Writing with a Block and a Handicap

How-Freelance-Writers-Can-Overcome-Writers-BlockRecently, I had decided to undertake a project that involves writing in a genre that’s different than what I’m used to.  For one, the project involves writing from first person, something that I don’t do very much since most of my fiction is done from a third person perspective.  Although, when it comes to building a character, I often have enormous troubles because of how it seems that there are cliches everywhere and I do try my absolute hardest to avoid falling into those traps.

To help out with this, I usually recruit the aid of a long time friend of mine who is not only an accomplished artist but also an expert character builder.  One of the reasons why they are so adept at this is because of how they see the glaring cliches and tropes that are done with characters in various media.  At least, for the most part if you exclude “Game of Thrones”, the Miyazaki movies and Homestuck.  It was during the discussion that I was having trouble trying to figure out certain attributes, interests and qualities to a character for this story that caused enormous frustration on their part.  And I made the observation that it’s probably due to my lack of social interaction that has been hindering me in terms of character building.

The observation made on their part was that I don’t understand people.

After making up from this small falling out, I started to wonder more and more about that.  Is this why I haven’t been published?  That not only are my ideas poor, my language atrocious and my characters flat but I also can’t seem to understand people very well?

So now comes the problem of not only writers block but writers block with a handicap.

And thanks to this parasite of depression that I still fight with for months at a time, I start to wonder if all the work I’ve done in writing all through college and out of it has been nothing more than a waste of time.  That I look back at all I’ve done and have nothing to show for it.  How can one look back on that and not feel so very foolish about it?

And now the question becomes, “What do I do now?”

[Photo source:  http://burningword.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/How-Freelance-Writers-Can-Overcome-Writers-Block.jpg%5D

Advertisements

When depression strikes

Image source:  http://guardianlv.com/2013/09/can-religion-and-spirituality-cause-depression/

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted and there are reasons for why there are gaps in the posts I make. I do try to keep what goes on in my personal life off of my blog but unfortunately this is unavoidable and it must be put out there.

The truth of the matter is that I suffer from depression. And I don’t mean the “depression” that people like to talk about whenever they’re feeling down, blue, melancholic or anything like this, this is the kind that lasts for days, weeks and even months. And certain aspects in my personal life have managed to compound and exacerbate the problems. As a result my craft in writing suffers because of it.

It’s a case where you try to find the will to do the thing that once gave you such vitality. That you hate going to sleep because there’s so much to do but when depression strikes all the vitality has gone out of you. The will to do anything is lost. And this is the reason why I haven’t been posting very much. Often I would get up and think, “why bother? No one is reading it?” By that point, I reach for the covers and pull them over my head.

I hope all of you, my loyal readers, can understand this and forgive a man fighting such a demon.

And I hope that you go forth into the world and remember this one thing: depression is a disease, not a mood.

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?

The Battle of Cliches

ImageRecently, I came across various pages that talk about Fantasy Cliches that shouldn’t’ be done, should be avoided or should be gotten rid of.  

First, we have “Ten Fantasy Cliches that Should be Put to Rest

Then there’s “Grand List of Fantasy Cliches

In the next one we have “Avoiding Fantasy Cliches 101

And the list goes on and on. 

It reminded me of when I was in a classroom and how I had gotten into an argument with my instructor, in front of the class, about how academia seems to quash one’s creativity by throwing up walls, boxes and limitations to the point where a person can only express it through a narrow hole like a playdough fun factory. 

I think the same thing can be said of cliches in which so many people out there see so many cliches everywhere that it seems like everything is a cliche.  And once I came to that point in my train of thought I had to ask a very stark and chilling question: if everything is a cliche then why should a writer keep writing?