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The Kindness Bench for SimLit Writers - For All Games!

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  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,660 Member

    @InfraGreen Thanks for your encouragement. I think watching the stats page was one of my mistakes. A post that I was super excited about got literally no views the day I posted it. I never know who to gush to about my work because usually I'm so far ahead in my writing compared to where my readers are in the story.

    @MedleyMisty Thank you as well. I'm one of those that normally just lurks on others blogs but have tried to make an effort recently to comment on posts because I know how good it makes me feel when others do it. I recently moved blogs from Blogger to WordPress. It's kind of depressing looking at the stats page and I think I'm going to have to force myself to stop because of that. My old blog still averages 200 hits a day but pretty much all of those are for the runaway teen challenge rules. You're right even I don't read others stories as soon as they're posted other than a few exceptions. I try to look at it like I'm writing for me and if others read it then it's just a bonus but sometimes I really want someone else as excited as I am about something ya know?

    Sometimes I think the WordPress stats page promotes dysfunction among bloggers.

    I've had to go through lots of internal adjustments in order to get it to be productive for me. At present, I'm at a point where I can view it with curiosity, feeling interested in the trends. But I had to definitely set some limits and learn how to unhook from it. For a while, it was driving me in an unhealthy way.
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • DreamsInPixelsDreamsInPixels Posts: 4,469 Member
    Wow. @lisabee2 that analogy is perfect. I've always tried to think of a way to make the analytics make sense, and seriously, that analogy is perfect. I feel like the shy little bird that hops around picking the ground, chirping here and there when content and happy. I don't leave comments when I read, unless the chaoter is just so good that I can't comment. Even when I comment I don't really know what to say. I wish I could be more like a song bird.

    Even with the amazing analogy, it'll probably still hurt when no one reads. It makes me think I'm not good enough, or what I write isn't good enough. I can't help it though...I'm a perfectionist, and I have a deep-seeded need for approval and to be good enough, but I'm really starting to think that if I really want to continue this hobby I need to let it go.

    I get stuck in a loop: I think of (what I think is) a good story idea, plan it out, think no one is going to read it, set it up anyway, think it's going to be great, post it with excitement...and then get little to no views after one or two weeks. Then I get depressed and don't want to write anymore. I then take a break for a few weeks to a few months, then I think of another good idea...and it goes on and on.

    I have no idea how my husband puts up with me during the 'Active Loop Times'...but he's a saint. I just realized I probably over-shared...but I feel much better after letting it all out.
    Tumblr: Stardew and Plumbobs
    Twitter: cxndacemxrie
    ~*-*-*~
    My SimLit:
    NA
    ~*-*-*~
    Hogwarts House: Slytherin | Ilvermorny House: Wampus
    Patronus: Dolphin
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,660 Member
    I totally relate to the feeling of "I think no one reads my stuff because I start new stuff and never finish anything." Which is why I did an entire outline from beginning to the end.
    I guess the outline advice really helps for scripted stories -- which is another thing that I feel like no one reads so it discouraged me for a while (still does sometimes.)

    Another thing I'm going to do is reward myself for reaching certain parts in my stories. That way I encourage myself to write. Maybe that's something people can do to keep writing when they feel down or discouraged?
    *takes nap on bench*

    I have issues committing to a story. My mind goes mad with ideas and I always think of new stories.. but none of them connect, nothing intertwines and nothing has an ending. And when I think I have a good thing going... nobody reads it.

    @DreamsInPixels and @BabyDollAnne - I wonder if I can express to each of you how much I have loved the beginnings of your stories...

    With both of you, the characters, worlds, and plots you've created live on in me!

    When I begin both your stories, I literally feel worlds open up inside of me! The joy is tremendous! It's so exciting! I've felt that I've swooped down into your worlds and lived with your characters...

    And here is a beautiful secret I will share... because your stories weren't "completed," they continue to live inside of me! My imagination plays with your characters, your plots, your worlds... Everything you've started lives on in me and continues to provide me with joy.

    Here's an idea: you know how people suggested to me that I work with the slow down and restriction that I'm currently facing?

    Well... what if both of you embraced the energy of beginnings and new projects and never, ever, ever pressured yourself to finish them or to commit to them? What if you had the serial lover aspiration for writing SimLit? Wouldn't that be awesome?

    You could call your blogs "Starters." And all the readers who love beginnings, but who don't feel they have the time to commit to reading an entire long series could read your starts?

    I would, for sure! I would adore a blog that had each of your starts--I'd love them, and I'd go back and reread them.

    And here's a whacky idea that I'm really excited about (but which might be too out-there to ever work): What if you had a garden nursery of stories? You guys could do the starts! Then, just like gardeners who have trouble germinating plants go to nurseries to by their "starts," bloggers and gamers who have trouble starting stories and games could go to your blogs for the starts (and you could make your Sims available on the gallery), and then they could transplant them into their games for the finishing! :)

    Even if that's a goofy idea, I still encourage you to embrace your "starter" energy! Who said we had to finish anything? This is our hobby that we're doing for fun, because we love it! If you want to make a hundred starts, I'd read them all, and I would love them and find such joy in them! :)
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,660 Member
    lisabee2 wrote: »
    Reading this is so interesting. I attributed these (same) feelings I have to my being new and unseasoned. I thought with time the feeling would abate ... but it does not look that way!

    This activity/hobby we have chosen is a very odd experience. I have never felt so vulnerable or exposed as when submitting a part of my story (and the short story was magnified a gazillion times more so). It is as tho we open up a very deep personal part of ourselves .. and leave it filleted for all to examine or worse to ignore. I have played sims for many years and done FB stories for a good few now and never felt this exposed. It is an odd rollercoaster with a lot more downs than ups.

