I've been here a while now but I'm finding that the more I contribute to this exchange in a given week the less I feel like writing anything elsewhere in my life, does anyone else find that they experience writers block on other projects this way?

Edit: For the record I'm having a blast with the site I've just noticed a drop-off elsewhere and wondering if others are seeing/have seen the same thing.

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    $\begingroup$ Very, very related, might quite possibly be a duplicate: Is WB: SE killing stories? $\endgroup$ – user Sep 5 '17 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling Yeah that's one of the first meta-board questions I saw, while I'll agree that's it's slightly related his argument is that people are Worldbuilding instead of writing plot, characterisation, etc... I'm finding I'm Worldbuilding to the exclusion of writing at all. Also I'm just wondering if anyone else is having issues not attacking the usefulness of the site wholesale. $\endgroup$ – Ash Sep 5 '17 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, that one is rather more inflammatory than it needs to be (which is probably the reason for it being rather heavily downvoted). On the other hand, you have 168 non-deleted posts on Worldbuilding alone as far as I can tell, so I figure you definitely are doing writing... just a different kind. $\endgroup$ – user Sep 5 '17 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling I voted it down because it was a rambling mess of a question that didn't ask what it said it would. Part of coming here was that I wasn't working on my main projects that week, I've just been a little surprised by the fact that I'm still not working on them. $\endgroup$ – Ash Sep 5 '17 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ Good point; that really should have said one reason in my previous comment. $\endgroup$ – user Sep 5 '17 at 13:28

A lot of people who mainly answer questions use WorldBuilding.SE to take a break from what they are doing right now

The process of focusing on something else helps in relaxing and getting new insights to what you are really working on if you get stuck. This seems to be especially true for those people that enjoy answering questions. They tend to distract themselves a bit so that they can focus again on their real work after spending some time working on a completely different topic. See for example this answer to Why do YOU hang out on Worldbuilding?.

Many people use the site especially when they have a writers block

This one is especially true for people who are contributing by asking questions. They are working and working and working on their project - but they feel like they don't really can go forward. So they ask for help to get different insight into their problem and a new perspective.

Others tend to do nothing but read what they find interesting

Read this answer to Is a jet dragon possible? and tell me you didn't chuckle. Perfect to relax in my opinion. I love the site for stuff like that.

There is also a chat

I think I recommended the chat to you before on some occasions. If you feel like talking about - well, whatever you want to talk about - that is the place without so many rules. Often there are less people. It's not as active as you might be used to from normal chats, but sometimes we have interesting conversations. The humour of the people there often feels relaxing to me. Even if I only read the transcript or read what the others are discussing because I don't know anything interesting to contribute.

Others are weird...

I like to watch out for people with typos to edit their posts. It's relaxing to improve stuff. Make it better. Closer to being perfect. I like that.

And I keep an eye out for the Sandbox to help people with their drafts. Fixing grammar and wording. Stuff like that.

Why are you telling me this?

If what you are doing right now makes you feel blocked in any way - stop what you are doing. At least for a bit. Find something different. Some people would be stressed out trying to find something they can answer because they can't find anything. Others would be stressed out trying to bring their question into a suitable format because their questions are often "Too opinion-based". Again other people would be stressed out doing nothing but reading, needing the mental activity of doing something. Being in multiple active discussions at the same time in the chat when there are many people online at a given time can be tiring for some people, too. I would be stressed out if I wasn't able to fix typos when I see them. I hate reading wrong stuff when I know what the correct thing is.

What you are experiencing is pretty normal - when you haven't found the right mixture of activities yet.

Stop what is blocking you.

Find what you like and what helps you relax.

And remember: this is probably an iterative process, that will get changed over time and with a lot of doing stuff only occasionally when I feel like it. For example I only answer stuff when I love the question and have a great idea in the first moment. Not when I have to research too much. And that's okay.

  • $\begingroup$ I have found chat both confusing and frustrating to work out, this is, shock horror, my first forum experience, outside of Google mining answers from a couple of places. I will try to persevere with it at a later date at the moment I'm having a lot of fun but I've just found I'm not working on other things. $\endgroup$ – Ash Sep 5 '17 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Ash The chat is not great for everyone. Some people hate it, though I think it's often because they don't realize tricks such as "click on the little arrow on the right of a message to reply making asynchronous discussions easier" and "click on a profile to Hide Posts when someone is in a different discussion you want to ignore". As long as you are having fun I would say everything is fine. Maybe it's just that you spend so much time on WB that there is not enough left for other writing? Seems like a little balance problem that you might be able to fix in time automatically. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Sep 5 '17 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ There's an element of time and an element of being frustrated by my current core project anyway, which the Exchange is actually helping with. $\endgroup$ – Ash Sep 5 '17 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Ash If you have already been frustrated by your core project then it doesn't really feel like the writers block is because of WorldBuilding. It feels more like WB is a way to escape your normal writers block, which should be one of the first steps to try. Maybe Writers.SE could help you if it doesn't go away and you want to continure. They have a tag writers-block, though I don't know much about Writers.SE. Browsing the tag might be useful for you. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Sep 5 '17 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah I'm on there Writing too, they frustrate me more than I can say. The point I'm clearly not making well is that I'm not frustrated by that project anymore, in fact I'm keen to apply some of the material from here, yet I'm finding I'm still not keen to write away from here. $\endgroup$ – Ash Sep 5 '17 at 14:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Ash You are confusing me a bit here. There's an element of time and an element of being frustrated by my current core project anyway -> tip: do something else to find motivation again; I'm not frustrated by that project anymore, [...] yet I'm finding I'm still not keen to write away from here. -> tip: schedule an hour a day for writing on the project to get started again and reward yourself with a cookie. I'm not sure which is the exact problem as your last comments seem to contradict each other. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Sep 5 '17 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ yeah I'm not hugely clear on what the problem is either, I like the cookie idea though, that might be worth pursuing, especially if I want to write as more than a hobby I'll need a stable working mode. $\endgroup$ – Ash Sep 5 '17 at 14:07

It's very easy to procrastinate by posting on Worldbuilding when really you should be doing something else. So if you're spending time that you would normally be using writing instead posting on Worldbuilding then you will naturally do less writing.

The question you need to ask is whether you feel that the time invested is worthwhile (it feels like you do) even when it detracts from other things you think are worthwhile (there's the catch). Hopefully the broad knowledge gained from participating here will help you when you do get done with the procrastination :)

Everyone has to find their own balance in these things.


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