it in the long run. It just takes getting past the initial pain and comparison and to let the story rebuild itself. When you do, you'll be much more confident in what you're writing now and you'll be able to rebuild your earlier writing momentum.

Which brings up another point: you may not like what you have right now, but view it as just a draft! Drafts aren't perfect and they aren't supposed to be. Yes, we like it when our drafts go super smoothly and end up needing minimal editing, but that's not how it usually goes. You can clean up a draft and rewrite into something that you are happy with, but you'll never get it to that point if you don't first write that draft.

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#15
You write what you want to read. And the book you imagine is a collection of vague emotionally charged scenes, while the book you write are those ideas refined through effort and time. It's a work that's a slice of your thoughts and interests from that period and there might be quite a few people that share those.

I mean, even though I barely wrote anything for 8 months already, I'm still working on developing characters, my skill, the plot and other ideas, because I want them to exist. And if my works interest readers, good, if the ideas they followed gave them some food for thought, good as well.

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#16

Rilaiss Wrote: Well, first of all, you can stop comparing yourself with others. So what if they can write faster! Speed of writing doesn't guarantee quality! Some of my favorite traditionally published authors are notoriously slow (it's been 9 years since the previous book in a series I'm reading and I'm still waiting for the next book (and 20 years since he started the series!)). This is also something to be careful of with art. Good art and good writing very often take a lot of time, even with a many years of experience. The surest thing you can do to discourage yourself is to compare your work to someone else's, but everyone works differently so you shouldn't let it get to you if you think someone is doing better than you. Someone is always going to be doing something better or faster than you so there's no point in letting that get you down. What matters is whether or not your work is improving: is the quality of your writing (or art) better now than whenever you started? If the answer to that is, yes, then that's what's important! 

Making any sort of a living in writing or in art has always been and will always be an uphill battle, but that doesn't mean that you just give up. Yes, you might need to take breaks every now and then to recover from emotional or physical burnout or take the proverbial 'day-job,' but that's normal. Also, if it is something that you've loved doing, then forget about making an income from it for awhile and just do it for the enjoyment. Write what you'd like to read and forget about what anybody else might think of it. However, don't be afraid to share it just because you wrote it for yourself and not others. It might surprise you to find out just how many others like the same thing, also, when you write/create something that you yourself love it really tends to show in the quality of the work because it's more genuine to you.

Everyone's skills and talents are different. In college, I struggled for the longest time to even consider myself an artist despite the fact that I was a Fine Arts major. I'd never taken an art class before my Drawing I class in college and couldn't draw to save my life, but I was in that major because I was going into jewellery design. I learned an awful lot in that class, but I still kept comparing where I was at to where some of my classmates were and, when I didn't think I measured up, just kept telling myself that I was a jeweller and not an artist. Except that jewellery is an art, just a completely different one to drawing or painting. It took most of by three years at community college to realize that and to stop comparing my work to my classmates. Of course it wouldn't always match up to theirs, they had all been doing it longer than I had! I was comparing apples to oranges because I had more catching up to do before I could try and match, let alone pass, where they were in terms of technical and creative skill. That didn't mean I couldn't get there, but that I would just have to work harder at it. 

It's the same thing with you (whether with your writing or your drawing). You want to improve and get to where you think you 'measure up' with whomever you've been comparing your work to and think somehow defines where you 'should' be at? The only way you will ever do so is by not quitting and simply writing more or drawing more. Your skills can't grow if you aren't regularly using them. Also, speed of creation is a terrible thing to make any sort of comparison with because it isn't constant. Even the most experienced writer or artist will have projects that just slow down to an absolute crawl at times and the reasons for it vary wildly and usually have very little to do with their level of ability. In terms of artwork, unless you are doing client work and creating to a deadline, then speed is largely also irrelevant. I've had digital paintings that only took a few days and then I've had ones that took years. They were all personal projects though so I could take whatever time I needed to ensure they turned out well and not rush them just to 'get them done.' However, all of my personal work, made it possible for me to majorly overhaul a fellow author's book cover in just about two-weeks. 

