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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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children of dune - leto 1
Wal-Mart had the QaF season one DVDs on sale for about half the price of Amazon. Okay, right, so something *finally* went wrong earlier, but I mean, nothing to balance half-price first season dvds.

But right. Just a rhetorical question--I've ran into a problem I've actually never had before at this length. What *do* you do when you can't or don't even want to write?

And it is. It's like when I quit smoking this one time, where my hand felt all empty and my soul had been leeched out of my body and I started writing about Clark being beaten while hanging from the ceiling--yes, *that* one. But not in a good, creative, kind of creepy-jenn way (I swear, that story is why people stopped talking to me on AIM for a bit there), but in a dull, lifeless, ah, look, a word processing document that I have no intention of using for anything way.

Frankly, I feel less like me by the second, which leaves me with wondering where me is. Possibly vacationing in Barbados. I have several theories on this--the writing thing, not the Barbados thing.

a.) I have burned out every bit of my ability to tell a story and shall join the ranks of the non-writers and read-only. This kind of falls down a bit when I remember I have two RPS stories that have about seventy-something pages between them, not even counting the twenty I added to Stumble and Fall and five to How It's Gonna Be or--yeah. I mean, they aren't up to what i consider my best work, but they do in a pinch. Which takes me to b.

b.) I have lost the ability to focus enough to *finish* something.

c.) I lost my nerve.

d.) Bodysnatchers. I saw the movie. These people had no idea they were actually snatched. I mean, they *thought they were real*.

C appeals to me least, which is why I have a bad feeling that it's the problem, or a part of it.

There's like, a certain sense of invulnerability that you really do have to have to post a fic to the general public--or to write something you're not at all sure of. Or something like that. I'm actually--I kid you not--scared to *post* anything. And not even for a good reason. No one flames me, everyone who wanders through my journal is on the high end of the nice scale, and in general, at this point, after two hundred something stories, I really don't have a reason to be scared, but I *am*. And it's unreasonable. It's like my claustrophobia--I could not tell you why I am convinced I will go crazy, suffocate, and die if I'm stuck in a windowless, tiny space, but there we go.

So, using my handy google, I looked this up.

exscribophobia - fear of writing


Feel free to correct me. Apparently, writing on a wax tablet can be a different word entirely. I picked the prettiest.

And. I. Don't. Know. Why.

*mulls* It could be my job. Everyone I asked amongst my RL friends, carefully phrasing it so as to not explain what the hell I'm talking about, says it's the stress. Because Stress is Bad. And new job, training, other RL things that are pressuring me, could be just doing their thing to my head.

Except usually, when under stress, I write *more*. It's how I vent, and relax, and also, indulge my pretty-boy fantasy life. Then I thought it could be my allergy meds and some other things I was taking, and went cold on all of them. But no. Then I just thought, hmm. What is bothering me so *much*?

Nerve. That--inner belief in what you write, no matter how bizarre. I mean, in no other way could anyone pull off some storylines. Let's face it, *mpreg*, but here we go, a viable genre, and an occasionally *hysterical* genre. I don't believe there are any *bad* storylines. Though QaF has convinced me that some should be handled only with a license and approval by the fandom at large, but still.

So now I'm all curious. Does this happen to anyone else? Do you suddenly and inexplicably lose your nerve? And what do you do about it?

I'm just full of dumb questions tonight. Feel free to ignore while I bathe in rhiannonhero's fic goodness.

Mmm. Pretty.

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Part of me thinks that maybe it's a bit like in the story of Matilda, by Roald Dahl. She had so much excess brainpower that she could move objects with her mind, but when she was finally put in a class that streched and challenged her, she lost that ability.

So, you know, you're being stretched by your job, you're in training, maybe you're using the part of your brain that used to write for other things. I guess when you're coasting and comfortable and everything in your job is back to being au fait then you might find that energy flowing back into writing.

I'd enjoy being a mindless consumer for the moment. Enjoy guiltless reading, soak up as much as you can.

When I got a resounding lack of any response at all to my last (long, difficult) XF story, I kept starting things and stopping before I got to the end. I thought I'd never write anything anyone would want to read ever again. The cure? Finding an entirely new fandom (see icon).

Don't know if this could help you, but there it is...

I don't think I've ever lost my nerve - but i do peridically lose my focus. i can't seem to follow through on anything, and it is fucking annoying when that happens.

i usually muddle along until it clears up. I don't know how else to do it. Sometimes I make a major life change and that shakes things loose - but I don't recommend that!


Anyway - hope you feel right with yourself soon. *hugs*

Well, despite the fact that I completely panic every time I find myself in a dry spell, I try to remind myself that everything is cyclical. That we all have to have some fallow periods in order to have fertile times. We need winter to have spring. We need our rest to have a productive day.

I agree that it is terrifying to not write and not even want to write. It cause major depression in me when it happens. But if I can just let go of the worry and let myself enjoy the downtime, I usually find something that gets my motor running again after a time.

My QaF obsession was born out of a fallow period. I was not interested in writing in the least and was pretty down about that. Decided to rent S1 of QaF to get my mind off of my self-pity and bada boom bada bing. A few weeks later I'm writing my first RPS story ever and having a great time.

