chasingthecrazies

Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

The Reality of Writing and Twitter Fatigue September 30, 2013

Alright I’ll admit it, I’m OVERWHELMED.

 

When I started writing full-time three years ago, I was very naïve about the process. I wrote for the pure and simple joy of writing.  As I learned more about publishing, I discovered that simply putting words on paper was not enough to make a great story. There were so many other things to consider (or so I was told).

 

In the last year alone, I’ve had these pieces of advice imparted to me – each one almost a contradiction to the other:

 

– Only use “said” for dialogue tags

– Don’t use dialogue tags at all – put character in front of action and tag is inferred

– Don’t’ use filter words (felt, saw, heard)

– Only use filter words sparingly

– Absolutely, positively don’t use adverbs

– Adverbs are okay if used sparingly

 

See a pattern here?

 

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of advice – and honestly I have.  After reading so many articles, and listening to so many people talk about writing, I’ve begun to question my own craft.  Part of this is my fault.  These people are all experts, right? I should be listening.

 

In truth, this is only partially correct.  I should be listening to what makes sense for ME. If the only way to express what my character is feeling is by saying, “she felt his hand on the small of her back,” then that’s what I should write.  If the character walks slowly, then I should say that without being afraid to use the much maligned adverb.

 

I blame a lot of my writing inertia of late on taking in too much information and not listening to what my own heart is saying.  Much of this I blame on gorging on social media, especially Twitter.  When an agent posts advice about writing, I devour each word, and wonder how I should incorporate into my own work.  When a well-known author tweets about how to write, “the perfect synopsis,” I quickly check the link.  While all of this is important info, it also all becomes “advice overload.” Again, paralyzing in a way because it makes you question your own work and instincts.

 

My own writing “block” these past weeks has made me step back and analyze what I want to do with my work.  I want to get back to feeling the rush of putting together a great scene without worrying about whether or not I’ve got too many dialogue tags, or if I’m going to get dinged for using an adverb or filter word.

 

With that thought in mind, I’m going to step back from social media. Don’t get me wrong, I think Twitter, and other forms of social connection, are important in building writing connections, and creating an author brand, but I also think it can become so overwhelming it takes away from the joy of writing.

 

With spending less time online, I’m hoping to find that joy again.  It will be interesting to see if I can put all the advice out of my head and simply plunge forward with whatever feels right for my characters.  When my beta readers and CPs get this new manuscript I guess I’ll find out if this was the right step.  The one good thing is I’ll know I wrote it all purely from instinct, and not from some self-imposed structure I find myself constrained by right now.

 

I’ll let you know how it all goes.

 

And no, this doesn’t mean I am swearing off Twitter entirely – I’d miss everyone too much.  It just means I’m going to pull way back and focus on what is important right now – me and the writing.

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21 Responses to “The Reality of Writing and Twitter Fatigue”

  1. Yes. This! It is VERY hard to figure out what is “right” and the “rules” … which I tell everyone is actually a “guideline” LOL Break the rules, just do it well and seamlessly.

    And NEVER worry about writing when doing the draft! EVER! Write it badly, listen to the voice telling the story in your head. When you revise and edit? That’s when you decide how it should be worded, etc. What works for THE STORY – not “experts.” For some, adverbs are great, but passive isn’t. I’ve seen books with a lot of passive – but it WORKED because the character herself was very passive …

    You keep on keeping on! You’re doing great 🙂 And I joined NaNo this year … My first year ever … And OctoWriMo. I somehow lost my mind in September …

  2. EM Castellan Says:

    The sheer amount of writerly advice out there can definitely feel overwhelming at times. I hope you benefit from your time off and you’ll return to us a happy writer!

  3. Kim Says:

    I completely understand! There is so much info out there and so many different ways to approach writing that sometimes it is overwhelming to take it all in.
    It sounds like you found a good way to filter it for you. I hope you find that thrill of writing a new scene without worrying about any “writing rules” soon 🙂

    Also, if you would like another pair of eyes to look over your new manuscript when it’s ready, feel free to email me!

  4. I’m glad to hear that I’ll still see you on Twitter, but I also can relate to the feelings you’re talking about here. One thing I’m trying to do is read less online advice. There is so much good info out there, but it can get overwhelming (and reading it can take away from writing and time to read good books). But it’s hard. I have a feeling like I don’t want to miss out. 🙂 good luck with your writing!

  5. deshipley Says:

    Arrgh, yes, so much noise! That’s part of why I look forward to NaNoWrio: When you’re trying to fly through fifty-thousand words in a month, there’s no time for second guessing — you just write the story however it comes to you, and worry about how it reads later. I mean, I’m still a fuss ‘n’ fiddler of a writer by nature, but it’s a much clearer and less painful process when the audience I’m straining to please is me, not a host of anonymous others who, frankly, cannot all be pleased at once. I’ll give ear to as much advice as I can stand, but I’m not about to betray my style, since if I’m not staying true to that, then what’s the point?

  6. tawney13 Says:

    I use to have that joyous drive of writing. I miss it too. I feel so overwhelmed with all the information and advice. I hope stepping back works for you. I might try this. Good luck. I hope the joy comes back!

  7. michelle4laughs Says:

    Happy Writing! I think you’ve discovered the truest wisdom. Be true to yourself.

  8. Marlene Moss Says:

    I totally understand this. I sometimes feel like a Ping-Pong ball. I’ve been going nuts trying to nail the beginning of my ms. We’re told to start where the story starts, where things change. But then are told that some people want to know the character first before seeing him react. Enjoy getting back to “you” and don’t forget – you only need to think about any of those adverbs and filter words on editing. For first draft, just fly with whatever works for you.

  9. yakinamac Says:

    Absolutely agree with your point about feeling overwhelmed by advice. It’s all useful stuff and it usually varies only in a matter of degree – i.e. I haven’t yet come across anyone advocating for *more* adverbs in writing – but it can be paralysing trying to work out how to apply it all to your work. Good luck with the sabbatical!

  10. Boy, oh boy, do I identify with this post! I’m on my second year of the writing journey and my fourth novel. I too have done a total immersion in writing craft, and have reached a point of inertia. I have to say though, I’ve learned so much, and my writing is clearer better for having read all those articles and blogs and twits and tweets and crit partners’ input (which often quote the pundits as well). Thanks for the reminder that at the end of the day, we’ve got to tune out the advice and write from the heart. 🙂

  11. I know that feeling – the sheer amount of articles and advice can make it hard to actually start writing, especially if it’s a first draft. I sometimes find myself stuck, knowing I’m using passive verbs and filter words and dialogue tags, but I have to leave them and move on otherwise I never make any progress! The editing phase is when I get ruthless and eliminate all those unnecessary words.


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