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Tynnyt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tynnyt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Nerves!
    Posted: 21 Apr 2017 at 7:26am
Soooo, I'm in need of advice!
 
Recently I've become more and more panicked by writing, to the point where I'm shaking when I sit down at a monitor. It's starting to become a real problem. In both the screen writing comp 16 and short story comp 17 I got through to the second round, but then felt so utterly useless as a writer  I didn't submit anything. Writing is one of the few things I feel passionate about but It's become such a 'thing' I'm now going into this screenwriting comp already dreading it.
 
Does anyone else find themselves feeling this way? If so, how do you deal with it? I'm at the point where it's making me feel bad about myself as a person and I just don't feel, well, worthy, if that makes sense?
 
Sorry for the downer of a topic, but any tips for coping with this head nonsense would be very much appreciated at this stage!


Edited by Tynnyt - 21 Apr 2017 at 7:27am
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Emmageek View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Emmageek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2017 at 9:57am
You know you're not alone.  Many times for me it's just avoidance.  Or wanting everything to be perfect.  Big surprise...it's won't be perfect, it will have deformed ears or fingers that are too long, but it won't be the bundle of joy you were expecting.  And you know what, that's fine.  

Put on some classical music - Mozart is good for changing the brainwaves, get the app "Calm" to help you meditate or just listen to nature sounds, and begin your ritual.  There is a reason for them.  I start with editing something I've done before that is still in work mode before I begin something new.  With the older material, I know what needs to be done - a tweak here or there based on a critique, but it puts you in "write mode". 

Now I write out an outline, put it on index cards, and then long hand.  Once I have done the index cards I want for the day, wrote it out, then it is computer time.  

I don't know if that helps you but it helps me!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stephenmatlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2017 at 1:28pm
I feel your pain! I am panicked by the thought that I have to create something that didn't exist. And for me the idea that I might not be able to do it means I've lost my touch. Like a painter who's gone blind or a singer who's gone mute. If I can't make the words become a story--where am I, anymore?

And for me, the answer is to do something else for a while and let it go. I might not get that particular objective done, right now, but I'll do something that engages me separately. Maybe I'll go for a walk. Go out for coffee with a friend. Work on an issue at work. Watch a rom-com or an action-adventure movie. In general, do something else and let my mind handle it without my attention.

Then I just treat it as "The worst that will happen is that it will all be crap. But it will be your crap. And that's good enough."

Hang in there. Talk with us. You're OK. This is all normal. You're not wrong or different or awful. You're just you, and this is you, too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anthonypittore Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2017 at 1:53pm
Two things:

1) have a glass of gin
2) realize this isn't real life

Nothing in the NYCM contests is life changing, good or bad. No matter what you do, you'll either be disappointed for a week or two or you'll be happy for a week or two.

Don't worry about impressing anyone. Do your best, work your hardest, and rock on.
Stay Scary,

Anthony
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2017 at 4:13pm
Feeling this way took me away from writing for 20 years.  20 YEARS away from something that was so much a part of my identity.  

On a whim, I entered Flash at the last second last summer.  And I did better than I thought I would.  I was feeling awesome when I got through to the semi-finals... and then utterly, horribly depressed when I was cut from the last round.  And for the most recent short story contest, "just" missing the next round with HM didn't help my psyche much, either.  I had a bit of a pity party and thought, eh, what's the point.  

BUT...I decided to write anyway.  Got together with a few others from the forums who also came thisclose to Round 2 and picked a random group's prompts, and just carved out time to write.  And it felt good.  I wrote for me.  Not for judges.  Not for a contest.  Just because I felt like it.  

And it was liberating.

Now I'm getting back in the saddle for Screenwriting.  I have NO IDEA what I am doing but am just going to have fun with it.

I say this because I've come to realize that life is way, way too short to let fear hold you back.  Will any of us here write a best-selling novel?  Will any of us produce an award-winning script?  Who knows.  And honestly, does it really matter? 

As writers, it is normal for us to be our own worst critics.  And sometimes success can be scary. (You mentioned you advanced in both contests - that is fantastic!  But it can be terrifying as you question yourself - do I have it in me to do it again?)

