Monday, August 26, 2013

Why I Placed All Writing Projects on Hiatus for Three Months

...I am not offering comments on my blatant breaking of a promise made previously. Moving on then:

All right, maybe one comment: Guild Wars is the most addicting game I have ever played in my life. Basically, you can boil that comment down to "I spent the last three months raising one character to level 80, another to level 21, and getting map completion with the first. And also there's a new event chain happening and I like achievement points."

This also means I haven't been writing for the past three months, but the situation, and my feelings towards it, is a little more complex than me wanting to viciously murder innocent trolls with a hunter and her pet ice-breathing lizard (his name is Admiral Muffintop, by the way). First of all, I really do miss writing. I want to know what it feels like to have a complete skeleton written down to be revisited at a later date for the attachment of skin and muscles and organs. But at the same time, I have no motivation to continue my work, and even my usual strategy of leaving off on a cliffhanger or at an exciting point in the story hasn't made a difference at all. At first, I assumed it was just a result of a particularly long and tiring week, but given that this post is the first thing I've written in a long time, well, I doubt that's the case.

Now comes the complex part: As I said, I've been playing Guild Wars 2 pretty consistently, so that's been filling up my time while I haven't been writing. But at the same time, my fiancee and I have introduced a friend to the wonders and magnificence of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. (If you don't know what that is, it's an awesome reboot of an anime that didn't do justice at all to an awesome manga series and if you like action movies and/or anime but somehow haven't seen it yet, you need to immediately.) The reason this counts as the complex part is that Brotherhood is one of the greatest things in existence and it does so well at presenting characters and foreshadowing events that I've used it as my writing mentor countless times. But for me, a mentor can be both wonderful and terrifying. I get plenty of advice just from a single episode, and it's good advice, but having a plan of attack and executing it are two completely different things. It's one thing to be a great strategist, and another entirely to be a good soldier, and this is the dilemma I face when working on a novel.

Of course, I've heard that simple little tidbit--"just write". Every writer has heard it at some point, and you know what? It's not simple at all. I hate those two words placed so innocently together as if they can solve everything. Sure, first drafts aren't meant to be fantastic--they're meant to get the ideas churning in your head into a tangible, readable, story format that can later be molded into the final product, but you know what? Sometimes it's not enough just to write down whatever comes to mind. A friend sent me a link to article and for the most part, I found the author delightfully candid. But I just can't write like she insists I should. I can't regurgitate 100,000 words of jumbled characters who run around doing things that don't make sense. If something weird happens, I can't continue until I sort it out. Maybe aliens can suddenly show up in a western, but if something like that happens to me, I need to know why. And in a strange way, this is similar to why I think I've stopped writing. Not only do I need to keep myself from going insane from a disorganized plot, but I also need to know that there are people besides myself who are interested in what I'm doing.

I'm sure I'm not the only one, either. There must be other writers who have difficulty writing just because they feel like they're the one, single person in the whole world who is interested in the characters and worlds they've painstakingly created out of the grey mush of their minds. Everyone talks about the author who loves their novel to the depths of their souls and view uninterested agents and editors as self-righteous bigots who simply can't see the merit in their precious baby, but no one talks about the writer who doesn't even get that far. I can say from experience, I'm not worried that an agent won't like my book because they're blind to its majesty--I'm worried they won't like my book because it's not likable.

So, that's why I haven't been writing. Maybe it's my joblessness that's getting me down, who knows, but whatever the case, I don't see the light at the end of this missing-writing-but-unable-to-continue-anyway tunnel just yet, so I guess it's back to addicting video games for me (and you thought it was bad when I dedicated that post to such hobbies!). But hey, at least the blogging seems to be flowing for me, and if I can get that to continue on a regular basis, then maybe, just maybe, I can kick-start my writing again.

For now, the moment everyone always waits for:


Although, I suppose a Guild Wars dragon fits better than just any old dragon, right?
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