    I hit a really bad patch a month or so ago and I was so blessed to receive good counsel from Ra3rei. She gave me an analogy that resonated strongly with me and has been an amusing (encouraging) thought ever since. She likened it to a bird feeder (I have and enjoy the past time of feeding the birds and my pup enjoys running the squirrels off). Some birds come and they eat the seed and fly off to other feeders more to their liking. Some birds come and they eat up all your food and never leave so much as a peep. The other birds (like the mourning dove) eat your seed and stick around to give you a sweet song to cheer your heart! I try very hard to be that singing bird .. truth is that I love the seed and giving a few "notes" to bless a heart is not difficult. I have been criticized in the past of "liking" too much but whatever .. like my fat little mourning doves, I love the seed even if it is not all cracked corn :)

    So blessings today to all my fellow bench sitters :)



    This is so sweet, @lisabee2 ! It is a very vulnerable feeling, isn't it, to share your soul? And then, when your soul's out there and no one responds... oh, my.

    When I started thinking of my blog as a garden, it really helped me to make the shift needed to be able to view the tending of it (and the regular, visiting, and migrant readers) in a healthier way! :)
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • DreamsInPixelsDreamsInPixels Posts: 4,469 Member
    @CathyTea the "starters" idea sounds so great. I could easily do a trillion starts to stories...but I really just want to finish one story to say I actually finished something.
    Tumblr: Stardew and Plumbobs
    Twitter: cxndacemxrie
    ~*-*-*~
    My SimLit:
    NA
    ~*-*-*~
    Hogwarts House: Slytherin | Ilvermorny House: Wampus
    Patronus: Dolphin
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,660 Member
    @CathyTea the "starters" idea sounds so great. I could easily do a trillion starts to stories...but I really just want to finish one story to say I actually finished something.

    Yeah! It does bring an awesome sense of completion! I really like your idea of celebrating milestones! (You could have a little party after every ten chapters, for example! Oh! We could have a party for you here, if you wanted! :)
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    @Rainydayz179 I know. I used to get really angsty about it. I still do a bit sometimes, like when I think I have come up with a lovely image and words that I tried my best to make beautiful, and all I get is some likes on Tumblr.

    The change in your blog probably has a lot to do with it. It'll take time to build up a readership again.

    The internet audience is very fickle, and the majority of them are likely to just leave if you move blogs or if you slow down on updates or whatever. It takes time to find the small core of readers who'll stick with you through all that kind of stuff, but they are out there. There's not a whole lot of them, though.

    I think...like we put our souls into our work, and we love it so much, and we want other people to join in that love with us. But honestly the majority of people on the internet aren't here for that. They're here for custom content, or for constant story updates, and I think that a lot of them don't really see the people who create the content they consume as actual people. Also if they aren't content creators themselves, they don't know the amount of work that goes into it. Like the person who commented on Valley once to tell me that she didn't understand why I didn't update more frequently until she started her own story and saw how much work it was. And mind you at the time I was updating once a week.

    And then, even of the ones who do see us as human and who do appreciate the work that goes into what we give them, there are a lot of insecure and shy and anxious people out there who believe that we don't want to hear from them, that they'll be bothering us, who are worried that we'll make fun of their comments. And then of course on our side we interpret their silence as not caring, as meaning that whatever we did wasn't good enough, so it's just a giant circle of angst and anxiety.

    And then add to all that the pressure from the people who tell those of us who are honest about wanting feedback that we should just write for ourselves and never care if anyone reads it, and that it's wrong and pathetic to worry about stats and comments. It's a recipe for misery.

    The only way I've found to get out of that circle is boundaries, and a more accurate assessment of myself and my work and the actual motivations and beliefs of other people. I had to convince my brain that what I write is actually pretty darn good, and that it has worth, no matter how many views and comments it gets. I had to learn a lot about other people, and that they had all sorts of reasons for not commenting or for not reading in the first place that had nothing to do with either me as a person or my work, and that I had absolutely no control over their reactions.

    You can work your fingers to the bone to produce great art, and people will still not care and not comment for all sorts of reasons.

    Also, something I brought up in the Art of Sims Storytelling thread may be helpful here. Dunning-Kruger. People who are incompetent in a field generally can't recognize competence in that field, whether their own or other people's. Also, the more competent you become in a field, the more you can see where you fall short of what's possible, and the more you doubt yourself.

    So what that means for us is that people who aren't competent in writing and storytelling are probably not going to have discerning tastes in Sims stories, and they aren't going to be able to tell the good stuff from the bad stuff, and that therefore you shouldn't judge your work by what they say about it and whether or not they read it. And also, if you have doubts about the quality of your work, that is a pretty good sign that your quality is on the higher end of the spectrum and that you're learning and improving and becoming more competent.

    Like Eminem says in the song Lighters, when you're at the top of your game the other game players are likely not going to feel you. :)
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • lisabee2lisabee2 Posts: 3,217 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    lisabee2 wrote: »
    Reading this is so interesting. I attributed these (same) feelings I have to my being new and unseasoned. I thought with time the feeling would abate ... but it does not look that way!

    This activity/hobby we have chosen is a very odd experience. I have never felt so vulnerable or exposed as when submitting a part of my story (and the short story was magnified a gazillion times more so). It is as tho we open up a very deep personal part of ourselves .. and leave it filleted for all to examine or worse to ignore. I have played sims for many years and done FB stories for a good few now and never felt this exposed. It is an odd rollercoaster with a lot more downs than ups.