As for tropes? They are tropes for a reason: they work. Some will love them, some will hate them; it's just a matter of reading taste. Yes, it is increasingly difficult to come up with truly 'original' ideas, but it's not impossible, and it's very possible to take a familiar idea or trope and give it a unique and enjoyable spin. Again, write what you would like to read, don't necessarily try to write to market. You don't know who your readers are or their minds to know what they will or will not like reading, but you do know your own and, odds are, you aren't the only person out there with that particular taste in stories. Not everyone will like what you write, but not everyone will hate it either so don't take to heart too much what discouragement you get from readers comments. It may simply be that the right audience for your story hasn't found it yet and have very little reflection on your story itself.

In short, if you want to draw, then draw; if you want to write, then write. Forget about everyone else and how you think you compare. It doesn't matter. This is your art/writing journey and not theirs and the sooner you can get past it, the sooner you can start to enjoy it again and feel more motivated to keep going.
It's not just speed, though- it's both speed and quality. And with both (with both art and writing as well), comparing my work with others was unavoidable. My fine motor skills were never as good as everyone else's, so I had to invest more time and effort into it than everyone else around be had to, but I did anyway; still failed art classes in school though, because I couldn't meet the time limits for the exams (and my work was "too photorealistic" to qualify as "true art" according to my teachers), and that was that. As for writing, after I set up my fiction publishing house and helping others to get their work published, evaluating and comparing people's works of fiction with one another was literally part of my job; never published my own work myself back then because I couldn't be fair and impartial about it, but now, I feel like I couldn't because it simply isn't good enough. Because it's NOT improving. The quality of my writing (and art) is barely any better now than when I started (in my early teens), and it just keeps getting worse and worse. 


And there's literally nothing that I, or anyone else, can do to stop that, to prevent it from continuing to get worse- because I literally have a psychogenic-neurodegenerative condition that's guaranteed to kill me eventually, and to keep degrading every skill, ability and aptitude I possess still further with every single PNES that occurs before then. In essence, I've been battling against a more gradual, early-onset form of dementia since my early teens, with all of the corresponding symptoms making it harder and harder to keep going, and to keep writing. Even without the added emotional and physical stress of other factors, it'd be hard enough; but whilst it's something that I've loved doing, it's near-impossible to keep enjoying it when I'm just so much crappier at it now, in the same way that I imagine it'd be for an old man to keep enjoying playing football when he's developing arthritis and conscious of the fact that he's losing his memories of how to play the game. 

Working harder worked, up to a point; I've always been working harder. But it's also what kicked off my non-epileptic seizures in the first place; which are stress-induced, caused overwhelmingly by built-up stress and emotional overload (kept completely to myself, since I had no outlets or ways to blow off steam). I already worked harder, and kept working harder, to the point where I basically permanently overloaded my brain. No matter how much I want to, I've had to accept that I'll never be able to write to the standards I used to be capable of writing to near-effortlessly again, no matter how hard I try. And the harder I do work to try and try so, the more stressed out and frustrated I'll get at my own relative ineptitude, and the likelier I am to have more severe seizures even more frequently, which'll permanently render myself utterly incapable of doing pretty much anything and reduce me to a drooling husk (even more quickly- since I know I'm doomed to that fate no matter what, regardless of what I do or don't do). 

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#17
Look, I will be blunt. Just publish what you have. What is stopping you is the thought "What if it is sub-par?". Then what would happen if the question is changed to "What if it is great?". You are your worst critic. Give a chance to others to see, have a taste of what you can do. You say it yourself, time is ticking. But then again, everything you have ever written, you have poured your soul and hopes into, would be lost. Forever. Noone would be able to appreciate it. It might be my sick point of view, but I think that as long as someone reads my story, it gets me one step closer to showing Lady Death the finger. Whether you are remembered by millions or just one person, you have left a legacy that would outlive you. How long? Who knows. For that to happen, you first need to brave your fears, spit Fate in the face, and give it a try. If you are discouraged anyway, what is the worst that could happen? Your fears would be validated? But you believe that your work sucks anyway. Readers would love your work? Well, that is the real win.

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#18
I write because I want to put a story into words. I don't write so others can enjoy it and therefore have little care about what others things of it. The idea that you need the approval of others to write what you want is such a bad mindset to have. It's the reason that so many fail when they don't instantly get a thousand followers who love them. Writing is not something that anybody is a master of to start with, and even a master has no chance of getting a group of people who will read your story

Don't like it to get to you. Easy as that(still incredibly hard for most but whatever.) Success shouldn't be judged by the number of people who want to kiss you from behind but by how much enjoyment you personally get out of writing.

