Category Archives: Creativity

What Do You Want To Do? Why Aren’t You Doing It?

I read this last week:

Mostly because a friend wrote it, but I’m also sort of fascinated by the topic.

I’m too close to it/the person to be a good judge of whether the book is good or worthwhile, but he said something in the book, and then said it again at lunch on Saturday that really sort of tweaked my brain a little bit.

Paraphrasing, “You’ve got to want it.”

I had another friend at the writer lunch who was there for the first time, so he was asking Blaze all sorts of questions (and Blaze likes to hold court). He asked Blaze how he managed to write so much, and Blaze said, “because I want to”.

And it just kind of clicked with me.

Why don’t we all write more? Because we choose to do other things.

In most cases.

I mean, I can say I want to write 4000 words a day, but when it comes down to it, do I really? If I really do, then why am I not doing it?

Some people have obligations that cut down on their available time – sick parents, kids, jobs, and the like, and, so, yeah, probably can’t write 4 hours a day to get to that 4k words/day mark.

But the rest of us could probably find the time, if that’s what we truly wanted.

And people can talk all they want about leaving time to rest/relax, etc… but without any judgement laid upon it, that’s a choice they make. It’s not good or bad, they’d just rather spend the weekend or the evening doing something other than writing.

I say I know what I want. I say I want to write, and I say I want to write a lot, but the choices I make don’t always align with what I say I want.

So what does that mean? Does that mean I’m easily distracted, or does that mean I don’t really want to spend that time writing?

I think it’s quite a bit more complex than that, but it’s difficult not to ask that question when I start thinking about what I want vs the choices I’m making.

A lot of the time, I think I’m not consciously making choices. I’m running on autopilot, and autopilot takes me where the flying is the easiest path to take in the moment, without looking further ahead to see what might end up in my way.

My goal right now is to make conscious choices about what I’m doing. I need to get off auto-pilot and start flying manual. Sure, the ride may be a little bit bumpier, but it will probably get me where I want to go, and it’ll likely be more exciting, too.

Life Rolls Aren’t Good Eating

That’s right. I’m still alive. I haven’t gone anywhere. I’ve been here the whole time, and I don’t plan on going anywhere soon.

However, my silence probably deserves an explanation. Hell, even if it doesn’t, I’m going to give you one, anyway. You deserve it.

My mentors (they don’t know they’re my mentors, but I think of them that way — and from what I’m going to say, some of you may figure out who I’m talking about) have a phrase that they use to describe life altering (or interrupting) events. Life rolls. These are things that come up that interfere with your life, your work, your ability to write. They are all-consuming and make getting anything creative done a real difficult proposition.

Where that’s relevant is that, over the last couple months, I’ve been right in the middle of one.

This life roll has roots that go back at least seven years, but the major events precipitating it begin near the end of 2009. You could even say that I’ve been living a life roll since the end of 2009 and only in the last couple months did it reach a state that it interfered with my ability to create.

Since 2009, my wife and I have experienced the following things: four car accidents in the space of one year that were not our fault, job loss, the sole client for my software business giving up on his business and leaving me in the lurch, long term unemployment (we now make a third of what we made before), and hospital stays for more than one family member.

We’re all still alive and we still have our home, but it all took a toll on my relationship with my wife, and we’ve been on rocky ground for quite a while.

In early September, things came to a head, and it forced me to reexamine my priorities, which is what I’ve been doing for the last couple months. I’m still doing it.

But I think I’m getting close to being able to sink my teeth into the stories again.

It won’t be the same, though.

You may not notice, honestly, because the projects I’ve started, I’m going to finish. They may just not get finished in the most timely fashion.

Before this all came down, I was going to try to publish something every four to six weeks. I was going to try to be one of those people that just flooded the market with their books to become successful.

Now, though, I’m not going to focus on producing as many books as I can. I don’t have the time, as I’ve had to take on some contract work to pay off a huge pile of debt. So with the time I have available for writing, I’m just going to focus on producing books that I’m excited about and trust that good things will happen. I’m going to try to live in the moment, as much as possible, instead of pining for a future that might never happen. I’m going to write for myself instead of to a business plan.

Reviews? Who cares.

Sales? Not going to worry about them.

Acclaim? Some of you like my writing. That’s good enough.

I love my wife too much to burn out my marriage in an effort to control something that I can’t control.

So what does this mean for the future?

I hope it means that you’ll see Bloodweave (the third A Wizard’s Work book) in the next year. You should see Minders released before Christmas, and hopefully before the end of November, and you’ll also be seeing the second Grim Repo book in the near future (right after Minders). I’ve got a couple of longish short stories to release at some point, too. Z3 (the third zombie novella) will probably see the light of day next year, too. And then, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll let you see this contemporary story that I’ve been dabbling with (I don’t know what genre it is, yet) over the last couple of months in an effort to get “something” done. Maybe I’ll write something completely different.

Whatever happens, it’ll be because it comes from my heart, and not from other peoples’ expectations.

And really, don’t we all want fiction that comes from the core of the writer’s being?

I hate doing this, which is probably why I’m a writer and not a salesman, but buy one of my books, if you haven’t. There are samples throughout the site (click on any book cover on the sidebar). If you’ve bought one of my books and liked it, buy more. Or if you’re a writer, try out my software at storyboxsoftware.com. My creditors will love you.

Some Updates On StoryBox and Other Things

I just uploaded version 0.3.6 of StoryBox, with a new “Preveiw” mode so you can see how any portion of your story will look when all it’s parts are combined. It also fixes some scrollbar issues, and a couple other things.

Also, after a year and ten months of off and on reading, I finally finished Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon, and it was worth the effort in the end. But man, those first couple hundred pages are hard to get into. Too many disparate things going on for my simple mind. I always have problems with novels that start out with a large number of POV characters. Keep me with one for a few chapters, give me some background on the world, then switch. At the very least, do that in the first book.

Being Creative And Other Stuff

I’ve had this link among my browser bookmarks for quite awhile, and I just reread it. I think you should read it, too, even if you’ve no desire to be creative. It’s a “manifesto” on how to be creative.

It sort of dovetails in with my introspection on why I make the career choices I make, why I will likely never be a teacher, or much of a salesman or banker or stock broker.

I like making things. I like taking things that aren’t and making them into things that are. I suspect that being a maker, whether your an artist, a construction worker, or a cabinet builder, is just as high of a calling as being a teacher or a scientist. Without the makers of the world, the world we live in wouldn’t exist the way it does today. We are born to make things, as much as we are born to do anything else.

If you haven’t tried making something lately, give it a go. Ultimately, making is so much more satisfying than using.

Oh, and here’s the video game shelf I made last weekend.