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I think collaborative writing has ruined me. Or maybe I'm not really a writer. I mean, I say I love to write, but I have no discipline, and I never finish my stories, and I have a really hard time making myself just sit down and write unless I'm writing with someone else.

I love writing collaboratively because you get feedback and you get unexpected plot twists, and you get to share in the creative experience, and two heads (or three or four) are so much better than one. It's just endlessly exciting. But writing by yourself... that's lonely. I can sustain it for a while, but then I lose interest, and if there's a collaborative project to work on, I drop the solo one.

Of course when there's no collaborative project to work on, that's also lonely.

And when your usual partners are busy collaborating with each other and you're not? Hella lonely.

If I wish I were writing and there's no one to write with at the moment, the logical thing to do, I tell myself, would be to go work on something solo. But somehow writing alone feels oddly painful.

Or I could go find something different, different friends, a different collaboration to work on, but I'm picky as hell about my collaborations. I have ridiculously high standards, and I know it, and screw it, I'm entitled to them. It's just not fun if I'm not also aiming for perfection.

No matter how many times I take the Myers-Briggs test, I come out ENFP. Just a little more extroverted than introverted, but it's enough to mean that I crave interaction more than solitude. I don't like that about myself — it's a weakness and I'm ashamed of it — but I can't seem to change it. I'm only a little less introverted than extroverted, though, so that means I also need a good bit of down time, alone time, recharge time, and that confuses me, since I'm so close to being a properly introverted creative genius, but I miss the mark.

I understand the rest of my attributes. That N? Intuitive. 100%. Head-in-the-clouds, dreamer, theorist, imaginer, connect-the-dots, creative leaps, big-picture kind of guy. F? Feeling. Although that's another one where I'm only slightly more Feeling than Thinking oriented. But that's a matter of being smart and having been raised to value logic over emotion. The truth is, when push comes to shove, I might analyze something to death, but in the end I'll still follow my heart. And the P? It stands for "perceiving" but it really ought to stand for Procrastinator. 100% again. I love to start projects but often don't finish them. I hate to be locked into a plan too early, and chafe at rules and standards. I have a fun ethic, not a work ethic.

There must be some trick to it. Some trick that lets real writers feel satisfied working by themselves. And that gets them to not just start projects but finish them, and do all the hard work it takes to get them published. Some trick I could use on myself.

Also some trick to getting over needing other people to cheerlead and collaborate.

If you know what it is, please tell me.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 8th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
I am completely with you on the difficulty of writing solo. When I did write solo, it was because I had, effectively, NO life IRL. I had no friends to hang out with, no people to distract me from my inner dream life. And I wrote like a crazy person. (Most often when I shouldn't have been writing at all. One work I completed only when I was in a specific math class!) Now, with Mina, I have someone to share my headspace with, which it turns out has meant almost no more solo writing. I miss it, sometimes, but the alternative IS rather lonely.
Jan. 8th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
The only 'trick' I've heard is to make it into a job. You sit down at a certain time/set amount of time and just write. Over time, it gets easier and you get more productive.

I'm not very good at doing this. Once I find a good collaborative partner, I'm like you -- I much prefer to keep writing with them.

Good luck!
Jan. 11th, 2012 02:30 am (UTC)
I also just remembered a podcast by a handful of published authors giving tips on writing/world building/etc.

It might help, too - http://www.writingexcuses.com/
Jan. 8th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
This post makes me feel so much better about myself - you have no idea! I am a big extrovert who is also intrinsically motivated so I get bored with writing by myself a lot ( I will also just email unedited stuff to a couple friends and call it done no drive to edit & post). I have a good friend that we collab write in chat and don't post it but enjoy the heck out of it :) I thought of fallen leaves when we first started nearly 2 yrs ago

I find when I feel like you describe and my writing buddy is busy like she is now - I have a couple friends who aren't collab writing interested but we trade prompts via email or chat with various length responses or rules around them :) you get very fast feedback and I don't feel lonely or bored because its social too :) we always give positive comments every exchange and it's challenging! Sometimes if we are both busy the rule is one sentence only or paragraph- just depends :) another thing is we don't worry about posting them - we might but that's not the point.

Maybe that could work for you in some form or fashion?

Edited at 2012-01-08 07:14 pm (UTC)
Jan. 9th, 2012 06:38 am (UTC)
Well no wonder I like you so much! I am an INFP; we have so much in common!
Jan. 10th, 2012 12:08 am (UTC)
The ability to enjoy spending time with other people is NOT a weakness and is NOT something to be ashamed of. Sure it makes it hard to spend time alone, but...so? Lots of very introverted people have a hard time being alone all the time, too. Saying the need for interaction is a weakness is like saying the need for food and water is a weakness.

As for how to get motivated...probably treating it like a job really is the best solution. That's how we force ourselves to translate when we're feeling extremely unmotivated.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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