The Brambles of Writing

I wanted to write this out because there have been too many times when I’ve been stuck in terms of my own writing.  It’s mainly an issue of trying to write anything down without the thoughts of, as indicated by the title:  the brambles of writing.

One of the issues that comes up when writing is the fight against cliches.  This I’ve found to be very true because I like to write in the areas of fantasy and horror.  And there have been numerous upon numerous internet sites and lists made by self-proclaimed critics talking about “Top Ten Fantasy Cliches” and “Grand List of Cliches” and so on and so on.  Ad infinitum.  And I have brought up this question many times before, such as in my posts of “The Battle of Cliches”:  if everything is a cliche then why should a writer keep writing?

Usually when I bring up this question to my friends they do try to be encouraging but others not so much, “Then stop writing.”  Hearing something like that almost reinforces the innermost voices of the mind that tell you to give up.  Even then, it’s hard to give up, especially when one has put so much of themselves into such an art (or craft, depending on who you ask).

But in asking others to look at your work is another layer of this wall of brambles that I wanted to bring up: other people.  I’m sure many of you out there have faced this where you encounter “critics” who just not only tear apart your work but leave you with a sensation of defeat.  A sensation that all that work was for nothing, like a finely made cake that had been shoved off a table and splattered on the floor.  You pick up the pieces and try again and it still doesn’t seem good enough.  Of course, some would look at that and say that it’s “whining” and that one should “toughen up”.  Or the ever more popular “man up” line.  Or perhaps the more internet level comment, “waaah, wahhh, poor you.”  But, writing is an art, and an artist isn’t made of stone, no matter how much one tries to be, don’t you think?

I find this true when you have multiple people wanting different things from a story and that brings up another issue as a writer:  walking the thin line between writing for yourself and writing for an audience.  This issue comes to mind because of the various discussions I’ve had with one of my friends about Japanese anime and how predictable it is.  And how she has a tendency to complain about something being “cliche” or “typical” and saying in the truest of internet fashions, “WTF!” at something that she doesn’t agree with.  I see all this and I can’t help but think of these things in application to my own writing.  I find myself thinking, “Is any of my stuff like this?” or “am I doing things better than that?”

So, there are all these factors, fighting cliches, facing critics, revision, dancing that line between writing for ones self and an audience that it really is enough to drive one crazy (or enough to drive one to start drinking).  So the question in the end is how does one face all these?  Does one really have to make themselves into stone?  Or has everything been written about so much that there’s really no need to do it anymore?