Getting back into the swing of things


#1

So in the middle of May 2015 my family was forced to go through the traumatic experience of having a fire in our flat. I was at work at the time but luckily my wife was able to get our kids out safely and the firemen was able to get the cats out.

The rest of the flat wasn’t so lucky so we lost almost everything but again we were lucky my contents insurance covered the costs of replacing all we lost. I replaced my list laptop a few weeks later but found a lack of will to write too consumed by the stress of dealing with the aftermath of the fire and getting the flat repaired.

Well it’s been a year now and we’re been back in the flat since December. Slowly I’m getting back into the swing of writing again yet it’s still not flowing like it used to. I’m just lucky I’ve got the edits of my last game to try focus on and I’m expecting the new ideas to come any day now.

Now onto the point of the topic what are your ideas for getting back into the swing of writing after a forced break?


#2

There are a couple of things I did to “jump-start” my writing…

  1. I delved into research for a bit - I research a lot of history for my writing and every year there is a lot of new things to discover - research allowed my thinking mind to resolve problems while keeping my unconscious free enough to heal more.

  2. I did more testing and “report” writing - technical formalistic writing is not creative but it still gets the fingers punching the keys…

  3. Made some new friends that were wonderful writers and I got inspired by them more and more as healing took place.

A forced break is reinforced by procrastination and if I am being lazy, afraid or any number of things, procrastination builds up longer and longer. So therefore I find something, anything to stop procrastination.


#3

For me it’s normally to get back into descriptive and poetic writing but I read, read, read. Like I dont’ pick up a pencil or type anything, just read. I find that reading other people’s work gets my creativity started as well as, for some reason, gets me back to my peak.

I also do theme challenges, they are a fun and cool exercise.

Lastly I either just sit back and listen to music or watch some great fantasy and/or sci-fi films. LOTR always helps me get back into the groove.


#4

Usually I find working on older stories is helpful. As your retreading old ground so you have something to build on. This is why my decision to use my royalties to hire @Fiogan has been a godsend although she keeps forcing me to write additional scenes with her damn good ideas that I can’t say no to. :-p I just need to make myself sit down and just write. That is a challenge in itself as any writer with kids and a full time job too will most likely agree lol


#5

I, er, took a ten-year break from writing (and am also a mum–a widow, as it happens, with two rather small children). So I know the feeling.

The first year of readjusting to writing again was really difficult for me. One thing that kept me at it was promising myself I’d write every day, even if it was fifty words and they were rubbish and I had to rewrite them again the next day. Being a musician was an advantage here, haha–we practise every day whether we’re feeling as though we can do it or not.

Another thing was talking about my game to a sympathetic ear, which in this case happened to be my sister. I wouldn’t have even started Fantasy Foods if she hadn’t kept telling me, “You can write. You are a good writer. So shut up and go write.” (I love my sister.)

I also happened to come across this article by a professional author.

The most helpful piece of advice here for me personally, was writing down what I was going to write in a scene, and then actually writing the scene. I highly recommend the entire article, though–it’s quite interesting and has several useful ideas.

(Also, thank you, goodness! And, er, I’m sorry for the good ideas?)


Self-discipline when writing
#6

Unfortunately, proper medication’s the only thing that’s helped me get back into the swing of writing. That’s not a viable solution for anyone, even me. So I’d be a hypocrite if I tried to offer a suggestion when I’m struggling with the issue myself.

@Fiogan That’s an amazing article. Thanks for sharing.

Your sister’s right. :slight_smile: Thank your sister for me. :slight_smile:


#7

Don’t apologise it’s a good things. Not your fault my inner muse gets grumpy sometimes lol


#8

I suggest you listen to music you love…


#9

Man, I’m sorry to hear about that happening to your family. But it’s good to hear you’re getting in ‘bounce back’ mode.

I didn’t write anything between September (when CCH was submitted) until like March, so I basically took a six month break. I told myself that I was waiting to gauge audience reaction/demand for a sequel before starting on it, but in reality I was just super lazy this winter.

Things that have helped me get back into the grove:

  1. Joining a local writers’ group. There’s no substitute for getting your work reviewed by other writers in your area

  2. doing short “writing sprints.” Just write non-stop for 2-5 minutes and see what you have when it’s over. I’ll bet you find some neat ideas, even if they require lots of tweaking.

  3. set weekly goals. Just a post-it note by the computer will do. I’m aiming for 7500 words per week at this point.

I hope that helps, and yes I agree that @Fiogan is full of it! :unamused: Full of valuable insight I mean


Self-discipline when writing
#10

Good to have you back @Nocturnal_Stillness, looking forward to seeing you in full swing again.


#11

If only! I have great envy for those able to do this, but for me absolute peace & quiet is the only way I’ve ever been able to concentrate and remain focused on my writing for any length of time - even the ticking of a clock or the hum of a computer fan becomes a distraction.

My real nightmare began a few years ago, when I developed raging tinnitus (usually described as a ‘ringing’ in one or both ears, although mine is more like a constant, high-pitched whistle). Needless to say, with what I’ve always felt I needed to write in terms of peace & quiet, this condition blew all my hopes and aspirations completely out of the water. I tried every suggested method of dealing with this, the most memorable being listening to a constant recording of “white noise” - resulting in my frustration getting the better of me and ending by jumping up and down on my poor headphones and ranting at the downright unfairness of it all, which on reflection I now find rather amusing. It didn’t tickle my funny bone at the time though, I can assure you!

