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Learning to Write Again

Renacerá

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I'm out of practice.

I haven't really written something substantial in years.

And I don't really know how to start up again.

 

In terms of fanfiction, in 2014, I finished Rule Breaker (soon to be renamed Collateral and posted on HPFT). It was a project five years in the making, and I absolutely loved writing it. After that, though, I wrote very little. In 2015, I posted two one-shots and two chapters of what was meant to be a novel until I lost interest. Since then, I've written nothing. For over two years.

Now I'm getting ready to write the sequel to Collateral, entitled Rendition. I want to tackle it for NaNo this year. I'm really excited about it. But I can't seem to figure out how I'm going to do this. I'm so out of practice writing. Over the last month or so, I've edited some of my HPFF stories and transferred them to HPFT. It's been cathartic. I've really enjoyed improving them. Trouble is, I haven't actually been writing anything, just editing. And now I want to jump in with both feet.

So, how do I do this? I've considered entering some challenges to get my writing brain moving again. I think that might help as a short-term fix. I'm not sure if it will help in the long term though. I don't know if I'm any good at writing anymore. There's just a lot of self-doubt with it right now. I know I should just grit my teeth and plunge forward, but that fear of failure isn't so easy to overcome. True, no one will really know if I "fail" at writing—I'll be the only judge/jury/executioner on that—but it still brings me pause.

I'm a compulsive planner when it comes to writing. I love knowing where I'm going before I start. But I haven't even been able to bring myself to sketch out the greater plot of Rendition past the first few chapters, and NaNo starts in a week. Ohhhh man am I screwed.

 

So, that's the end of that rant. Any advice? Words of wisdom? Words of comfort? Shrieks of empathetic understanding for feeling exactly the same way?

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I know how that feels! When I first joined the site in 2012 I was writing everyday and now I'm lucky if I write a few times a year! I'd love to get back into it but I have no motivation for it. 

Just take it slow though, writing something now is an achievement even if it isn't a long term fix. And personally I think Challenges are a great way to get you back into writing, ones  that give you a prompt or the first line are good if you don't feel like planning either. You can just see where it takes you. And don't worry about  feeling like your writing isn't as good any more, just jump back in and if you still feel like that I'm sure there's a beta on here who could help or make you feel better about it.

Good luck with Nano as well! 

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I'm the same. The last time I was truly in my element was 2013. I used to live for writing, it wasn't very good - but back then I didn't think about that. Now as I've gotten older I've had other, important things, to get on with and my love for writing dwindled. Every so often I get ideas and want to come back, but I'm so self conscious about my skill, or rather the lack of it, that I just get stuck and hit a block. 

I agree that challenges do help, and just free writing and seeing where it takes you can too. Good luck! I have a lot more faith in you than I do in my own writing aha! :D

 

Bex

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Can I join the club? First other work kept me from writing, stuff that appealed creatively (building websites; working with Adobe After Effects - a digital visual effects program; heck, even knitting). Then doubt starting creeping in when I thought about writing. Now I when I get ideas, I sort of squirrel them away even though I know it's best to strike while the iron is hot.

I'll second the suggestion of challenges, but remember you don't have to limit yourself to just HP-related ones. There are other forums that host writing challenges or have writing prompts like WorldsmythswritersShadowplay and Candyland Couture

Edited by Alexis Black

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Ooh! Thanks for those other sites! It’s a tough position we’re in, but I think we can get back into the swing! I believe in us!

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I can totally relate. There was about a year, starting about May or June last year when we all started to move to HPFT, when not only did I have no inspiration to write anymore, but also just lost all my love for writing and my heart wasn't in it anymore. It felt like a chore. I also only had one reader so there was minimal pressure to keep pushing through the writer's block. It was kind of hard getting back into writing after that, as you've said. But, I just dove right back in and it turned out okay. One thing that helped me was to read some past reviews that people had left for me years ago, which reminded me that people liked my writing. It's a great way to boost your confidence about your writing so you feel good when you're starting off again! :) And as others have suggested, challenges can be great to actually prompt you to put some words on paper. HP, other fandom, original fiction prompts, whatever you're feeling.

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 I don't know if I'm any good at writing anymore.

Nonsense! Of course you're good at writing! Besides, I think the fact that you've been spending the interim editing only means you're keeping up your writing skills, because editing uses those same skills. You're looking over your past writing, improving it to your current standard. That means you're a better writer than when you began writing Rule Breaker all those years ago.

 

Hope NaNo has been productive and that you've been able to get back into the swing of things a bit!

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I can relate. I am returning to HPFT after a very long hiatus today and I haven't written in months, maybe even a year or more. I honestly can't remember the last time I wrote. I want to get back into writing though.... and I suppose I will start by entering a challenge or two to get my muse rolling. Good luck to you too!

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Thank you so much for the encouragement, Stella! I'll definitely go back and read some of those reviews and see what people were saying. I think that's a great idea. I totally understand what you mean about writing feeling like a chore. I'm really enjoying NaNo, but I've had days where I just don't feel up to it. I'm super behind right now, but I do still feel productive because I've actually written this month rather than just talked about it. I hope your own writing has been going better lately too!

And Angie, I'll just repeat what everyone else has told me that's really helped: just write! Anything. Five words. Two words. Anything. It's really helped me get back into it to just write things and try not to worry about how good/bad it is. Let me know if you want to talk as you get back into it too!

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