Anyway, I don't know how long you've been fallow, but maybe due to the stress your friends mention, it's just taking awhile to reload.

And, thanks for saying the fic is pretty. :D

d.) Bodysnatchers. I saw the movie. These people had no idea they were actually snatched. I mean, they *thought they were real*.

Bwahahahaa! bwahahahaa!

Okay, yes. That just amused me an insane amount.

Well, I know I don't write anything near as much as you do, but... *shrugs* It comes and goes. It comes more with SN than any other fandom (8 fics in a month, for three months running? It's a total record for me.).

I... huh. I'm not sure why I stop sometimes, I just do. I don't get the ideas, I don't have the energy to sit down and turn them into something coherent in words, I just... couldn't be bothered.

I tend to waste hours listening to music and playing Spider Solitaire, honestly.

Then, there's other times, like now. Sure, the fics I'm writing are only 1000-1500 words each, but that's like... three in the last four days. Plus more being written on the train to and from work. I think it's because I've got a discman (my first evah. I feel *so* up to date and technically advanced! *g*) so I'm listening to a lot of music.

*shrugs* That didn't help at all, did it?

Except I haven't written anything, especially the one paper I need to write to graduate, in about ten years. Heck of a dry spell. Now I'm simply lazy and deterred by the talent I witness from many fanfic writers. I am both in awe and envious.

Jen, I have no doubt that you'll pull through. All the Jen's I know are just that stubborn.

Maybe you should loaf like some us. Hang out in the lounge while the others bowl for a while.

Oh, I have felt the horrible restlessness and frustration of a long non-writing spell. For about ten years, literally from 1992/3 - 2002, I wrote nothing. And it pressed down on me like a heavy weight, because stories had been started, and then bang! Nothing.

At that time I'd only been writing for a couple of years, and that had been the most liberating feeling, to write fanfic. Not writing was awful, and I hope to God I don't lose it again.

Real Life can be a huge suckhole for your creative impulses, and the best advice I've heard, and that seems effective, is to write at least something every day. Just a page or a paragraph, but something to keep the writing 'muscles' limber.


[LJ says this hasn't posted, so if it comes up multiple times, I'll delete. Grrrr!]

Do you suddenly and inexplicably lose your nerve? And what do you do about it?

YES. In fact, I'm having currently having the same problem myself.

Me...I write drabbles. This works about 90% of the time. 100 words isn't intimidating. It's more like an art form. Like poetry.

Once I'm feeling confident about that, and if I still don't feel quit up to snuff. I up the words to 500. Then a 1000. The secret, of course, is if you get inspired to go over your word limit, to go over and write the piece.

When it's really bad and I can't come up with ideas for myself, I ask people for suggestions.

The other thing is, if I have a story idea but don't feel horribly creative. I give myself a word limit (like 500 words a day). I write it. Go back, fill it in. Edit the crap out of it. Add more words. You get the picture.

I get like that sometimes, just can't seem to get even a word down. It passes, I have several different works on the go at one time and I switch between them depending on where my muse is taking me. Sometimes I just sit and bang out dialog, let what ever comes into my head out onto the computer, this is like an exercise, it allows me to relax into it. If I'm not trying to write something specific I lose the tenseness and ease into something more substantial. Other days I just fancy reading. Don't fret lass, you'll be grand.

Speaking as someone who hasn't been able to write since clapping my unwilling eyes on the third season of Due South, I suspect I will not be of much help in your situation, but then I'm sitting here, compleatly boggled that the *Wal-Mart* is actually selling Queer As Folk DVDs.

Hi, you don't know me, but I've been following your journal because I just Love your writing. Finally delurking out of the fear that I might never be able to read a jenn fic again. *sob*

You have absolutely No reason to be afraid to post your fics; you're one of the best fanfic writers I've ever come across. "The Wasteland" was the first SV fic I ever read, and it pushed me over the edge into total obsessive-fangirl mode. Your stories (and all the other great writing out there) are what made me want to write my own fanfic and what I aspire to.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, You Rock! and I hope you feel more like yourself soon. :D

My .2cents and a bottle of snake oil

That said, I completely empathize with what you said and what you're in. I've been there so much they're installed a revolving door for me. The below is what I remember from researching writer's block, personal experience, and total B.S.

If A, just take a break. Do something else that you like and enjoy, and don't have to worry about. Then come back to it, and what you've written may turn out to be good and you were too stressed to see it, or you have fresh eyes to see what the problem is. Writing is a tool. It won't go away if you don't use it for a while, but you can get cramps like carpal tunnel if you use it too much.

If B, then finish something. Like a drabble, or a haiku. Then while the feeling of accomplishment is fresh, tackle the longer stuff.

If C, then tell yourself that you're not going to show it to anyone and see if you write. Or it might be because you're not satisfied with the way it's going, and you need to reevaluate it. Feeling like you lost your nerve could also be that you're trying something new, and a sign of growing pains.

Or maybe you just need to step back, and take a break. Nothing wrong with being a reader.

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