So, yeah, if you can listen to music while writing, thank your lucky stars. Had I been able to do that from the beginning I think the past few years would not have been such a very rocky road.

@Nocturnal_Stillness And back on topic. The only (comparatively tiny) piece of advice I can offer is to find a topic - or in our case, untold story - about which you feel absolutely passionate, and just force yourself to persevere. As others have said, it doesn’t matter if you manage 50 or 5,000 words a day - or even if you hit DEL and rewrite it all the next day - just so long as you are writing about something that truly inspires you. The rest will come with time, patience and perseverance - and acceptance of the simple fact that, yeah, life can be damned unfair at times.


#12

Oh, that’s terrible – damned unfair is too gentle a phrase for it. So sorry you have to work with it.


#13

I’m going to work on a short simple project I just thought up. Something easy and to the point. Get a flow going enough to kick start the creativity.

Here is the project so you can see my thought process so far.

Title: Seven Hours in orbit.

Summary: The protagonist is a crew member of the six person terraforming vessel the E.S.A. Orion. They are awoken early from cryosleep by a shipwide alert. Finding the Orion orbiting an unknown planet with critically low power, they need to find and fix the problems with the ship in seven hours before total power failure and the Orion plummets planetside.

Protagonist: The MC can be either, the captain, the pilot, the security officer, the engineer, the doctor or the trainee. Each with own abilities and traits. The unchosen roles are fulfilled by the Npcs. The ship is always crewed by 3 men 3 women so one character will be the opposite gender the player chooses.

Layout: the game will consist of seven chapters (each representing an hour) With each chapter containing six vignettes (each representing 10 minutes).

Stats: will consist of two groups of 3. First group refer to the player and represent health, suit power, and suit Shields. The second group refer to the Orion and represent ship power (starts off at 35% dropping off by 5% each “hour”) ship condition (starts off at 25% and goes up or down depending on what you can fix) and lifesigns (starts off at 6 and drops each time a crewmember dies.)

To me at least it seems simple enough to focus on over the weekend. But some opinions would be useful.


#14

@Nocturnal_Stillness Feel free to start a new topic on that idea? I’ll admit I rather love this general topic full of tips and advice on how to get back to writing that you started. Also more people are going to notice your idea and get excited.

Tinnitus is horrible. Have you spoken to your doctor about it?


#15

Don’t worry I will. Just put that post here as how I’m next trying to kickstart my writing :slight_smile:


#16

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Seven Hours in orbit


#17

Repeatedly, for all the good it did. There are just so many different possible causes, once we’d ruled out all the obvious treatable ones (e.g. very high blood pressure) she lost interest, pronouncing it a likely permanent condition. The odd thing is that I don’t fit any of the usual profiles of those whom tend to develop this condition over time (e.g. a noisy industrial career or listening to too much loud music over a number of years… headphone commuters take note!) but it is what it is. It’s taken a long while but I’m learning to live with it. Not something I’d wish on my worst enemy though - it always seemed to me like a relatively minor thing, until I actually had to live with it 24/7.


#18

I’ve never been a good writer, always having to write everything grammatically correct and reread what I’ve written dozens of times to adjust and correct for spelling, plus im just not a good storyteller. I enjoyed coding, but without a good writer to add to my coding i never really made anything of note. However i did realize while making my first attempts at making games a couple of little “boosts” to my writing:
Read ALOT about things related to your subject, research folklore or history of the things your story is based on, read about other things too, so you can advance your writing prowess.
Listen to music, with the volume down a bit, this helps drown out the outside world and enhances your thoughts as your brain is processing the music aswell as the story you are writing. Make sure to not focus on the music however, as this will distract you from your work. I also realize this may not work with kids.
Take breaks to give your mind a rest, go get something to eat, a drink, play a game with your kids, if you really want to work but not write, read about your topic during the break.
Leave open tabs of people complimenting your work, this will help make you feel like what your’e doing is worth it (for extra insentive leave open a tab of your past earnings for games) also make it so once you finish X you get to have Y, be it a reward or something you actually need, however dont rush to get it and dont push yourself farther than you can, this will be counterproductive and will force you to rewrite the entire section.
These helped me get better and make my games longer even with my limited time. Hope i helped even a bit.


#19

Ah, that’s just horrible.

I can’t write with background music on either. I find music just far too overwhelming. I’ve also a tendency to hyper-focus on any small sounds, and everything rather melds into being NOISE.

I had tinnitus too in my childhood and teens. I was fortunate in that I found background noise helped with it, and when my dad decided to set up two aquariums in my room (for other reasons) that actually really helped it. (Although the noise of the aquariums still annoyed me.)

It disappeared some time in my early twenties. I didn’t even notice it was gone, which sounds strange. It comes back every so often, with medication switches, which is weird, and weirder yet, when I visit my childhood home. It’s so horribly oppressive, and I wonder how I ever lived with that sound, but it probably helped that at the time I was a child and it had always been a way of life. And it was fortunately not a constant, just a very frequent thing.

I hope that it goes away for you. Or you at least find a way to deal with it. I’m sorry your doctors couldn’t help, mine didn’t either. I don’t think they realise how debilitating it can be.