★ On the Challenges Associated with Creating

I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a rut, artistically speaking. For a variety of reasons, work on my novel has ground to a halt over the last several weeks. I find myself growing tired of the subject and wanting to turn my attention to other projects. I am delving back into my portfolio and finding ideas to which I think it might be worth returning, but remain petrified by the thought that if I leave Blood and Thunder behind for another project, I might never return to it. The tragedy is that after months of diligent work, I have finally cracked this story. I know what needs to happen and how the characters need to relate to one another. Extraneous plot threads have been eliminated, the story has become more focused, and the themes have come into sharp focus. But despite the fact that I know how it's all supposed to unfold, I just haven't been able to sit down and write the two hundred pages I need to write.

There are two issues, I think, and they're both about me. The first is that I'm very unsure of the tone that I've been using to tell this story. It's very grim, which fits the story, but it doesn't come naturally to me. I'm trying to conform my style to the story I'm trying to tell, rather than telling that story in my style, which is a challenge primarily because both the story and the style are mine. So I've created a story that I actually do enjoy that feels like it would be best told by someone else.

The second issue is that the setting of the story is one that I actually don't know anything about. My knowledge of it is cobbled together from bits and pieces of popular culture, and it shows. With every draft, the setting itself has receded into the background, but it's still there and my ignorance is painfully obvious. They say "write what you know," but if I wrote what I knew, I'd be writing stories about well-educated conservative young professionals in love with video games, comic books, and progressive rock, and that's a damn narrow target audience. And frankly, I don't want to tell stories about my life. I want to tell the kind of stories that I would like to read. Blood and Thunder is one such story, but unfortunately, I don't know if I'm the person to write it.

None of this blog post makes sense to anyone who hasn't tried their hand at writing something. I don't mean the occasional short story or angst-ridden poem. I mean a real, substantial, sustained piece of creative writing. And maybe the solution is, as with all things, to just write through it. To just pound out this next draft of the story, get it in someone else's hands, say "READ!" and get feedback. That might be the thing to do. That might be what I end up doing. But right now, I don't know.

Damn, this creating stuff is hard.