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#19

Desi_Rable Wrote:
Rilaiss Wrote: Well, first of all, you can stop comparing yourself with others. So what if they can write faster! Speed of writing doesn't guarantee quality! Some of my favorite traditionally published authors are notoriously slow (it's been 9 years since the previous book in a series I'm reading and I'm still waiting for the next book (and 20 years since he started the series!)). This is also something to be careful of with art. Good art and good writing very often take a lot of time, even with a many years of experience. The surest thing you can do to discourage yourself is to compare your work to someone else's, but everyone works differently so you shouldn't let it get to you if you think someone is doing better than you. Someone is always going to be doing something better or faster than you so there's no point in letting that get you down. What matters is whether or not your work is improving: is the quality of your writing (or art) better now than whenever you started? If the answer to that is, yes, then that's what's important! 

Making any sort of a living in writing or in art has always been and will always be an uphill battle, but that doesn't mean that you just give up. Yes, you might need to take breaks every now and then to recover from emotional or physical burnout or take the proverbial 'day-job,' but that's normal. Also, if it is something that you've loved doing, then forget about making an income from it for awhile and just do it for the enjoyment. Write what you'd like to read and forget about what anybody else might think of it. However, don't be afraid to share it just because you wrote it for yourself and not others. It might surprise you to find out just how many others like the same thing, also, when you write/create something that you yourself love it really tends to show in the quality of the work because it's more genuine to you.

Everyone's skills and talents are different. In college, I struggled for the longest time to even consider myself an artist despite the fact that I was a Fine Arts major. I'd never taken an art class before my Drawing I class in college and couldn't draw to save my life, but I was in that major because I was going into jewellery design. I learned an awful lot in that class, but I still kept comparing where I was at to where some of my classmates were and, when I didn't think I measured up, just kept telling myself that I was a jeweller and not an artist. Except that jewellery is an art, just a completely different one to drawing or painting. It took most of by three years at community college to realize that and to stop comparing my work to my classmates. Of course it wouldn't always match up to theirs, they had all been doing it longer than I had! I was comparing apples to oranges because I had more catching up to do before I could try and match, let alone pass, where they were in terms of technical and creative skill. That didn't mean I couldn't get there, but that I would just have to work harder at it. 

It's the same thing with you (whether with your writing or your drawing). You want to improve and get to where you think you 'measure up' with whomever you've been comparing your work to and think somehow defines where you 'should' be at? The only way you will ever do so is by not quitting and simply writing more or drawing more. Your skills can't grow if you aren't regularly using them. Also, speed of creation is a terrible thing to make any sort of comparison with because it isn't constant. Even the most experienced writer or artist will have projects that just slow down to an absolute crawl at times and the reasons for it vary wildly and usually have very little to do with their level of ability. In terms of artwork, unless you are doing client work and creating to a deadline, then speed is largely also irrelevant. I've had digital paintings that only took a few days and then I've had ones that took years. They were all personal projects though so I could take whatever time I needed to ensure they turned out well and not rush them just to 'get them done.' However, all of my personal work, made it possible for me to majorly overhaul a fellow author's book cover in just about two-weeks. 

As for tropes? They are tropes for a reason: they work. Some will love them, some will hate them; it's just a matter of reading taste. Yes, it is increasingly difficult to come up with truly 'original' ideas, but it's not impossible, and it's very possible to take a familiar idea or trope and give it a unique and enjoyable spin. Again, write what you would like to read, don't necessarily try to write to market. You don't know who your readers are or their minds to know what they will or will not like reading, but you do know your own and, odds are, you aren't the only person out there with that particular taste in stories. Not everyone will like what you write, but not everyone will hate it either so don't take to heart too much what discouragement you get from readers comments. It may simply be that the right audience for your story hasn't found it yet and have very little reflection on your story itself.

