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Old 2014-02-03, 20:38   Link #1
EscapeReality
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Kazamatsuri City
Age: 18
Creativity, information, conversation...

I noticed that I can't come up with anything original in speech. I read pretty extensively...sometimes I spend a few hours a day just going through Wikipedia and reading articles that get my interest, I find that I can never "activate" that information for use in conversation or make some insightful connection. Whenever, I read the comments on YT, I'm always somewhat awed by how natural and wholesome people sound. My brain is already confined in some pattern, and when I read these comments, I know that I would never have thought of something in that way. My talking mainly consists of cliches, memes, or figures of speech that I've read in some witty online article. Or I just end up saying the obvious. It's been a while since I made a really fresh joke. I'm just wondering, how I can change this, so I don't have to sit in a chatroom feeling inadequate and browse through my rather limited index of choice phrases. I'm not a witty person by default, and people do tell me to "be myself", but honestly I get bored by myself and I think I would be happier if I could actually make genuinely innovative conversation.

Do you have any advice
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Old 2014-02-03, 21:10   Link #2
TinyRedLeaf
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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I'm often amazed by some of my old posts in AnimeSuki. I find myself thinking, "How on earth did I manage to come up with all of that stuff?"

My advice to you is not to over-think the issue. Just be yourself. You shouldn't be trying so hard to make yourself appear interesting. Be interesting. Why do the things you read about matter to you? Or do you think they matter just because others think they are?

When you're true to yourself, ideas will come naturally.
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Old 2014-02-03, 21:19   Link #3
Wild Goose
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I find that reading a lot, and voraciously, helps.

Read all sorts of genres and read good authors. Watch the BBC. Keep an eye out for shows that make a habit of clever conversation.

And don't stress too much. Just relax, it'll flow smoothly.
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Old 2014-02-03, 21:26   Link #4
EscapeReality
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Kazamatsuri City
Age: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
I'm often amazed by some of my old posts in AnimeSuki. I find myself thinking, "How on earth did I manage to come up with all of that stuff?"

My advice to you is not to over-think the issue. Just be yourself. You shouldn't be trying so hard to make yourself appear interesting. Be interesting. Why do the things you read about matter to you? Or do you think they matter just because others think they are?

When you're true to yourself, ideas will come naturally.
The problem is that being myself, when communicated to my brain, means being a lazy thinker. Say, if I'm trying to write a short story. I can simply sit down and let my thoughts flow onto the page, and I know that they are the things that matter to me at that moment, and yet I know that I could have done better. The same goes with a chat. Most of the time, I simply don't have anything to say, and this would be my natural condition. I'm being myself, yet I am irritated because I am somehow, I don't know, acutely aware that there is untapped potential, that I have the power to not bore everyone to death. I'm not trying to put on a show or everything, but I feel like I am exposing a very limited portion of my whole personality and experience, when I just try to "be myself".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Goose View Post
I find that reading a lot, and voraciously, helps.

Read all sorts of genres and read good authors. Watch the BBC. Keep an eye out for shows that make a habit of clever conversation.

And don't stress too much. Just relax, it'll flow smoothly.
Regardless of what I read and watch, I'm still simply an absorber. I can memorize the patterns of speech, the antics, the vocabulary, but that isn't originality still. Right, talk is the cumulative expression of everything I have learned, but I feel like I'm lacking that personal extension. Can I create something that is more than the sum of the parts? Frankly, everything I say sounds plagiarized as heck.

Last edited by EscapeReality; 2014-02-03 at 21:33. Reason: Consolidate double post
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Old 2014-02-03, 21:57   Link #5
TinyRedLeaf
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeReality View Post
The problem is that being myself, when communicated to my brain, means being a lazy thinker.
You're only 18. At least, that's what your profile says. Far too soon to declare yourself a "lazy thinker".

Like good whisky, good ideas take time to mature and acquire a unique flavour. There's no rush. It's one thing to read a lot, but it's quite another to experience things firsthand. Personal experience is the key ingredient for turning thoughts into insight. And you won't gain it by fussing about it. Live fully in every moment, and always be aware of what's going on around you.

Don't just look. See. Put yourself in the shoes of people around you. Imagine what it might be like to walk a mile in them.

