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This is a question that doesn't directly apply to me, though I can easily see myself having this problem. I thought I'd run writer's block for a loop and find the answer before the problem arose. :)

I like designing stuff. No, scratch that. I love designing stuff. It doesn't really matters what it is. I got into drawing because of it, and from there Photoshop, and from there 3D and Blender, and so on. Even my writing comes from my desire to design - I love designing my writing process and designing the actual books, I love creating worlds and languages, rules and belief systems for fictional races, imaginary plant species that likely no one will ever hear about... you name it.

Once everything is designed though, and it's actually time to write, I have a problem. The actual act of writing isn't design (not by the time I'm done with the disturbingly detailed outline anyway). The result is that I invariably would rather design more than write about what I've created.

How can I get myself to write? I don't want to feel like I'm forcing it, because that can't be good for creativity.

Note: I did a search on other writer's block questions, and I don't think this is a duplicate.

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Write your Silmarillion instead.

Tolkien created his Elvish languages because he was a professor of linguistics. He created the world of LOTR to have someone to speak his languages.

The Silmarillion is the collection of mythology, creation stories, and history which built the world for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to stand on. Collecting all your world-building into short stories, myths, little scenes, individual characters with backstories, and so on may generate a plot bunny, and from there you can see if it attaches itself to a larger structure like a Hero's Journey.

If not, then you still have a cool collection of history and mythology, and maybe you can work with someone else to have other folks tell stories in that world.

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    Bear in mind that The Silmarillion was published posthumously. Tolkien worked on it for most of his adult life, and never quite finished. His son, Christopher organized his notes, and put it all together in book form after his death. Tolkien wrote the basis of The Silmarillion early in his career, and The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings was based upon it. During the writing of his books, he then went back and made changes to it so his other stories would fit better. – Jason Hutchinson Aug 11 '16 at 17:37
  • I think it is important to separate the hobby of worldbuilding from the writing of books. Tolkien seems an unfortunate model here. He did not write a great book because he spent so long world building, but because he had a brilliant idea for a book, which he then set in the world he created. Lewis also wrote brilliant books and built his world by pulling bits of mythology from anywhere and everywhere as it suited him. No system, no rules, whatever served the story. Storytelling does not depend on intricate world building. It is a different art. – user16226 Aug 12 '16 at 20:42
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    @mbakeranalecta I agree with all your points. What I was trying to say to the OP is that if you create enough myths and history, a story may coalesce from the stew. If you write about The Great Sundering as a historical narrative, might that suggest to you a novel about two people, one from each side, who fall in love and reunite the sundered groups? That sort of thing. Myths are stories. History is made of stories. If you write enough drabbles, a larger narrative might appear between them. – Lauren-Reinstate-Monica-Ipsum Aug 12 '16 at 21:25
  • @LaurenIpsum Or at least a plot may appear. But it still strikes me as putting the cart before the horse. Worldbuilding for the sake of worldbuilding must play by its own rules, but for storytelling, it think the story comes first and we build a world that is an apt stage for the story we want to tell. But if one is happy building worlds, as the OP seems to be, I'm inclined to think one should stick to that and not trouble too much about whether a story follows. – user16226 Aug 12 '16 at 22:37
  • @mbakeranalecta The OP specifically asked how to move from worldbuilding to storytelling, so s/he doesn't sound entirely happy with it. – Lauren-Reinstate-Monica-Ipsum Aug 12 '16 at 23:54
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Design is the stage. Story is the play. Story is built around desire and the frustration of desire. The stage exists as a place for that desire to be born, to be frustrated, and to be ultimately achieved or denied. Stage dressing without a play in mind, therefore, is apt to be futile.

To start the story process, you have to discover or invent a character who wants something and a reason they can't get it. You then have them pursue that desire through your world, overcoming increasingly greater obstacles until their desire is ultimately achieved or they are defeated.

How compelling your story is will ultimately depend on how compelling your character is and how much we can sympathize with their desire (sympathize with is not the same things as approve of).

In the end, story is design as well, so there is no reason not to take a design approach to story as much as to world building. But you now need to turn you design attention in that direction. Start with a desire. What sort of person has that desire. What sort of obstacles will they face. What will they do to overcome those obstacles? These are the elements of story design.

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I find combining words into sentences fun enough by itself to keep me going :) But, seriously, it sounds like you have a rich and interesting world developed, and that is a great accomplishment already. The question is whether you have a story, set in that world, because no world by itself can be used as a substitute for an interesting story, no matter how beautiful and wondrous that world is.

Once everything is designed though, and it's actually time to write, I have a problem. The actual act of writing isn't design (not by the time I'm done with the disturbingly detailed outline anyway). The result is that I invariably would rather design more than write about what I've created.

Somebody said once that a right question contains half of the answer within itself. I am afraid that you are the only one who can answer that question for yourself. But if you have an outline, what's stopping you? Type away, all you have to do is fill in the blanks!

How can I get myself to write? I don't want to feel like I'm forcing it, because that can't be good for creativity.

I disagree. If you do not exercise your writing, you will not develop your writing skills. Do make yourself write. Try, at least, and see where it takes you. You might like it... and if not: you can always revise later!

Best of luck!

some useful reference on worldbuilding

more of the kind

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Getting past the designing stage without a clear goal in mind as to what should be the story can be hard, and not necessarily something you can satisfactorily solve.

If you have thought about the characters and an overall idea of the plot, you could start small, maybe with an introduction of one or more or them. From mine and other people's experience, I have seen that writing, even when not having a clear destination - or a clear path toward that destination - often makes you see what makes sense about the story and what does not.

If still it does not help, perhaps devoting time to other writing projects will put things in perspective. Sometimes there simply may not be a solution for this kind of block.

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