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My vision for the future is constantly changing- anyone got some advice?

613 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Llyralen
Hi everyone,
The title pretty much said it all but I'll expand a bit more- the ability to see possibilities and how those possibilities would make a domino affect of change is absolutely overwhelming me lately. It's been hard to choose a career, and the career I really want (to write novels) has been made so difficult because my novel. keeps. changing. It's driving me crazy. I've found some stability with a religious conversion, but that's helped about 10%. The rest of me is still chasing all these lines of thought and ideas and it's getting to the point that I see myself at 50 telling people "I'm a writer" and have all these discombobulated stories and they look at me like "yeah uh huh". I very clearly am not an Ni user haha, my brother's ENTJ and I'm in awe of how consistently and hard he works meanwhile I'm more like a moth or a butterfly. If I were a spider I'd have 10 abandoned webs and be studying other spiders at their work wondering what I'm doing wrong and how to improve.

TL;DR I can't hold any vision of the future for anything longer than a few days.

How the heck do you guys get out of this kind of rut? I can't be the only one who struggles with this, right. So how do you do it? How do I stabilize my writing process? What helps you to find stability and endurance??
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Read up on developing Fi, which is our Auxiliary function. It will help stabilize and give focus to your Ne.
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As someone who's written / finished... eh, 9 novels now?

Let your novel shape itself in its first, second, and third drafts. As you go back and reread/revise, you'll notice the stronger plot threads or ideas that keep coming back STRONGLY -- which means they're the right ones to go with. You can reshape the entire novel around these Better Ideas as you continually edit / work to make the entire novel stronger. I usually wind up rewriting a book at least 6 times, start to finish. Sometimes it goes through as many as 12 revisions. If you can't stick through and finish things / commit to working on one book at a time and stay interested through multiple revisions, you may want to find another dream. ;)

Another note -- find a good / solid day job that allows you time to write. Publishing is extremely difficult to break into, and most authors don't make that much money unless they somehow wind up on the best-seller list. For every million-dollar best selling author there's a million authors with one or two books that have not earned them enough money to be full-time writers. And if you indie publish (which will give you all the power over your manuscript), the odds are you'll need a day job.

Also, start writing down good ideas that want to distract you from your WIP and stick them in a jar. Commit to the book you're on, and don't start writing anything else. That way you'll be motivated to finish it. I also advise, to some degree, speed-writing -- and by that, I mean pound out a first draft in two months or so. Then you have something to work with / model / revise / pare down.
@angelcat This might be weird, but I've seen your posts on writing on here before and I was always really inspired and kind of full of awe at your determination and at what you've shared with your process, so it was really cool to just come on here and see you replied to my thread! Thank you and NaughyChimp for the advice, I will do my best to get more used to using Fi and the idea jar. I'm not sure how emotionally fulfilling I'll find rewriting that much, but I understand what you're saying and I feel like that's what I naturally am geared towards doing. I really like the idea of having the full thing outlined before I write, and although this has never worked before, I'm going to try again with it and make myself stick with it. Maybe my first draft won't be as sloppy as all my other first drafts that way.

I hope you guys are having a great night!
Have you thought about blogging / writing short stories as practice? A novel is... a lot of words. And requires a lot of revision. If you find it hard to stick to something in the long term, your talent may lie in shorter things.

I've never been able to stick to an outline. My Ne gets bored and throws in a secret passage behind the fireplace and a ghost in the attic and then the entire plot swerves in another direction. LOL
The title pretty much said it all but I'll expand a bit more- the ability to see possibilities and how those possibilities would make a domino affect of change is absolutely overwhelming me lately.
TL;DR I can't hold any vision of the future for anything longer than a few days.
How the heck do you guys get out of this kind of rut? I can't be the only one who struggles with this, right. So how do you do it? How do I stabilize my writing process? What helps you to find stability and endurance??
Not sure if that helps you directly in any ways but I try to explain how similar things work for me.

I believe this constantly changing view about the world around us and our thoughts is pretty much okay - otherwise we'd be some other type :) That's perfectly okay and we don't have to fight against who we are. Instead, we might want to learn how to take advantage of that. I can relate well to what you described but I haven't had exactly the same concerns by myself as you do. Don't know why's that - maybe because I'm always been quite Fi-heavy which somewhat grounds/balances those possibilities because it helps to choose paths you feel the best about?

I take similar situations something like this: using somewhat "fatalist / believe in the faith" attitude. It means actually that like you, I can't predict too where all the possibilities we might have in our heads, could lead to. Thus can't decide which one of them would be the best.

So what do I do then? Usually I just let the "game" play out without thinking much about the future possibilities and then just quickly adapt to the changes if I have to. Remember, this is one of our type's strengths right? :) We ENFPs after all aren't plan people, we're more like explorers or wanderers - so why not take advantage of that conciously.