In short, if you want to draw, then draw; if you want to write, then write. Forget about everyone else and how you think you compare. It doesn't matter. This is your art/writing journey and not theirs and the sooner you can get past it, the sooner you can start to enjoy it again and feel more motivated to keep going.
It's not just speed, though- it's both speed and quality. And with both (with both art and writing as well), comparing my work with others was unavoidable. My fine motor skills were never as good as everyone else's, so I had to invest more time and effort into it than everyone else around be had to, but I did anyway; still failed art classes in school though, because I couldn't meet the time limits for the exams (and my work was "too photorealistic" to qualify as "true art" according to my teachers), and that was that. As for writing, after I set up my fiction publishing house and helping others to get their work published, evaluating and comparing people's works of fiction with one another was literally part of my job; never published my own work myself back then because I couldn't be fair and impartial about it, but now, I feel like I couldn't because it simply isn't good enough. Because it's NOT improving. The quality of my writing (and art) is barely any better now than when I started (in my early teens), and it just keeps getting worse and worse. 


And there's literally nothing that I, or anyone else, can do to stop that, to prevent it from continuing to get worse- because I literally have a psychogenic-neurodegenerative condition that's guaranteed to kill me eventually, and to keep degrading every skill, ability and aptitude I possess still further with every single PNES that occurs before then. In essence, I've been battling against a more gradual, early-onset form of dementia since my early teens, with all of the corresponding symptoms making it harder and harder to keep going, and to keep writing. Even without the added emotional and physical stress of other factors, it'd be hard enough; but whilst it's something that I've loved doing, it's near-impossible to keep enjoying it when I'm just so much crappier at it now, in the same way that I imagine it'd be for an old man to keep enjoying playing football when he's developing arthritis and conscious of the fact that he's losing his memories of how to play the game. 

Working harder worked, up to a point; I've always been working harder. But it's also what kicked off my non-epileptic seizures in the first place; which are stress-induced, caused overwhelmingly by built-up stress and emotional overload (kept completely to myself, since I had no outlets or ways to blow off steam). I already worked harder, and kept working harder, to the point where I basically permanently overloaded my brain. No matter how much I want to, I've had to accept that I'll never be able to write to the standards I used to be capable of writing to near-effortlessly again, no matter how hard I try. And the harder I do work to try and try so, the more stressed out and frustrated I'll get at my own relative ineptitude, and the likelier I am to have more severe seizures even more frequently, which'll permanently render myself utterly incapable of doing pretty much anything and reduce me to a drooling husk (even more quickly- since I know I'm doomed to that fate no matter what, regardless of what I do or don't do).


I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through health-wise, that definitely does make a huge impact on everything!! What it sounds like to me that you need most right now is a break from everything just to rest not only physically, but emotionally. Maybe look for a new creative hobby to help get your mind off of everything and then try again later, but with a new perspective of how much you can handle so you don't push yourself too hard. 

While I don't have anything anywhere near to what you're going through, I had to take a major step back from my jewellery work and, only recently, have actually gotten back into it again. I struggle with severe hip dysplasia in both of my hips which is also a degenerative condition. Art shows, while I do them, are physically difficult for me and, when combined with 3.5 years of carbon monoxide poisoning, I ended up at complete burnout in every way in 2015. It took a long time for me to recover from the monoxide poisoning only for me to end up in a nightmare situation at my day-job because my managing librarian didn't like that I have physical limitation because of my dysplasia and went out of her way to manipulate the situation to where she could either get me dismissed as 'unfit' or 'problematic' or where she made everything so miserable for me that I'd eventually just quit. It wasn't until 2019 that I could pick up my pliers again to make anything, however, it was during that work situation that I started writing and discovered that I loved digital painting.

Maybe you can find something that you love almost equally to help you through all of this? Whatever you decide to do, I truly wish you the best!

Re: What motivates you to write? And how do you stay motivated when you have no hope of success?

#20
I once thought I'd lost my hard drive with all my creations on it. I spent a week in complete depression before discovering that the corruption was reversible. That kind of loss is incredibly deep and personal. It's entirely natural to be questioning everything. Maybe you need to take a break, walk away from writing for a time, give yourself time and space to grieve.

But even if you lost the specific 2m words you'd already written, you haven't lost the experience you gained by writing them. You're still a far more practiced, skilled writer now than you were when you first started. So even if it feels like you're starting over from nothing, you're not.

Speed isn't everything. It's a factor in some success stories, but not the only one. From everything I've heard, persistence is the most important factor. There is always hope.