Speaking of hiatuses, I wondered what's the longest you've went without writing? How did it make you feel? Did it take a while for the writing groove to come back or did it feel like no time passed at all?
I always feel like shit if I don't write anything for even just a few days. Actually writing, though, is still a painful process for me, so I can't really stand to do it in huge, binge-writing sessions. I have to take it in increments. Haha, it's kind of a terrible catch-22, I guess. It hurts to write. It hurts to not write. But it feels pretty spectacular after I "stop" writing. So at least there's that.
12 years. It really didn't change much, since I didn't know what I was missing.
I find it really hard to break from writing completely. I'm always pondering future projects, working out kinks in stories, percolating ideas, talking about projects, editing, redrafting, planning...
Usually when I take a hiatus, I spend maybe a week not putting words down, then get going on something. It might be something completely different to my serial, it might be related, or it might be trying to get ahead with posts.
Sometimes a change really is as good as a rest, and writing something different (subject, genre, format, or even editing/rewriting something) can be a good break from what you're writing most of the time. It's also nice to get the chance to try something new and see what happens.
George it's hard to find the balance isn't it?
Kess addiction is a good way to put it. If I'm not drawing or writing, I just don't feel human somehow. I was all hyped to write book 2 of my serial a few weeks ago, but maybe I'm burnt out atm? I think I'll just start on that gender swap fairy tale thingy I've been mulling over.
Thanks for the replies guys~
I just realized "Diggory" has been on hiatus for nine months. I've written snippets of it and other projects, but nothing has been sustainable. I work midnights, sleep during the day, and spend time with my 5 kids in the evening. I am reapplying to my master's program and guest preaching on weekends as much as possible. I don't know when I would have time to write, other than in the back of my mind, which is near constant.
But seeing that it has been nine months makes me weary. It aches to see "unfinished, with no recent updates" appended to the WFG listing for my story. It doesn't say "updated nearly daily for almost five years" or "over 350 chapters in more than 10 completed story arcs" - but "unfinished" is accurate and kind of haunting right now.
I've had long periods where the writing has slowed down, but think I've always had something on the go since I was about 18... so 12 years? The current period is probably my longest, most sustained run of work though.
...writing is antisocial. It's as solitary as masturbation. Disturb a writer when he is in the throes of creation and he is likely to turn and bite right to the bone... and not even know that he's doing it. As writers' wives and husbands often learn to their horror...
All heinlein quotes. Heinlein was often quoted as saying that he couldnt stop writing. I'm the same. If I don't write SOMETHING, i start getting a particular stabbing headache, have trouble concentrating, and stop dreaming!
Wow, this is extreme!
Is having someone read and enjoy your work part of the compulsion?
Just wondering how many writing addicts' works there are out there, never seeing the light of day, except maybe for a few friends or family members.
I wish I had my copy of "Have a Nice Day! A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks" with me. Mick Foley said much the same about writing being an addiction, though I don't have the quote on me. In his case, he was flying back from a match (I think the one where his ear was torn off in Germany), and was writing this stuff longhand (broken typewriter, didn't know how to use a word processor, didn't like the ghostwriter they assigned him). When he got back, he felt so energetic and ready to continue writing that his wife thought he was on drugs.
As for me, I don't know. I wrote a lot for college and didn't enjoy it so much, but then my major was all about writing so I did it. Thinking about writing as an assignment where I need to get through certain points has helped me with serial writing, too. Very handy on days when you don't feel like it but a deadline is breathing down your neck. I did some minor stuff on Jim's site and on Wildbow's without it being a big deal, though eventually, after people kept asking about it, I did indeed start. Since then, I've had maybe a week break at the most back when I had a back log.
Some days I like it, some days I don't. I love being the guy who makes liquid shoot out of people's noses, though.
I've always been creative. When I was a kid, I'd draw, and I'd play 'imagination' with my little brother. My mom would take us places and people would be amazed and curious because we were so content to just sit somewhere and talk quietly. I'd tell a story while my brother made the choices for the protagonist. I read a lot, I'd retain ideas, I'd pick ideas I liked and develop then or spin them into different shapes. I can't think of a time where I didn't have something at work in my head. My dad has recently remarked about the time I was on a ski trip with him & my relatives for March break and I was just drawing pictures and conceptualizing characters one after another, going through an entire pad of paper.
In middle school, I was still drawing but I couldn't draw well enough to convey the ideas I wanted to convey (even after art classes), my brother had stopped playing 'imagination' with me, and I was going a little crazy. I had ideas but nowhere to release them, and it was sort of manifesting as me being a total 'spaz' or 'cloudcuckoolander'. Daydreaming, staring off into space, doodling in the margins of my books when I was in class. Disconnected from everything. Doesn't help that I was deaf and sorta couldn't see, but yeah.
On top of it all, I was pretty miserable. Disabled kid who wasn't getting enough help, needed glasses but I'd cheated the vision test so I didn't have to wear them (and couldn't see people's faces or the blackboard), was ignored by just about everyone, parents were divorcing, etc. I was prompted to write when I had to write a myth for school and people liked it enough that they talked about publishing it as a children's book. I wasn't actually a fan of it, but the attention sort of gave me permission to start writing as a way of venting. It became an emotional outlet. I'd heap abuse on my protagonists in a horror piece. I think my outlet was healthier than some.