    I hit a really bad patch a month or so ago and I was so blessed to receive good counsel from Ra3rei. She gave me an analogy that resonated strongly with me and has been an amusing (encouraging) thought ever since. She likened it to a bird feeder (I have and enjoy the past time of feeding the birds and my pup enjoys running the squirrels off). Some birds come and they eat the seed and fly off to other feeders more to their liking. Some birds come and they eat up all your food and never leave so much as a peep. The other birds (like the mourning dove) eat your seed and stick around to give you a sweet song to cheer your heart! I try very hard to be that singing bird .. truth is that I love the seed and giving a few "notes" to bless a heart is not difficult. I have been criticized in the past of "liking" too much but whatever .. like my fat little mourning doves, I love the seed even if it is not all cracked corn :)

    So blessings today to all my fellow bench sitters :)



    This is so sweet, @lisabee2 ! It is a very vulnerable feeling, isn't it, to share your soul? And then, when your soul's out there and no one responds... oh, my.

    When I started thinking of my blog as a garden, it really helped me to make the shift needed to be able to view the tending of it (and the regular, visiting, and migrant readers) in a healthier way! :)

    @CathyTea the garden resonates well with me too .. and to see it that way .. my garden is mostly for my joy .. even tho my nibblers (grands) come and eat all my carrots.
    SebEwnF.jpg
    LisabeeSims
    New readers can visit here first: In-a-NUTSHELL
    #EAgamechanger
  • lisabee2lisabee2 Posts: 3,217 Member
    Wow. @lisabee2 that analogy is perfect. I've always tried to think of a way to make the analytics make sense, and seriously, that analogy is perfect. I feel like the shy little bird that hops around picking the ground, chirping here and there when content and happy. I don't leave comments when I read, unless the chaoter is just so good that I can't comment. Even when I comment I don't really know what to say. I wish I could be more like a song bird.

    Even with the amazing analogy, it'll probably still hurt when no one reads. It makes me think I'm not good enough, or what I write isn't good enough. I can't help it though...I'm a perfectionist, and I have a deep-seeded need for approval and to be good enough, but I'm really starting to think that if I really want to continue this hobby I need to let it go.

    I get stuck in a loop: I think of (what I think is) a good story idea, plan it out, think no one is going to read it, set it up anyway, think it's going to be great, post it with excitement...and then get little to no views after one or two weeks. Then I get depressed and don't want to write anymore. I then take a break for a few weeks to a few months, then I think of another good idea...and it goes on and on.

    I have no idea how my husband puts up with me during the 'Active Loop Times'...but he's a saint. I just realized I probably over-shared...but I feel much better after letting it all out.

    @DreamsInPixels .. do you want to know a little secret .. at my feeder the little birds who stick around to clean up the seed spilled out by those who are a little more thoughtless are my favs. The bigger ones come and they kick the seed all over trying to find just the right one (so droll) .. and the the sweet little ones come and clean up the mess. NOT real sure what that has to do with my analogy but you gave me an instant vision of those little sweetie tweeties that are prob out there even now doing the clean up!

    As for what to say I just say what pops int my head. I am not sure it needs to be in-depth or constructive ... I read on yesterday that I had no words that would have fit .. so I just sighed cause that is what I did when I read it. I think readers just want to know that you connected.

    LOL I have a dear HUBs who is much the same (he is my Bob Pancakes)
    SebEwnF.jpg
    LisabeeSims
    New readers can visit here first: In-a-NUTSHELL
    #EAgamechanger
  • Rainydayz179Rainydayz179 Posts: 4,003 Member
    And then, even of the ones who do see us as human and who do appreciate the work that goes into what we give them, there are a lot of insecure and shy and anxious people out there who believe that we don't want to hear from them, that they'll be bothering us, who are worried that we'll make fun of their comments. And then of course on our side we interpret their silence as not caring, as meaning that whatever we did wasn't good enough, so it's just a giant circle of angst and anxiety.

    Your post was very long and inspirational but this is the part that resonated the most with me. As someone with severe social anxiety it took me a long time to start reaching out to others here on the forums. One of the first was @CathyTea and she was so nice to me that it gave me the courage to interact more. My participation on the threads I follow and the amount I comment on stories I read are directly connected to my mood at the time.

    I will admit that some writers intimidate me and they usually get so many comments on their posts already that I figure they don't need mine.

    I've heard that you should write about what you know personally so I'm trying to add things like anxiety into my stories. It's my hope that someone will read it and either get an understanding of what it's like for others or recognize it in themselves.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,660 Member
    Just came across an article on self-kindness that seems to relate to some of what we've been talking about today: http://www.mindful.org/dont-fall-into-the-self-esteem-trap-try-a-little-self-kindness/

    (It's by Kristin Neff! One of my favorites! :) )
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • lisabee2lisabee2 Posts: 3,217 Member
    And then, even of the ones who do see us as human and who do appreciate the work that goes into what we give them, there are a lot of insecure and shy and anxious people out there who believe that we don't want to hear from them, that they'll be bothering us, who are worried that we'll make fun of their comments. And then of course on our side we interpret their silence as not caring, as meaning that whatever we did wasn't good enough, so it's just a giant circle of angst and anxiety.

    Your post was very long and inspirational but this is the part that resonated the most with me. As someone with severe social anxiety it took me a long time to start reaching out to others here on the forums. One of the first was @CathyTea and she was so nice to me that it gave me the courage to interact more. My participation on the threads I follow and the amount I comment on stories I read are directly connected to my mood at the time.