Can't explain why's that working and sometimes it feels even a bit unbelievable but I've had enough proof in my lifetime that I can rely on this approach :) Usually right things tend to happen exactly in right time and right place when I need them the most. It feels like when there's an issue, there's always solution right ahead and quite quickly it makes the ends meet.

On the other hand, it's quite logical after all - if you don't have any plan written to the stones (our type could even fail to do so), it's hard to miss the optimal choices if you meet them as you're not just bypassing them because you didn't have a plan which said you have to go anywhere else, right? :)

Similar seems to work for writing too - if I have to write, I'm constantly changing the way my writing rolls out. When reaching to some decision point, I scan all the possibilities which fork at that point and see how I FEEL about any of those RIGHT NOW. Then rinse and repeat :) I never have full story fixed in my mind in linear way before starting to write it.

Of course, the story could be different every time I'd repeat the same approach but there's nothing wrong with that. Btw I had a lot of trouble at school time when I had to write essays because they teached to think about them in linear fashion. Once I discovered later in adulthood that writing is not a linear process but expanding ideas, there's barely ever a trouble with that.
Hi @saph ! This is an excellent question and since it was such a big deal for me I’ve pondered it a LOT and related questions as well. Maya Angelou says you sacrifice for any talent and that she was willing to sacrifice for writing... those are good words.

When I was 18 I could see myself doing 3 different things in life and had to choose.

1. Dietetics which meant I would have YEARS of chemistry and biochem and eventually be working to help people with their health. The counseling aspect and the specific knowledge really appealed to me. This all still appeals to me— I love research and people. Interaction with my patients feeds my soul. I love my patients and I love having knowledge that is actually highly specialized yet that can help people in many situations. The variety is awesome. Childhood metabolic diseases, diabetes, and eating disorders are 3 of my specialties. Once I chose this, I didn’t look back. I’m saying that by way of meaning I did completely commit and I needed to... that amount of chemistry and hard science takes a lot of commitment during school. But we ENFPs CAN definitely commit if it feels right for us.

2. I could have chosen to pursue art. I realized that I wanted this as a hobby. The problem is it is probably my biggest natural talent. I’m not very motivated in it though. Not like writing. Not like singing. Also, I realized a steady job in art would probably be teaching. I didn’t think that appealed to me, although now I realize that teaching is probably the funniest thing ever. I am on cloud 9 on days I teach classes.

3. Singing. Again, I worried that there wouldn’t be a steady pay-check. Music in college actually takes years since so many classes are 1 credit. Singing in public takes balls. It is actually kind of cut-throat for opera parts and all of it. You gotta really believe in yourself and be constantly promoting yourself. I didn’t have that at the time. I am not taking music composition and am doing more singing opera locally— which is really all I ever wanted. To compose and to sing such beautiful pieces that I do love without drama.

Anyway, the more you find out about what it is actually like IN the field, the better. In my opinion I think college is too expensive to get a degree in Psychology and then end up working at a computer business or something. If you get a degree these days it better be a profession. Also, I do strongly strongly advocate for people having faith in the thing they love most. For instance, if I had chosen music then I would be doing much more with music now, but I wouldn’t have gotten a steady pay check for the last 15 years and I have needed to supposed my family. But let’s try another for instance. What if I had realized how much I love teaching? Well then going forward in getting Creative Weiting degrees and teaching creative writing as a professor— that would have been awesome.

Art can still be a hobby, music can still be a hobby. And my husband is writing his book now while he checks people into the ER at our hospital.... so it has to do with what you want to do 8-10 hours per day and get paid for.

Sorry my in-box isn’t cleaned. I’d love to talk more. I will clean it tonight.

Also @angelcat. I’m always super grateful to hear about your writing and your process and am awed by your commitment as well. I read what you said to my husband since his book is rapidly changing in the way you said through finding more important plot lines and he has been saying “My book is changing so much, when am I ever going to get done?” But it’s a much stronger book than before! Anyway, thank you!
So the planning thing lasted a day! And then I figured that I felt so unhappy with it because I was going against my natural rhythm. This morning I wrote by the seat of my pants and it was great. Like pulling teeth, but I'm so much happier just after forty minutes of picking it up again. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and sharing your experience!

Exploring a story is so much more FUN.
@Llyralen That is such a good quote. I think it's the essence of what you all are saying, and maybe it's worth it to sacrifice and push myself through long-term revisions of a story as long as something good comes out at the end. I really appreciate you sharing your experience of choosing dietetics and your thinking with keeping singing and art as your hobbies. Psychology is something I've always gone back to, I've really liked the idea of doing it at a doctoral level and with a focus on counseling rather than clinical. It seems like every time I put myself out there socially, I meet wonderful people who feel so broken and I would love to be able to actually help them. It means so much to me. But I also need a steady paycheck, and I don't like how elite the profession is. It bothers me when so many people in a profession act like it's SUCH a hard profession and only the very coolest smartest strictest people can succeed in it. There are all kinds of people, and we'll all do the things we want in our own way. So yeah, right now I'm in a finance program and I got an email from my school about the government working with the disability resource center to help disabled students find government jobs that will accommodate them. I'm really interested in trying that out even if it just leads me back to psychology. I honestly would love to hear about your experience teaching! Another thing I was thinking was being an English professor, but I'm not sure how much satisfaction I'd have because I wouldn't really be helping struggling people at all or making people's lives better, it would just be all about story and composition and whatnot.

