Writing Compulsively

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lucifersrise asked: Recently I've had many great ideas that I've spent days, even weeks researching but whenever it comes to actually writing, I tend to just.. Shrivel up, so do you have any advice for how to handle this? Especially since the story I'm planning is quite complex.


Your jerkbrain is trying to talk you out of doing something it knows is hard work. Research is, by comparison, relatively easy. Don’t let your jerkbrain win!

  • Chunk it! If you have a good sense of what the story is, try to hammer it down to as much detail as possible, and split those details into manageable jobs. This is why I split my noveling efforts into scenes or subscenes, just to have a goal to work towards.
  • Map it! You know your story is complex. Maybe a psychical representation of what happens where can help you out. Track subplots with different colors and post-it notes, create movable flashcards with themes. As one of our readers pointed out, those school project poster boards are great for laying out your plot in detail. Try it out!
  • Outline it! Your brain is kicking and screaming at you to avoid hard work. Fool it by sketching out scenes, then filling in details as you go along. This is a great place to play the What If game, finding new ideas and plot resolutions as you go.
  • Write it! You may have to move. I can’t tell you how many times I have packed up my shit and gone to the library or a cafe because my jerkbrain associates my desk with ‘wooo internet~!’ You may have to clean everything off your desk. You may have to unplug the internet, or go outside. But you do have to force yourself in an environment where you have nothing to do but write. Once you do, the writing will follow.

It might take some time. It might be like pulling nails. But finding a way to get into the groove is important, and you should try everything you can. Don’t let your jerkbrain win!

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Someone is not a morning person like her Mommy.  It’s seriously the hardest thing leaving those puppy dog eyes every morning.  


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A Note on Cliches


I get questions on cliches every day. Sometimes they’re broad and asking about cliches within an entire genre. Sometimes they’re super specific. If you’re looking for a list of cliches for a genre, go through my tags page for the cliche tags or look through the tag for the…

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If you’re a white writer who wants to write about a culture not your own, go for it. There’s no reason you shouldn’t do it. Some people will prefer that you don’t, but those people don’t speak for everyone. On the other hand, if you’re terrified of writing outside your culture, you don’t have to. There’s not necessarily any reason for you to do something that makes you that uncomfortable. I believe that writing is a personal thing, and you should write what you personally want to write.

Malinda Lo from Should white people write about people of color?

But really, you should go read the whole post. And while you’re at it, read Is it okay for a white author to write outside their culture? by Natalie Whipple, a post written in response to Malinda Lo’s. Both are well-worth your time. 

(via writeworld)