    I will admit that some writers intimidate me and they usually get so many comments on their posts already that I figure they don't need mine.

    I've heard that you should write about what you know personally so I'm trying to add things like anxiety into my stories. It's my hope that someone will read it and either get an understanding of what it's like for others or recognize it in themselves.

    Well @Rainydayz179 I have been interacting with you for a bit now and you do not show it .. excellent job at fighting back your self hindrances (if that could possibly be a thing LOL)!
    SebEwnF.jpg
    LisabeeSims
    New readers can visit here first: In-a-NUTSHELL
    #EAgamechanger
  • AdamsEve1231AdamsEve1231 Posts: 5,866 Member
    edited June 2016
    CathyTea wrote: »

    I can use some encouragement and suggestions!

    I think I want to discover how I feel... so first, I'll just share.

    I'm in my second year of blogging. The first year was so intense, so full of inspiration, and so fast! I posted nearly every day, with nearly 500 posts during the first year! I never ran out of energy to post, and somehow, every day, I found the time to write! I must have written over 500,000 words!

    Now, this second year... things are slower. I'm in a challenging astrological transit until Octoberish, which seems to slow down and restrict my creativity, my expressions, my inspiration, and my understanding of my aesthetic values.

    Ok... so now I've just discovered how I feel, which is "slowed down and restricted." (The specific transit is Saturn conjunct Natal Moon/opposite Natal Venus, for those of you who think in terms of astrological energy.)

    And now that I've discovered how I feel, I'd love some advice, suggestions, encouragement, and sharing!

    How can I make the most out of this time of slowing down and feeling restricted, so that by the time I come out of this epoch in late October, I will feel that I've gained from it?

    How have you profitably used and grown from your own times of creative slowdown and restriction?

    I'm in a slowish period of my writing for certain things (*cough cough* KFLL and my offline fantasy novel), although in other areas, I'm full-speed ahead. I think this is because the pieces that have deeper meaning, the ones I connect to, are the ones I want to spend the most time on making sure it's right and good and quality. I'm feeling restricted partly due to my own fault - like not playing Kass's game in one case or not giving myself the time to sit down and write my fantasy novel. Part of it is also due to lack of passion, drive, and inspiration.

    Do you ever look at a draft, outline, piece of writing, and you know what's coming up ahead, but you just don't feel motivated to write it because a) it may be overwhelming, b) you're a perfectionist, like me, and struggle with letting something just flow, or c) it just isn't coming despite the pre-planning you've done?

    This is how I feel now about both pieces of writing I mentioned. I find myself questioning a lot - "Is it any good?"

    My husband made an interesting point lately. He asked me where and when and how I feel most inspired, where I feel in tune to my imagination and creativity hub, and where I hear my own writing voice the loudest? I told him usually when I'm out in nature and listening to music, and typically carrying a journal with me. Then he asked me: "When's the last time you took your journal and your music and walked out into nature?" I looked at him like he was crazy, but it really was a "duh" moment for me.

    So that morning, I didn't waste any time. I drove up the mountain, feeling called and compelled to go into nature and to meet myself - or my inner voice. I found myself on a long, winding road through a state park, and was completely lost and turned around. After seven miles, I pulled over and tried to get my GPS to work so I could figure out where I was and figure out how to get back down again. That's when I looked over and saw the trailhead sign which literally said, "Realization Point." I felt like I was suddenly struck by a lightning bolt of understanding.

    See sometimes my slow periods or dry periods in writing is like this winding road up the mountain.

    The mountain represents the impossible peak that I'm never quite sure I'll reach.

    The road is my journey to getting there, of course, and sometimes this road is obstructed (like when some pinecones fell off the tree into the road [and yes, that happened] or a biker and a curve blocked me from passing.

    I need to identify those barriers, and sometimes I have to wait them out like waiting for the biker to move around the corner so I can see again and safely pass. Sometimes I need to plow right through... sorry pinecones.

    The important point is I need to keep going, keep trying, keep driving.

    I don't need to use everything I write. I can discard it. I can save it for later. I can use it as a growth piece.

    Sometimes I need to walk away from the road and pursue something else, like hiking up a nearby trail (a.k.a. watch a movie, read a book, listen to music, go for a walk, etc). Sometimes this hike away from the "writing road" takes longer than I'd like, but if I keep my eyes open, I might find something beautiful and inspiring anyway (like when I was on this particular hike and I found a gorgeous open field with a dilapidated barn and I sat down on a bench to ponder its beauty). Did it give me a story idea? No. But it did clear my mind and bring me a sense of peace which later helped me to write my story.

    Eventually I'll hit realization point - a point where I recognize that I don't need a GPS to find a quiet place in the mountains or the Sims game to write Kass's story and I don't need the perfect words for my novel to be written, a point where I let go of my restraints (fears, barriers, worries) and just write and trust that something meaningful will come if I try and nothing meaningful will come if I never try. Some of the work will be plum. and some of it will be decent and some of it will be good and some of it might be great. I can't get to decent, good, or great if I don't try. The point is I'm working through it, actively and intentionally, and sometimes taking much needed breaks which can be just as intentional.

    There is meaning in the pause and in the rest. Sometimes in order to find yourself (or your writing voice) you might just have to lose yourself "in the woods." Your voice and your mind (and your spirit) need to rest in order to be refreshed and back at your personal best.

    I do this by finding my "happy place" or my "peaceful haven" or finding the things I love the most and doing them (like walking up a mountain listening to my music and carrying my journal).

