Overcoming the Deficit

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I call myself a writer in my head.

Of course, ‘aspiring writer’ would probably be more accurate.  I’ve never been published and I don’t get paid to write; but that’s how I think of myself–as a writer.  I have a writer’s soul.  Writing is the missing piece I was searching for all those years; it’s the thing that makes me feel most alive, most fulfilled, most like me.

And yet.

I’ve never been consistent at writing.  (I’ve never been consistent at anything, to be completely truthful .) I’ve never finished any of the stories I’ve started.  I’m ashamed to admit that, because most of my writer friends are quite prolific, and have a spread of finished projects to prove it.  I feel as if I don’t deserve to call myself a writer, because if you dared me to prove it I’d come up empty-handed.

I get blocked way too easily.  Most of my ideas have never made it past the incubation stage because the second I hit a snag or a problem I can’t readily solve I freeze up.  I suppose it’s a lack of confidence.  I don’t believe I can answer the questions I’m faced with, or fix the glaring issues, or figure out where the hell to take the plot.  I read the work of writers I’m in awe of and think, There’s no way I’m smart enough or creative enough to come up with something like that.

I know that one of the keys to writing is…actually writing.  Something.  Every day.  Forcing yourself to sit down and put fingers to keyboard, or pen to paper, and produce words.  Not waiting for the ever-elusive inspiration and (in some cases, even more elusive) motivation to strike, but pushing yourself to overcome the inertia and start.

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A couple days ago I decided I was going to write something, dammit, so I sat down at my computer and typed.  45 minutes later, I had a bunch of useless snippets and a weirdly descriptive scene about blood and concrete.  (I was listening to Radiohead.)  Annoyed that I hadn’t managed to strike up a spark of brilliance, I texted my bestie.  (Am I allowed to use the word “bestie” if I’m over 15?)

 

h:  why is writing so haaaaaaaard marissa?

m:  i knooooooooowwww it’s the worst

 

Solidarity.

At least I have a faithful writing companion:

Photo on 7-14-14 at 3.13 PM

Hobbes takes a “balls to the wall” stance on most issues.

 

So, other writers: how do you do it?  How do you push past roadblocks?  Where do you find inspiration?  How do you overcome the deficit and produce something when the ‘idea well’ is so parched it couldn’t grow a cactus?  Help a sister out and share some writing tips.  Tell me about your process.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Overcoming the Deficit

  1. just by reading this post, I can tell that, indeed, you are a writer, and you are one of the few writers that can pull me into reading an entire post in one go, so well done on that:)
    as for me, I believe writing is a process that needs a lot of patience, and in fact, not just writing, but all forms of art. You just need to wait for it, you need to give your creative mind some time to work and come up with something, and if you give up, then it’s not because you couldn’t write, but because you simply couldn’t wait any longer. That’s how I like to think of it, and it did encourage me to continue despite the extreme lack of confidence.
    I hope I helped a bit haha:) good luck Xx

  2. I am in the same boat. I always wonder how writers who can put out book after book do it. I have four works and none of them are complete. I would always read the advice about writing ‘something’ everyday. I felt I needed to be in the mood, or better “have enough time.” When will there ever be time?
    So now I’m starting to take that advice. (Just this week). I think two things have been keeping me from working to completion — the need for discipline with my sitting and writing without distractions (e.g. TV in background), and to stop all the planning (how-to stuff) and just write.

    • I, too, get caught up in the planning. I love to research and could spend all my time reading about how to write instead of actually writing. Actually doing it is much harder than imagining yourself doing it….haha.

  3. I like to think of myself as a writer, too. The only problem is that I haven’t produced anything in a very long time. It has been years since anything has come to me so it’s kind of a relief to have a blog in order to express myself. I’m not very good with words in person. Must be the awkward introvert thing.

    I wish I could give you some insight but maybe this is a problem for a great deal of writers out there. Your muse can’t be forced, but what do you do if it decides to take an extensive hiatus? I’d love an answer to that one. I have a lot of unfinished fiction stories. The last one that I did manage finish was all the way back in high school and it called for a sequel which never happened.

    • Amen. I was always jealous of friends who had loads of ideas, and were constantly stumbling upon brilliant new ideas for novels–whereas I’m usually at a complete loss for inspiration. I’ve learned I have to chase my inspiration down–force it a little. Lately I have had some success with this (but that damn follow-through gets me every time!). I agree with you about blogging–it’s nice to get something out there, and the immediate feedback is rewarding enough to make you want to continue (which is huge!).

  4. Pingback: Potential | Authentically Heather

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