Don't lose sight of the big picture. Often, when focusing on individual problems, we end up navel-gazing. Things don't happen in a vacuum. Always keep the context in mind, and you'll be in a better position to appreciate why events unfold the way they do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeReality View Post
Regardless of what I read and watch, I'm still simply an absorber. I can memorize the patterns of speech, the antics, the vocabulary, but that isn't originality still. Right, talk is the cumulative expression of everything I have learned, but I feel like I'm lacking that personal extension. Can I create something that is more than the sum of the parts? Frankly, everything I say sounds plagiarized as heck.
I talk to myself all the time. Aloud. (But, of course, out of earshot. You wouldn't want others to think you're crazy. )

It helps immensely, because it allows you to develop your own "voice". I don't mean your actual voice, but your internal one, the one you hear inside your head. By giving voice to your private thoughts, you force yourself to find concrete words to express abstract ideas. Over time, you'll train yourself to think with clarity.

And with clarity of thought, comes clarity of writing.



One more thing: I don't know how it is for other writers and creators but, for me, nothing terrifies me more than a blank screen. I've got a head full of ideas, but I can't get them out because I can't think of the first line to write.

I've since learnt, by necessity, how to deal with that. It's all about knowing your audience and your story. Imagine you've got a story to share, and all you have is one sentence — just one — to tell it with.

What will you say?

Get that right, and the rest will come naturally.



Postscript: Always re-write. Good writing never comes with the first try. On this post alone, I edited it several times, for grammar, typos and clarity. The path of creation is never so smooth that you can get it right on the first pass. Top writers make it look easy — but that's only because you haven't seen the thousands of times they had to re-write, again and again, in the past.

It's never easy. Don't give up.

Last edited by TinyRedLeaf; 2014-02-03 at 22:25. Reason: for grammar, typos and all the good stuff.
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Old 2014-02-04, 14:36   Link #6
DonQuigleone
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Age: 25
Aye, you are only 18. I wouldn't worry too much, most teens are shit conversationalists. If you want to get good at it, it really comes down to practice.

Before focusing on writing, I'd focus on just normal conversation. If you're doing it online, try to imagine it's a normal conversation. Write loads, re-read what you write, but don't be a perfectionist, if you're feeling lazy, just pump it out. Better to write something shit then nothing at all.

Otherwise, it's important to speak in terms of other people's interests, and to try to see how your partner may be correct. Even if what they're saying is bat-shit crazy, take them seriously, and ask questions in a friendly way. You may surprise yourself by learning something, even if you still disagree with them. Of course, the above doesn't apply to trolls (protip: develop troll-dar)

Finally, be aware that YOU CANNOT WIN AN ARGUMENT. So avoid them, and if you get into one, don't be under the illusion you can "win". Never try to prove to a person that you're right and they're wrong if you want your relationship to go anywhere. What you should do is explore the topic in a neutral way, and take in the other person's perspective. Try to relieve them (and yourself!) of ignorance, rather then try to persuade them of a particular kind of view.

In terms of wit... there's no magic bullet. But men tend to get good at it purely because male to male conversation contains a lot of "conversational one-up-manship". Don't worry if your material is bad, it's really more about delivery. And finally, don't compare yourself to comedians, 90% of the jokes anyone things of are forgettable at best. Comedians prepare and only show you the best 10% they think of. Everyone else is well used to hearing jokes that fall flat, and they're forgotten rather quickly. And if they're not, well that's pretty good fodder for a funny anecdote.

Also, learn to ask the right questions. In general, ask open questions, and not questions that are "yes and no". For instance:
Bad: Do you like Anime?
Good: What do you like about Anime?
Bad: What's your favourite Anime?
Good: What is it that attracted you to your favourite Anime?
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Old 2014-02-05, 20:27   Link #7
Kakashi
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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It takes many years of both reading and experience to get to grips with the world around you and apply it conversation. The above advice is very good. I would add that if you read something on Wiki - ask yourself what is the subject? Say you are reading about a historical event, every now and then take your time to read how the field operates more generally. What are the key theories and how much support do they have? The same goes for science. What are key ideas in each field? Oh crap, I don't understand half this shit! Over time you learn out of curiosity.
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Old 2014-02-06, 16:07   Link #8
SeijiSensei
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Join Date: Nov 2006
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Do you write much non-fiction, like papers for class? Essays require a coherent argument which might force you think more systematically about what you want to say and give you more confidence in the power of your ideas. From your description of story-writing, it doesn't sound like you force yourself to be methodical in the presentation of your thoughts. Rewriting is boring, but important as well since it will force you to think about what you wrote and how to make it more compelling.

And, yes, you're just 18. This too shall pass.
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Old 2014-02-06, 19:49   Link #9
SaintessHeart
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Age: 25
I think the TS should just take every opporutunity to write whenever and wherever he can.

Including his posts on this forum.
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