    This was most definitely longer than I intended, but I hope this helps, @CathyTea.
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    I love you, @AdamsEve1231. :)
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • InfraGreenInfraGreen Posts: 6,084 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    And...

    I can use some encouragement and suggestions!

    I think I want to discover how I feel... so first, I'll just share.

    I'm in my second year of blogging. The first year was so intense, so full of inspiration, and so fast! I posted nearly every day, with nearly 500 posts during the first year! I never ran out of energy to post, and somehow, every day, I found the time to write! I must have written over 500,000 words!

    Now, this second year... things are slower. I'm in a challenging astrological transit until Octoberish, which seems to slow down and restrict my creativity, my expressions, my inspiration, and my understanding of my aesthetic values.

    Ok... so now I've just discovered how I feel, which is "slowed down and restricted." (The specific transit is Saturn conjunct Natal Moon/opposite Natal Venus, for those of you who think in terms of astrological energy.)

    And now that I've discovered how I feel, I'd love some advice, suggestions, encouragement, and sharing!

    How can I make the most out of this time of slowing down and feeling restricted, so that by the time I come out of this epoch in late October, I will feel that I've gained from it?

    How have you profitably used and grown from your own times of creative slowdown and restriction?

    @CathyTea: I feel like @AdamsEve1231 answered this beautifully, but I have a lot of experiences with feeling slowed down creatively.

    And it kind of fits into things I have to vent about on my own side, but more on that later!

    So I'm kind of in the same place right now (for very different reasons), and I've been trying to use the time to at least keep my mind productive and experience more, instead of waiting it out and idling. I've reconnected with a few old friends, I try to go to the nearest city once a week, try to read more SimLit because others seem to be doing just fine with producing it, and I charted out some new walking routes near my house some months ago so I can go on "thinking walks".

    I savor any idea that comes during those times, so write down everything that comes to mind. You might not have the most populated list for inspiration, but you have something to show for it.

    Same goes for writing and posting your stuff. Take advantage of whenever you feel like you're in the right mindset to do it. Again, it's better to have less than usual than to have literally nothing.
    The demon whispers in my ear, the hurt has found a home in here.

    QtpcFhd.gif

    No Stars over Uptown | Linda's in Custody | Wanna play a game? Check out the 2018 Tournament Challenges at Carl's Forum
  • InfraGreenInfraGreen Posts: 6,084 Member
    And now my turn to vent!

    1. So last month, I graduated university. And at the moment, I'm living with my parents, hunting for jobs, and having few other duties. I thought that this would be a rare period of productivity for me, as I haven't had a free summer in years and used to have to balance my hobbies with classes and/or work. Instead, it's been the opposite. I started off my period of freedom by bringing Eight Cicadas out from hiatus and starting The Chains of Lyra. Making new material for them has been slow, full of re-doing, and I honestly almost never feel the urge to write with what I have!

    I can at least pinpoint why this is happening: I used to have a highly-structured life and now I don't, which doesn't help me with concentrating. I get side-tracked. But I spend a lot of time playing Audiosurf, accumulating custom content, and chatting with friends, and those can s.uck me in just fine!

    Who else gets sidetracked easily/can't concentrate? And what do you do to help?

    2. Sometimes I really hate writing a super-plot-driven story. Especially one with a framing device that should require me to have planned and codified certain events and elements.

    So here's the problem:

    For non-readers, Eight Cicadas is mostly a linear story, but it's contained within a framing device. It seems pretty simple on paper: you're reading the story with its own in-universe author, who has experienced and written down everything already. And she has a few of her own "present day" adventures that the story cuts to. Thankfully her current adventures aren't causing me much trouble. I can roll with the punches on those.

    But the problem is that I really didn't plan Cicadas enough, but I inserted a lot of foreshadowing in those "present" chapters that...really doesn't apply anymore. Sometimes it got really egregious (like dropping that they're demons, then deciding that they're demonic aliens. Or referring to a character as the narrator's grandfather and then deciding that he'll be her legal father instead). Sometimes it was just not knowing exactly what kind of character the narrator really is, especially when she's in the grungy Cicadas world rather than adventures on her own terms.

    And it's really easy to edit these things, even retroactively. But I've done a lot of that since starting Cicadas, and I think my readers as a little tired of me not being able to leave things alone. It stinks, because I really want to change these things! Those chapters are trainwrecks!

    Thoughts?
    The demon whispers in my ear, the hurt has found a home in here.

    QtpcFhd.gif

    No Stars over Uptown | Linda's in Custody | Wanna play a game? Check out the 2018 Tournament Challenges at Carl's Forum
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,660 Member
    @InfraGreen and @AdamsEve1231 - Thanks so much for your stories and suggestions! They're helpful and inspiring! I also love that they are stories: I'm able to learn and understand more about both of you and your processes! With my current phase, it's helping me to look at it as shavasana--the resting pose, a time for integration and to allow the changes and shifts to take place. My current phase is not internally prompted: it's coming from the pressure of external astrological energies. I am happy to have a way to explore this so that rather than grumble about it or resist it, I can enjoy it (even in its temporary discomfort) and realize that it provided benefit and growth.

    Also, I'm finding that the slowing of the creative process allows what I do produce to have different depth than what I was writing when creative energies were flowing fast and furiously!
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,660 Member
    InfraGreen wrote: »
    And now my turn to vent!

