Why do I want to keep detailing my story but never writing it?

I spend all my time coming up with details, making mood boards, detailing characters, creating new bits and pieces, and god knows what else, but I never actually want to write the story. I love doing all these little things and will spend hours upon hours writing pages of information but when I go to actually write the story I just immediately don’t want any of it.

I’ll even write a chunk or two scenes, not in the actual writing voice but in an idea kinda way (No POV but like an overview of it), and get heavy into the detail but actually spending time writing the full story?- Not a chance. I’ve been working on this for over 3 years now and I’m 7 chapters into it.

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i totally feel you .___. i feel like i hype up a story so much of how i want it to be in my head but when i get to actually writing it out, it feels like it never lives up to what i hyped it up to be and then i just start to hate it. i always write a first chapter and then when i get to the second i’m ALWAYS stumped like ??? i have 1o230129939 first chapters, and nothing else.

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If I would have the same amount of story writing as information writing, I’d have three books written.

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I feel like that sometimes.

I have been working on Tales of Alterra for at least 3-4 years and I still can’t figure out how I want to properly write things. I switch from characters and plots so much it is pathetic. I am working on an anthology that is going smoothly, but I still feel like it is not enough. In my mind, my world of Alterra is massively vast far as the worldbuilding/lore/history. I really want to go far with this story and it is upsetting when can’t figure out a good plot and great characters to place in the world.

I don’t know if I am making much sense, but that is how I feel sometimes.
Some days are easy, but most days are hard. It makes me wonder if I will finish a novel set in the world of Alterra.

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When you reread the seven chapters you’ve already written, do you feel like “Omg I love this story!” or is it more like “Argh, I totally hate this so far!”

If you love what you’ve written, you just need to maintain momentum, maybe by creating a writing schedule and doing your best to stick to it. Or maybe you need a quieter place to work, where there are no interruptions. It also might help to outline your book from where you left off.

If you hate what you’ve written, you may need to analyze the parts that make you cringe and figure out how to fix those parts before you go any further. There are tons of YouTube videos on how to fix various things in a book that could help you.

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I love it. I just work 40 hours a week cleaning a hospital and frankly I have to be inspired by something to write. Something like Bridgerton or perhaps just a photo. I’m such an anxious writer, battering all over the place.

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There’s multiple reasons, but the one all of us fear is:

  1. You aren’t a writer.

Honestly, if you write at all, you’re a writer, period. Now, fewer of us are authors with finished works, and even fewer are “of worth” (whatever the hell that is).

But the real culprits are:

  1. You haven’t found what works for you.

I’d you don’t have a method that works with your particular madness, you’re going to be easily frustrated.

One of the things I’m very strong on is adding layers to other’s work as a sounding board because I do some of what you’re stuck on.

  1. You haven’t found the threshold of motivation to push you past your lack of working method.

Not everyone has something that works for them. One of the big things that @JohnnyTuturro and I work on is finding something that keeps us going because #2 is plain elusive for both of us. Getting work done is like trying to hold a bushel full of eels individually. (I’m plain in rebellion right now, myself and went “eff it, I’m a mindless reader” right now".)

But the biggest thing to remember is:

  1. Obtaining the goal is not all it’s cracked up to be.

For example, I’m a published poet. As in, a single poem of mine has been sitting in a buyable book for about 30 years.

But this is the down side:
A. I was in the 4th grade.
B. I have never had any success with poetry since.
C. I find myself writing limericks because I’m a washed up has been poet.
D. My attitude about working on anything that is less than what I achieved as a 10 year old child is tinged with this song’s attitude:

Now, it’s not really that dramatic, but anything I’ve seen is that there’s very rarely an “I have arrived moment”. There’s always an inadequacy behind the next curtain.

So, my best advice for anyone is:

  1. Learn to appreciate what you have achieved so far.

Honestly, most people give up if it’s not easy and immediate. That tenacity counts for something. Take some pride in it.

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Because actually writing is harder than all of those. That’s my guess.