It's hard to mark any times or dates where I did and didn't write, because it's a very blurry line at times. I'd go from writing a story idea or ten to outlining video games based on the story concept to drawing or doing bullet-form worldbuilding, and there wasn't much rhyme or reason. I've got shelves of notebooks filled with mishmash ideas and segues like these that nobody has ever really looked at. Now, being old enough that I don't have a choice but to call myself an adult, I still do that, if in a somewhat cleaner, more organized fashion. Dungeons and Dragons homebrew, outlining concepts and filling in details for video games I'd make if I had the ability, a little dabbling in art here and there, and writing of course.
I'd say the longest I went without writing might have been four to six months, at some point during the 'drought' period, where I was in my late teens/early-mid twenties and couldn't seem to get a story past the five page mark.
Whaaaat? Wildbow likes heaping abuse on his protagonists? That's just so unbelievable. I don't see it myself, but then I'm too busy being an intelligent donkey.
Not to worry, Gecko, I've grown out of it some in the past decade and a bit.
Longest period without writing... 24 years? Considering I only started a year or so ago.
Within that year, I had one long patch of about a month at the longest without doing any writing bar editing the chapter before posting. Motivation just didn't find me. I enjoy writing, but it has to feel natural or it feels like work and I just start doing the bunch of other things I have to draw my attention.
I find I write in bursts of frantic energy that just... appear. It makes the bi-weekly schedule difficult any doesn't work well with plot-planning, meaning I like to have a long buffer I can just dump without having it posted.
Writing is a natural part of my life. Since college I have been doing some form of it almost every day -- whether it's writing essays, blogs, journals, roleplay, stories, fanfiction, etc. Sometimes the proportions shift. Some years I've had no time to write anything creatively because it's mostly been writing at work or school. Then you come home and have other things to do and there goes the writing.
Maybe two weeks (vacation) is probably the longest I couldn't write... but I did jot down notes and daydream about what I'd do next. (On hiatus between serials I was writing random scenes and some stuff that I just didn't bother cleaning up /couldn't figure out how to make work in context of posted writing.)
Art is the one thing I've totally dropped the ball at and have, at times, felt little interest in doing. Not sure what happened other than I don't feel too inspired at the moment or all that interested in digital work? Writing is fun because it's portable. When I really hate sitting at my desk, I can take my phone and wander off somewhere and touchtype on google docs. Or I can lie down on the couch with a laptop and curse at Olympics coverage while drafting dialogue...
Doing art is not portable anymore for me . It's become equated with being chained to my desk. So frustrating.
I don't know if I've ever gone a significant amount of time not writing. My mum taught me how to write when I was very very little, before I ever went to school. She didn't teach me very well as I was blown away by the idea of spaces between words when they brought it up in Year 1. But I still have the little notebook with probably the first story I ever wrote. It's a thrilling tale about a puppy who was best friends with a pony, written in pink felt-tip pen as one very long word. All through school I was stealing printer paper (y'know the cool old foldable reams with the holes on the side?) and scribbling stories and accompanying drawings all over them during the breaks. I was always the most excited kid in class when we had creative writing assignments.
In middle school I started writing what I thought was my life's work novel. It wasn't. But that was around for a few years in a few different variations. Then I started roleplaying and that basically became my obsession for a very long time. I liked roleplaying through high school and college since it was something I could only do in short installments between my otherwise busy life. I'd take a 20 minute study break to write a roleplay reply and then I'd have to wait for my partner. It was impossible to get caught up in writing for hours on end. Roleplay also held up after college because I could do it on my lunch break. And that was how I met my Caelum Lex co-author. And here we are.
So I don't think I've ever really stopped. Maybe a month or two here or there. But even when life is cripplingly busy (as it often is), I'm always thinking about characters and situations and plotlines no matter what. Especially as I commute 10 miles in LA traffic to and from work...Am I the only one here who gets all their best ideas from commuting? I can't be the only one...
Interesting thing though, I can totally relate with SgL about dropping the ball on art. Perhaps because it's more time consuming? Or maybe less satisfying? I don't know, but I distinctly stopped drawing outside of class through my entire college career and even after. It's only illustrating CL that got me back into it. Maybe it's because the art, at least for me, I dunno about you, is just an extension of the stories. So in some sense, it's more superfluous. Or maybe it's just way easier to stop doing it.
Personally I don't think I'd be able to put a time-stamp on it, because it depends on what you classify as writing. Whenever I'm not writing (words), I'm writing music.
Since I started my serial, though, I did go on a four-month hiatus. When I started back up again, I was a much better writer than when I'd stopped. Why? Because I spent it reading. I read a lot of stuff in the format- when I started writing, I'd read almost nothing in the serial format. This really helped me get a better grasp on the pacing, which was a serious struggle for me before.
The biggest problem I found was that I'd forgotten stuff about my characters. For example, I recently was informed that one of my characters only had one eye, much to my surprise. I checked, and sure enough, when he was introduced he only had one. That's one thing to be careful of, because inconsistency is surprisingly easy to fall into.