    Yay! Does anyone else love listening to good, honest, authentic venting? I love it. It's one of my favorite things to do! I especially love that moment when the air is clear *right* after the venting session!
    InfraGreen wrote: »
    1. So last month, I graduated university. And at the moment, I'm living with my parents, hunting for jobs, and having few other duties. I thought that this would be a rare period of productivity for me, as I haven't had a free summer in years and used to have to balance my hobbies with classes and/or work. Instead, it's been the opposite. I started off my period of freedom by bringing Eight Cicadas out from hiatus and starting The Chains of Lyra. Making new material for them has been slow, full of re-doing, and I honestly almost never feel the urge to write with what I have!

    I can at least pinpoint why this is happening: I used to have a highly-structured life and now I don't, which doesn't help me with concentrating. I get side-tracked. But I spend a lot of time playing Audiosurf, accumulating custom content, and chatting with friends, and those can s.uck me in just fine!

    Who else gets sidetracked easily/can't concentrate? And what do you do to help?

    I feel you've pinpointed it so accurately: the shift in structure of one's life can really affect productivity. I used to teach full-time, and I'd have every summer off. I had such glorious plans for summers! I would write! I'd write entire novels! I'd paint! I'd paint dozens of canvases! I'd garden and bake and... I'd watch movies!

    What would I end up doing? Watching movies, baking, and gardening. Goofing off. Lots and lots and lots of goofing off. I'd hardly write and hardly paint. I needed the entire summer to be downtime, for I'd have worked so hard during the school year. Finally, I discovered that I was able to do a lot more with my writing and other creative hobbies while working than during off-time. Now, I work year-round, but I only work 30 hours a week at the main job, and the second job is just around 5-10 hours per week that I can do from home. This structure allows me to create more steadily all the time.

    Also, it's significant that you've just made a big life change. You've completed a major accomplishment, and you're in a border state--that in-between place after one phase has ended and the next has not yet begun.

    I've never been able to do much creative work when my life has been in transition. When I'm moving or switching jobs or anything major life-wise, it seems that most of my creative energy goes to my life, and I don't have the safe structure to do writing, painting, or other creative work. (Somehow, I'm always able to play musical instruments, regardless of life shifts--maybe because music, too, is transient...)

    So, I say a little down-time might be just the thing! You deserve all the goofing off that you want! You deserve a vacation and a rest and huge congratulations on having completed your degree! :)
    InfraGreen wrote: »
    2. Sometimes I really hate writing a super-plot-driven story. Especially one with a framing device that should require me to have planned and codified certain events and elements.

    So here's the problem:

    For non-readers, Eight Cicadas is mostly a linear story, but it's contained within a framing device. It seems pretty simple on paper: you're reading the story with its own in-universe author, who has experienced and written down everything already. And she has a few of her own "present day" adventures that the story cuts to. Thankfully her current adventures aren't causing me much trouble. I can roll with the punches on those.

    But the problem is that I really didn't plan Cicadas enough, but I inserted a lot of foreshadowing in those "present" chapters that...really doesn't apply anymore. Sometimes it got really egregious (like dropping that they're demons, then deciding that they're demonic aliens. Or referring to a character as the narrator's grandfather and then deciding that he'll be her legal father instead). Sometimes it was just not knowing exactly what kind of character the narrator really is, especially when she's in the grungy Cicadas world rather than adventures on her own terms.

    And it's really easy to edit these things, even retroactively. But I've done a lot of that since starting Cicadas, and I think my readers as a little tired of me not being able to leave things alone. It stinks, because I really want to change these things! Those chapters are trainwrecks!

    Thoughts?

    As one of your biggest fans, I love being in on the process of how you create. I love revisions! I love when you make changes. I love when there are inconsistencies! I love living works of art--I think that's what I adore most about blogs.

    I don't care if the "reality" that was in place in the beginning shifts, and now it's a different construct. I think that's fun! I don't care if it all turns out to be Jo's imagination or hallucination or past-life! Or even if Jo gets tired of telling the story and Sagebear tells it. I also don't care if you go back and endlessly rework what's come before.

    What I love is watching your process, getting in on that, reading what you create and how your mind thinks and how things and ideas change. I guess one of the things I love most about blogs are that we can publish and then revise. We're not stuck with fixed works, like traditional printing demands (of course, even Whitman endlessly revised Leaves of Grass!).

    Also, as you explore where your creative energy is now, in this phase of your life, you might find that revision is something that does fit in with your life and creative energy! Or maybe, having a few game-driven generations fits in! Who knows? As a reader, I'm not tied to having it linear. I don't care if we skip Franco's generation for now and spend more time with Jo or with intervening or even future generations--or even if we spend time with those alien demons! I love shifting and fluidity and change.

    I would be excited, too, if you did go back and make the changes and edits that you wanted to make! You could just do a post that summarized all the changes, with links to the revised chapters, and then if regular readers wanted to read them they could. It would be really neat insight into the creative process to be able to witness that.

    When I was in grad school, studying to be a teacher of writing, one of my mentors used to lament that we never got to see how writing was produced: We'd see the final, published work. But, because writing was often solitary, we never saw the revisions or the steps and changes that went on to create the work. This was in 1992, before blogs. For writers and students of the writing process, blogs are fantastic, especially if someone does what you're talking about--making those kinds of changes that writers need to make as their work takes shape. How fascinating for those of us following this process! How much we can learn about the putting together of a complete complex novel by being able to watch your process! I love it and I find that at least as fascinating as the actual work itself!
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • moonswirlsmoonswirls Posts: 2,350 Member
    *lies down on bench* well doc.. ya see... Wait, wrong room?...

    I guess i'll just ahve a cheeky vent while i'm here.

