Writer’s Block

When I was younger, I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy books, and watched a lot of movies in the same genres, and I really wanted to become a writer someday. I wrote a lot of stories, and even some poetry, in my spare time, and one of my close friends had similar interests; we critiqued each others’ work often, and sometimes even collaborated a bit.

You can still find at least some of my work still online; I still have a library at Elfwood. It includes several short stories I wrote, and a large portion of a story I was, at one point, hoping to turn into a novel someday. But that was all before my serious depression hit. It’s probably been a decade since I have written anything fantastical or creative; there are probably good reasons for that. I could blame my teacher of creative writing at Kenyon, P.F. Kluge, the writer in residence, because in his class he only wanted students to write realistic fiction and Americana, like he did, and anything else was graded poorly. But I don’t think that’s really it.

I think that, once my depression really moved in and made itself at home, I didn’t feel like anything I wrote was worthwhile anymore. I felt that everything I did was useless, that I myself was useless, and therefore there was no point in writing more fantasy stories. I had no hope of ending up as one of the big names in the field, I thought, so there was no point in continuing. So, I just… stopped. I didn’t write anything anymore. I tried to use LiveJournal for a while, but I felt ignored there, so I stopped that, too.

I even stopped having good ideas for gaming. I find that nowadays it is much harder for me to come up with decent story ideas for things like RPGs; it is why my latest attempt at a D&D game relied almost entirely on pre-written adventure. It didn’t help that I had difficulty explaining the game and couldn’t keep the attention of the players, but then I was extremely out of practice. It’s why, for the last several years, I have been more comfortable as a player than a DM or GM; I just don’t know if I still have it in me.

Even though I have been dealing with my depression issues for the last six months, I don’t think this is something that has been covered, or ever will be. Writing, when I did it, was something I felt a need to do; it got into my head and bounced around until I had to put the idea down on paper or type it up on the computer. I never wrote outlines; the stories just flowed out of my thoughts through my fingers. I haven’t felt that motivation for a long time, and I’m not sure how to get it back, or if it is even possible.

This blog is the most writing I have done in years that wasn’t for a class. And while some of the papers I wrote for class were fun – talking about zombies as a metaphor for social problems was an interesting paper – they never really gave me the spark I felt when I wrote stories. I have at least one, possibly two, friends who seem to be having their own writing slumps, so they can probably empathize with me on that. But I don’t know that there is one specific cause of my writer’s block, and without that it is just guesswork to try and overcome it.

It seems that Demonsong may never be finished as a story;; but maybe my ramblings here will prove to be both interesting and useful enough to others that they may one day see print. In the electronic age, it is hard to say. But until I find that out, I won’t keep anything back from my writing here, and I’ll keep hoping that my creative juices start flowing again.


5 comments on “Writer’s Block

  1. It’s strange how creativity ebbs and flows.

  2. AV says:

    It is strange how it can ebb and flow, but have you thought about just doing it? I’m not a writer, or really any kind of artist, but every artist I’ve ever read about seems to say the same thing: do your art every day. Gabe from Penny-Arcade always tells artists to draw every day. Chris Kluwe, Drew Magary, Neal Stephenson, and the mostly wise and weirdly wonderful Wil Wheaton (totally just nailed that alliteration!) all say the same thing about writing: write one page a day, even if it is crap. The act of sitting down and just writing is a key part of producing good writing.

    I remember Demonsong. Demonsong was good. I remember the joy you found in writing. That joy was good. (And wow, it probably has been a decade; how the hell did we get so old?!). Maybe you could try writing one one-sentence story (“For sale: one pair of baby shoes, never worn.”) a day and see where that goes?

  3. jen says:

    I think creativity and imagination take practice and you are out of practice. Just like in any other profession you hear the brain is a muscle…. a.nd you have to practice using your imagination….Consider loweringyour standard…not everything you write needs to be printable. I can understand that that can suck and why do you want to push yourself to write junk…. But I think if you start a couple stories later your imagination might be back to flowing smoothly….maybe you have to throw away your first few stories but that’s ok!! Goodluck. I think this is exciting. You have not mentioned writing in a long time. The fact that your thinking about it is great. I think you recognize that you found joy in it before and now that you are more open to the idea of joy, I think with some work you can find that agai

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