It's so nice to be part of this community! I love coming on here and talking to all of you. I hope everyone's enjoying their day! :heart:
Have you thought about blogging / writing short stories as practice? A novel is... a lot of words. And requires a lot of revision. If you find it hard to stick to something in the long term, your talent may lie in shorter things.

I've never been able to stick to an outline. My Ne gets bored and throws in a secret passage behind the fireplace and a ghost in the attic and then the entire plot swerves in another direction. LOL

So true.

@saph I've written a novel. I think it's now at 92,000 words so I can throw in some feedback on the experience.

With publishing. Don't expect to just have your Novel printed in a year. It took me from 2013 to 2017 to finish it. Three and a half years. At the time I stopped I think I was around 82k words. That was constantly stopping to check all my facts. If you're writing a historical novel in the 1820s about America, you've better get the facts right. If I wanted to mention a recipe in my novel or herbal remedy I would have to think, is it available in America? It was fun researching all of it but man that is the one reason for all the delay. It was a lot to research just on historical characters, add in historical botanical, historical animals, species of insects, the economics of the past, verbal terms, describing their languages as in dialects, learning the Atlantic slave trade, plantation crops used in each state, the laws around the states, and not to mention decorum between a lady and gentlemen. Like one of my characters is a mountain man and did beaver hunting. I now had to learn how to do beaver hunting in 1820. What did they wear? What did they smell like? What did they eat? What was the material their clothes were made of? What were the traps made of? It's a lot of research. Interesting fact I found out, the British accent as we know it today was not around in 1820. It was an accent that came around later for the upper class to separate themselves from the lower class. The British sounded more like northeastern Americans. I was shocked by that. All these historical movies based in the 1820s having the British sounding soo British is just wrong. I just pointed that out because my very British main female who gets transported into this time period sounds very off to everyone around her. No one has ever heard of her accent. It was fun writing that tid bit in.

Once you have the novel finished then work on a query letter. This is what you send out to literary agencies. Don't think you can go straight to a publisher without the agency going through them because it will end up in the trash. Once you land your agent and find one to work with you then expect to do a revision on your novel because you will have your manuscript be viewed by their reviewers. This is the Revise and resubmit stage of a novel. Meaning the editor thought I had something, the reviewers agreed they just want you to fix things to make it more. I was asked to add a lot. Which then I edited my novel for another 7 months fixing the issues. This was after waiting three months for an agency to take a chance on me. I sent my novel out to 25 agents, all of them said no but one. Fast forward to now. Now is the publishers turn to ask for edits after the typesetter for production. Meh, I'm there. It's been a long process. The check you will receive as an advance from the publisher is only going to be between 2500 to 25000. 25k is extremely rare for new authors. I've been explained to that I don't earn royalties until my novel makes that much money back and they don't take off the sales price. They give you a % of your sells that calculates up but you won't get royalties until after that is reached.

I have a lot of unfinished novels on my shovels that I've written, collecting dust in my internet database. This was the first novel I felt compelled to finish. I'm not the greatest with grammar or technical writing so I had a lot of help from my ISFJ best friend and husband INTJ but my creative side is solid. The one thing I realized with published authors is they never gave up. If somehow in the process this book gets shelved, then I'm ok with that because I'm determined that I have something. I'm going to be a persistent little gnat about it too. I love my Te strengthening. My Te didn't start shinning until I was in my thirties so it's ok if you can't focus to finish until your older but one day it will be there.

It's also ok to be in a rut. Again, I didn't find my center till I was thirty-four, after that, I just exploded. I've been featured in over 100+ magazines with my creations. You'll find it and if it's multiple subject fields that's fine too. Right now I'm thinking about going back to college and to focus on mechanical and electrical engineering for civil planning on a better transporting system. ENFPs are meant to dream and one subject is just not enough for us. This is completely ok. Just shine in the subjects you are interested and people will start to notice.
@NIHM you’re now connecting with me big time. I research the heck out of my historical fiction and it’s actually what I love most now, so now I have to get back into just writing.
@saph. I can definitely see you being a psychologist or counselor/therapist and I do think that would work SO well with ENFPs. The variety in the people and a person needing your help right there... that’s exactly the kind of work that makes me very productive. I think I get more good out of a therapist, honestly. Psychologists do some counseling, a lot of diagnosing and then usually pass people to therapists. They need Masters degrees. I’ve thought about going back and getting a 2nd master myself in counseling. See what you think... it’s not as elite either and very focused on the person-in -front -of -you’s needs.
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