    For my whole life I've been living with my emotionally abusive mother, she knows I have a mental illness and continues to barge into my room without warning, making loud noises and yelling at me when it is known this sends me into an attack.

    But.. Because of the way my boyfriend sees her treating me. We've been talking about moving out. The only thing is that, the money just isn't there for us. I'm currently unemployed and he's a student on summer break. I'm applying for jobs in the care industry, and they're well paid but.. I can't help thinking maybe i'd get to live with him faster if i took back up my former job which was, heavily taxing both mentally and physically..
    I guess I just needed to have that off my chest.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,660 Member
    *lies down on bench* well doc.. ya see... Wait, wrong room?...

    I guess i'll just ahve a cheeky vent while i'm here.

    For my whole life I've been living with my emotionally abusive mother, she knows I have a mental illness and continues to barge into my room without warning, making loud noises and yelling at me when it is known this sends me into an attack.

    But.. Because of the way my boyfriend sees her treating me. We've been talking about moving out. The only thing is that, the money just isn't there for us. I'm currently unemployed and he's a student on summer break. I'm applying for jobs in the care industry, and they're well paid but.. I can't help thinking maybe i'd get to live with him faster if i took back up my former job which was, heavily taxing both mentally and physically..
    I guess I just needed to have that off my chest.

    **sits next to Anne**Hugs and more hugs**

    I hope that you find strength, courage, and grace as you move through this challenge. <3

    And, from a writerly perspective, I know that sometimes when I look at the challenges I go through with the eyes of a writer, it provides just enough space and detachment that I can feel a little peace. We can draw from our challenges in the Sims stories we tell--I know you've done this in the past, and it's added such depth and richness to your writing. Whenever I'm mired in deep challenges, a little corner of my perspective zooms out and looks on as a writer. Sometimes, that gives me space to breathe.
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • ValoisFulcanelliValoisFulcanelli Posts: 672 Member
    edited June 2016
    I love this idea for a thread. Thank you :) I have a lot of replies for those who have sat down on the bench thus far. Many of those people have since stood up and gone on their merry way, but this post is me running after them and going, "Hey! Wait!" :mrgreen:

    To that end: l-o-o-o-o-o-ong post coming up...

    @CathyTea On creative slowdowns:

    I call my creative slowdown times "refilling the well". When we experience creative bursts like you had during your first year of blogging, we can draw from our creative well so fast that it doesn't have enough time to replenish itself. Thus we find ourselves drawing up less and less water until we're down to the last few drops. We used buckets that were too big and we pulled them up too fast!

    Refilling the well takes time and it involves experiences. Just going out and observing things, making notes here and there - not necessarily even writing very much; just making notes - and allowing the water to fill back up to its previous level.

    My last creative slowdown (the one that The Madness of Mr Goth finally pulled me out of) lasted for four years. That's a long time for someone who has always said they were born to write to be refilling their well, but that's clearly how long it took for me.

    As to how I've profited from it, mainly I've rediscovered the joy of finding the words again. I've hovered on the cusp of sleep, with ideas for new (and future) chapters rolling around in my mind and forcing me to sit up and jot them down, or else I'll never nod off!

    Take time. Take notes. Take photographs. Refill your well in these next few months. And remember to pace yourself and use smaller buckets when you start drawing from it again :)

    @Rainydayz179 No, you're not alone! In many creative arenas that I've taken part in, the things I've worked hardest on and been the most excited about seem to get bewilderingly muted feedback, yet the stuff that I've knocked out quickly and offhand is raved over. I've never been able to explain it, and it is frustrating and dispiriting.

    The thing that I try to remind myself is this: On more occasions than I can count, I've absolutely loved a book, a movie, an album, a live concert. And then, within a few days, I've seen a review of the same thing that absolutely slates it. The reviewer thought the book's characters were weak, the movie ending was atrocious, the album was poorly engineered, and the live concert was marred by technical issues. I find myself wondering if I and the reviewer were even watching/reading the same thing!

    (The same goes, of course, the other way around. Something gets rave reviews and I thought it was a pile of utter tosh!)

    The old adage says "You can't please all of the people all of the time". To that we might add "or even some of the people some of the time". The thing to remember is that you are proud of what you did. You worked hard on that thing, and you know you did a darn good job, regardless of whether other people liked it.

    We're in an era now when writers can publish instantly online and readers can give (or not give) feedback. Like it or not, this is the insta-feedback era, and many of us (especially the younger generation, who have grown up in this era) pin far too much of our own happiness on what others say about our creative endeavours.

    Try to recall, each time this happens to you, that you're writing this story because you want to write it. I have a note pinned to the wall behind my computer that says 'When you get discouraged and think about stopping, remember why you started'. You're not writing it in order to get feedback; you're writing it because it's stuck in your head and you're so excited about it that you need to get it out and onto paper (or the internet). It's your baby, not theirs. You love it unconditionally, regardless of whether anyone else coos over it and wants to cuddle it ;)

    @BabyDollAnne Have you tried writing short stories? Or even sets of interconnected scenes that don't really have a plot but that still intertwine with each other? Tumblr might be a good place for you to write, since it's possible to create a set of characters/Sims that you love, and just post little scenes and slices of life for them there.

    Not every story needs to be long and detailed, and the fact that you have lots of ideas and what you feel as "no commitment" to any of them makes me think you'd revel in creating shorter works. Maybe give that a try for a while and see how you feel about it?

