Motivation and descriptive writing?

edited August 2016 in - Writing Problems
I'm fairly new to writing and at times I can sit for hours and be able to write descriptively, but once that sudden jolt of motivation is gone I seem unable to write anything descriptive, sometimes when I'm really unmotivated it just becomes a list of dialog.

So anyway, dose anyone else experience this and if so how do you get around it?


  • Carry on. I think most would agree that you'll never reach a time when you ALWAYS want to write – there will always be time when you don’t want to, when you can’t, when the words seem horrible and pointless and AGGHH I’m not a real writer, I quit!

    But writing in every mood (angry, sad, happy, drunk [drunk is a mood, right?], motivated, unmotivated, lethargic, ecstatic) can be useful. You’ll be able to glean decent stuff from all of your sessions “moody” or otherwise.

    Write blocky lists of dialogue, write happy bouncy action laden scenes, write drunken puns into every second line…who cares, it’s only a first draft anyway. The important thing is to keep going. You can always completely cut the bits you’ve created when you’re “down in the dumps” if you fell there’s nothing useful there. Whether you feel it or believe it, writing when unmotivated still helps.

    There have been times when I feel vile, I don’t want to be anywhere near my novel, but I’ve scribbled down an idea so I don’t forget it, or a snippet of crappy dialogue that I’ll promise to tidy up later, and then another line, another idea, before you know I’ve bashed out a few thousand words or I’ve passed three hours plotting out some finer points of the ending of my latest WIP.

    When you’re unmotivated, it’s like seeing a huge pile of washing up waiting to be done…ugh. No way, not in the mood, CBA. The longer you leave it the worse it’s going to get and the bigger and mouldier the pile is going to get. So you force yourself to run the hot tap and squirt a bit of fairy liquid in the bowl. By the time you’ve got the pesky cutlery out of the way (damn you, last teaspoon that always hides under the suds!), and scraped last week’s lasagne off half the plates, you start to feel a little better. As soon as those awkward cups you can’t fit your stupid adult sized hands into anymore, you feel pretty damn good. And when you’ve wiped away the last of the crud, and rinsed the bowl out you feel damn proud of yourself! Hurrah, the crappy task is done! And you might even find yourself motivate enough to drag the hoover around…or write some more of your book :P
  • Hi JMS, and welcome to TB.
    You don't say what kind of writing you're doing, though fiction, clearly: short stories, or a novel?

    Too much description is to be avoided. In a short story there simply isn't room, and in a novel, less is more. Readers don't like description for its own sake: it has to have a purpose, and it's best to keep it short.

    Do you have a plan (however sketchy) for what you're writing? Do you know who your characters are, and where they're going? Dialogue is great for moving things along and for getting to know these people who are fairly hazy in your mind at first. It means you hear their individual voices. They may surprise you by wanting to do or say things that take them off at a tangent, but it doesn't hurt to follow and see where it leads - nor does it hurt to go back to a point where you can send them along the road you had planned. All part of the learning curve!

    You won't get it right straight away; but you will find that some of what you write is pure gold, even if the rest of that morning's output is fit only for the compost. You've got the drive, and the desire, but you need to have a goal to aim for. If you're into short fiction, try competitions. Even if you never send an entry in, writing to a deadline may prove constructive. Also, writing to a theme that you hadn't considered is good for you. And if you do send them in, who knows? You could win a prize - wouldn't that be great?

    Nothing you write is ever wasted, by the way. Even if you screw it up (or whatever the computer equivalent is) and chuck it in the bin, you do so because you're learning, and because your critical eye knows it's not quite right.

    So keep on writing and experimenting, but keep the descriptive passages to a minimum unless they are essential.

    Good luck!
  • b-r, people leave lasagne in your house? I'm shocked. Never happens here.
  • Or if you love dialogue why not write plays?!
  • I love writing fiction, it's just sometimes the words refuse to come to me.
  • Hi, JM.
    You could always try dabbling in different lengths - flash or short stories, for example. I always think you have to work up to a novel.

    Have a look for writing prompts in competitions/submission requirements and see if you can get inspired.
  • Working from short story to novel is like going from boyfriend to husband: the gig just gets tougher and tougher!
  • i find when I HAVE to write, ie there's a deadline, I start off and it's ghastly but I just carry on and the more you do the more you do and as soon as you are doing loads you get prolific, or at least able.

    I forgot a deadline earlier in the year, thought it was August but it was January the 1st - I wrote a third of a book (doing it with two others) in a week. I usually take months to write that much.

    You ARE capable. But just, well lazy. Most people are. It takes a special sort of person to apply themselves to something without anyone looking over their shoulder to make them carry on. I am just the same, my brain idles if left idle, it's very hard to get going without outside stimulation.

    One way of getting the brain working is going for a walk (take a pen and paper!) as ideas usually come, then.
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