I can tell you, with certainty from my own experience, with 20 years between the final line of the last poem I wrote in my twenties to the opening of my first-ever flash fiction story at the age of 41, you DO have it in you.

And the beautiful thing about this community is that we all 'get' it.  We're all in the same boat.  And we're here to help.

So grab those prompts tonight with both hands.  Shake the hell out of them.  Turn them upside down and backward.  Twist them inside out.  And have a blast doing it.  

Just write.  Just. Write.  You CAN do this.

And don't forget to breathe.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LoboGal26 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2017 at 1:12am
Tynnyt,
My guess is you started writing because you love to write and you have something to share. It's an easy guess to make because I think it applies to everyone who tries these challenges.

My first go at these challenges was in the 2014 short story version. I had retired from my 25+ career in defense and gov't service, moved to the middle of rural nowhere, planted a garden, got chickens, and thought I have found the next version of my life. Nope, instead I found gloomy isolation. Since I'd always wanted to be a writer I applied for an MA program and signed up for my first NYC challenge. My prompts were SciFi/video games/a housekeeper. SciFi!? Ugh!

The story I submitted was rough, but I had fun and played around with the story; I may even use it as a basis for some future creation.

I've delved headlong into screenwriting and nonfiction, and although more times than not my family's response is "I don't get it" when I excitedly let them read something, I won't stop; I write for me. My characters use me to tell their stories. That is more satisfying than the judgment of some unknown people who are probably looking for something different than I'm offering. (My SciFi story was comedic...set in Farmville...and the SciFi purist judges were offended.  That was their issue, not mine.)

Write for you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote adreens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2017 at 10:01pm
Hey there.  I definitely relate to this.  

One thing that I've found is that sitting down to write makes me anxious, staring at the blank screen creates all this pressure for me.  I've found it very helpful to talk out what I want my story to be and record myself.  Somehow speaking it out loud is less pressure for me and then I talk out my story until it starts to make sense.  At that point it's easier to go ahead and write it.

Going for walks clears my head a lot too.  If I start feeling stressed or down about what I'm trying to write I go outside and walk around the block.  Getting myself into a new environment away from the pressures of writing is helpful so that I can create.

Also, surrounding myself with the kind of creativity I like is really helpful to get myself inspired and in the right mood.  Music is so helpful for me, if I'm starting to get stumped I'll turn on some of my favorite music and listen to it and remember why I love creativity, then go back to my writing.

I've also started looking at my scripts for this contest as first drafts.  I know I'll never create a masterpiece in 7 days or 2 days or whatever, so I use this as a chance to learn how to push myself into new genres.  Then after the contest I'll revise it and improve it.  In a way, these contests are kind of like going to the gym for me, keeping my writing muscles strong so that I can keep writing on my own. That perspective has helped me a lot to take the pressure off.

Good luck! :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote emdashem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2017 at 11:05am
When I feel this way, I tell myself, "Oh, this is the part where you want to give up!" -- as in, this despair and terror is part of the process, not the end of the road.  

I  believe that writing something good isn't the main goal. Writing something is the goal. When you complete an assignment, even if you hate it (I often don't like what I submit), you're learning to write better, and to persevere despite your fears (essential for any writer).



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MaHaBone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2017 at 1:02pm
I've been here. That feeling if you're not writing something good, you're wasting your time.

My personal epiphany was to give myself permission to write like sh*t. Hot garbage. Puke a bunch of pure crap.  Flat characters, contrived plot, babbling prose, cheap cliches, bad grammar, the whole nine.

Then go to bed.

Then get up, and look at the turd you laid, and bit by bit, fix it. As they say, writing is rewriting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vernacula Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2017 at 1:29pm
My trick? I write everything in an email draft first. EVERYTHING. Email is not intimidating. I've worked as a writer for 15+ years, and have always used the draft trick. It's just a brain bait-and-switch to decrease white-page intimidation. You're just casually writing an email. See? LOL

Hope you're doing well!


Edited by Vernacula - 29 Apr 2017 at 1:29pm
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