The thing about writing is that it’s not just enough to write details or that this happened or that happened—well, if you want to write well at least. To write, you have to not only detail and describe, but do so in a way that’s engaging. You don’t just put a bunch of scenes in a book, but do so in a way that they form a cohesive plot driven by cause-and-effect rather than a bunch of events happening one after the other. It’s harder than it looks, and I guess that’s why you’re not writing. It takes more effort to put out a single chapter than to brainstorm info.

Either that or you’re a heavy procrastinator like me. I’ve barely written lately and that’s largely because I’ve procrastinated on writing by doing other things. You making mood boards and doing other things can be a form of procrastination on writing the actual story.

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There’s a difference between coming up with a story and writing. Writing is probably the hardest part and it’s very easy to come up with procrastination excuses. Sometimes you have to force yourself to sit down and just do it and force yourself to write. But, yeah, it can be pretty hard to do that

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Imagining is easy. Writing is hard.

I have so many wisps of ideas just floating in the ether. But then I have to bring them down to earth and organize them into something coherent. That’s hard. I look at what I’ve written and it just doesn’t measure up to my ideas. I have a library’s worth of deleted stories.

You do have seven chapters written, so congratulations. Most people don’t get that far. How do you feel about the story?

Is there anything you do to get inspired? I find writing sprints help me. Just 10 minutes of focused writing and then I can stop. Sometimes prompts can help as well.

When I’m in the writing zone, it’s incredible. But it sucks to be in a writing slog where I feel like I’m wading through molasses.

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Writing is hard, and the hard truth no one wants to hear is that you may not want to write but just come up with ideas. It’s easier to do that but never actually put effort into it. There’s a difference between liking a story enough to create an idea to disciplining yourself to actually write and get it done.

The worst part of this? The majority of people out there who want to write never do. The majority who call themselves writers actually never finish a book. Very few writers do. This is because writing isn’t something that you can only get inspired to do. Waiting for inspiration or motivation is not the best idea because that’s not going to finish your book. Unless you’re okay with taking five, ten, even twenty years to finish one single novel. But I don’t think many are…

If you want to write, if you want to finish a project, you have to sit and force yourself to do it. Otherwise, you’re in the category of enjoying the idea of writing, not enjoying writing itself. And that’s okay. Not everyone can or should write because of that. But if you’re determined enough to want to write, then don’t make excuses. Just do it.

There are plenty of writers who can crank out a novel and still live busy lives. People who work full-time, are full-time parents, go to school full-time, etc. It’s not easy, but when you make time and create a schedule for yourself and force yourself to do it, you can get it done.

I went from writing nearly every day because I didn’t work or go to school to only writing on the weekends because of my full-time job. And sometimes, I skip weekends if I’m busy with family. But I take deep breaths and try to catch up on the next session. My current project has been in the first draft process for three years because of this. But since last year, when I finally got back into the routine, I’ve been making headway and am almost finished with it. And yet, despite being exhausted—mentally and physically—I still try my best to get 200, 500, even 1,000 words in whenever I write. I stay up super late to get it done.

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I like the Lawrence Block method of setting a quota. For me that’s 3-5 pages a day, but usually I end up writing 10. The rules are simple: just make that quota. What you put down can be prose, outlines, ideas…eventually you’ll end up writing prose. Everything is allowed. Try your best not to self-edit, just get the words down and don’t be too critical of yourself. I prefer to do this by hand because I’m less critical of myself when I write in my notebooks whereas I can’t seem to get the curser to move otherwise, and I’ve really enjoyed doing this over breakfast every day. I really haven’t skipped a day in like a year. You get so used to it that you don’t even think about it when you sit down with your notebook and start writing. And soon enough you’ll have a completed draft.

This method may not be the right solution for you, but I wanted to suggest it because it’s really helped me out of a similar rut that you described.

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There’s just something about the brainstorming process that makes it feel amazing, but then when you get to writing it everything just flops. You have to try really hard in order to get some writing done, so I feel this on a spiritual level :sob:

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