    I can't help you with your most recent post, but I wish you all the best in resolving that situation as soon as you can <3

    @DreamsInPixels Why not try a little experiment to help you let go of that need for approval? Each time you post a chapter, ignore your blog's stats page. Make a promise to yourself that you won't even click the link. While you will (obviously) be aware if nobody comments, you'll be freeing yourself from that (often obsessive!) stat-checking that we all do from time to time.

    Something that stood out for me from your post was this (bolding mine) -
    I think of (what I think is) a good story idea, plan it out, think no one is going to read it, set it up anyway, think it's going to be great, post it with excitement...and then get little to no views after one or two weeks. Then I get depressed and don't want to write anymore.
    Those bolded words are crucial, because - before you even start - you're setting yourself up for disappointment. And then, if/when nobody does read it, it's validating that feeling, thereby perpetuating the loop you're stuck in. If that is the only validation you feel you're getting from your writing, then - since you say you need validation - it will continue to happen, because you're seeking it, whether you're aware of it or not.

    Have you considered joining one of the reading circles (another wonderful idea from @CathyTea!) that are being set up on the forums? I think these are a great idea for SimLit writers who have few (or no) readers, so perhaps join one of those so that you can build up a regular readership and exchange of feedback.

    @AdamsEve1231 Oh lord, I look ahead to those dreaded big and overwhelming chapters and I quake in my boots! :mrgreen: The huge, dramatic, emotional end of my story is still quite a way off but I have it planned out in infinitesimal detail... and I'm still panicking that I won't be able to do it justice! I'm now at the point where I've decided I'm going to write it out before I need to, so it's out of the way (and so I can edit it and get it as near to what I hope it can be, given the time I'll have available to refine it). I also won't have its Sword of Damocles hanging over the chapters between now and then!

    That's sort of my Eat That Frog way of dealing with it, anyway...

    @InfraGreen -

    Point 1: There's never a perfect moment to write. I once thought it would be wonderful to go on a writing vacation. Just me, a gorgeous location somewhere out-of-the-way, and lots of paper and pens. Then I shook myself and said, "Yeah, that'll never happen. You'll spend all that time just lounging on the beach and watching the waves." And I would! I know myself, and that's exactly what I'd do.

    You sound like me: a hummingbird person. I recommend watching Liz Gilbert's talk about that. (I found a clip of the most important part, here.) You don't focus on one consuming passion; instead you flit from flower to flower, taking a little bit from here, giving a little bit to there. And that's just how hummingbird people are. While some people will say "Follow your passion!" others can't do that, either because they don't have a passion or because they can't focus on just one thing.

    But, as Liz Gilbert said so beautifully, the hummingbirds are the ones who cross-pollinate the world. While you have other things going on in your life, your writing becomes an important flower to pollinate, but when you have all the time in the world there are so many other flowers out there, you busy yourself with those ones.

    Point 2: This is one of the downsides to publishing-as-you-go online. Most long stories are published once complete, so the author can catch all of those things and set them right before the story makes its way into the world, but serialised stories run the risk of retconning, especially if they're not plotted out in great detail in advance.

    Is there any way that you could write the changes INTO the story, as opposed to changing them completely? Maybe the narrator thought her legal father WAS her grandfather, or perhaps she missed her real grandfather so much that she always referred to her father as "Gramps". Perhaps she's an unreliable narrator in some ways (those can be very forgiving to a serialising author, since you can excuse any "errors" as part of their unreliability).

    For myself, I don't need to sit on the bench right now, but I'm going to leave some cookies for the next person who does :)

    Edited: Typo. (I do my best proofreading after I've hit 'send'!)
    tfb.jpg
  • DreamsInPixelsDreamsInPixels Posts: 4,469 Member
    edited June 2016
    Second time I'm writing this comment since my phone decided to drop net while sending and I couldn't copy the message in time...

    @ValoisFulcanelli First thing I have to say is: Your story is the main reason I'm so obsessed with Gunther Goth. I read it ages ago and it was one of my favorite stories. I didn't know you were still around, so I definitely need to catch up on my guilty-pleasure the story.

    I do plan on joining a circle. In fact, it was the circle idea that made me come out of lurking, and less wary about writing. I just need to set up the blog and wait for bug fixes...or weather the storm of bugs and pray my saves don't get messed up beyond repair. I'd join one now, I'm just really hesitant about commiting to one without a story to contribute.

    As for not looking at the stat page, I have no idea why I didn't think about it myself, probably because I was obsessing over the numbers. I'm going to try it this go-around. Thank you for the suggestion! With that idea and my encouragement ideas, I feel more confident about this hobby than I did two days ago.
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  • ThePlumbobThePlumbob Posts: 4,145 Member
    @DreamsInPixels and @BabyDollAnne You know, I almost find it the opposite way - It's always so exciting to start reading a new story that's freshly out of the oven, so to speak. There's just something about new beginnings and seeing all the possibilities that could unfold! I reckon people are much more likely to read new stories that have only just started as it's a lot less commitment on the readers end.

    Take it from me, I've stuck with my story for a year, amd being at generation 9, I doubt I'll get many new readers since seeing all those chapters when you load up the story must feel so daunting! So think about the positives of having fresh story starts in terms of readership :)
  • friendsfan367friendsfan367 Posts: 26,141 Member
    @BabyDollAnne I know exactly how you feel. I swear people must just roll their eyes every time I start something new because I do it so often. I usually start off saying yet another challenge. Do you think that your failure to complete any of them is due to feeling that nobody is reading it?

    if people roll there eyes everytime i start again they might be cross eyed by now.i'ii tell you what i say about writing. if you love the story that will show then your readers will love it too.
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