Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Creative fragmentation

HEY HAVE YOU NOTICED I HAVEN'T BLOGGED RECENTLY? What's funny is I'm averaging fifty hits a day not-blogging. Weird.

I've been creativity-stricken for about a month, or at least writing-stricken (not blocked, stricken), although even creativity (&c.)-stricken I wrote one or two cool stories and edited one or two hot tales that were in need of my needle-brush. There are a lot of reasons for my auctorial seizure, but I have already written six or seven blog posts in an attempt to explain them all and find it an unpossible task.  My internal life is an ineffable force, folks. Ineffable.

Totally ineffable.


The gist of the outcome is that I no longer wish to follow the Heinlein model - an equation expanded upon by writing teachers like Dean Wesley Smith, David Farland, and Kevin J. Anderson (and then utilized by me) - because even though it has brought me tremendous success and ability, I don't think it has fostered happiness. Actually, it has, because it made me write awesome stuff and submit it and get it published and developed my confidence to a level where I am confident. But Fictionalist Extremism is no longer the sort of extremism I wish to follow (mostly because I'm sick of dogging myself about writing and would rather just, uh, enjoy it? I guess).

I could also argue that this method has not fostered creativity, although in a lot of ways it has; but specifically my focus on production has left no room to pause and meditate and theorize about what kinds of fiction I would actually like to produce. If I'm being perfectly frank, I have never and never will read any of the authors I have until this time taken as role models for my own writerly behaviour. And then I look at, say, China MiƩville's blog, and, like, I don't understand. And I want that. I want to be... ununderstandable.

Probably not the kind of thing that can be striven for, probably the kind of idea I'll abandon tomorrow (because I'm not a terribly fascinating, deep, or interesting person), but okay, alright, whatever, I'm better than that, jeez leave me alone.

Anyway, general malaise caused great burps and hiccoughs in my writing output and my ability to write regularly, so now I am just writing fragments. Fragments! Fractals. In miniature they replicate me in macro! At least one a day, always a different story/subject, usually hopefully something not in third-person limited point of view (for God's sake).  The purpose? To make me more creative, hopefully more interesting, hopefully less bored with writing.

Also probably going to try and write a metal EP with the theme, Hard as Schist. (It's "rawk and lawl," as it were.)

In this turn of events I would say I am mostly inspired by some of the essays and writings appearing in the anthology "The New Weird" by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Rahul Kanakia, who always talks about how he basically just diddles around and then comes out with amazing stories, and a series of articles by Nick Mamatas appearing at "Against Craft" and "Against Story." There's also "Against Professionalism," but that one is so lame.

It's actually really good and I'm just failing to be ironic.

Alright! Creative fragmentation.



  1. Regarding writing a lot and wondering if you're writing what you want to write . . . well, here's my experience: The more I write, the more I realize what I want to write. It's when I stop to think about what I want to write that gets me in trouble. I don't know why this is except to say that I think by giving more power to my subconscious, it has now taken me by the hand and is leading me. Its as if by writing a lot I'm clearing away all the preconceived ideas I had about writing and what I want to write and I'm finally getting to those stories that mean something to me.

    Surprisingly, they're very different from the stories I've been telling.

    Best of luck.

  2. Jeff, you are absolutely right. In fact, I wrote this blog post with my subconscious (I mean... you know what I mean), whereas normally I'm highly self-conscious about blog-posting. Also, my most-loved stories (of the ones I've written) are the ones I wrote with little/no thought.

    That said, writing with your subconscious is an ability/choice that activates the mostly deeply-rooted story-knowledge and writing craft you possess. Your subconscious doesn't possess these knowledges/abilities innately: you acquire them through conscious strategies like reading widely (to gain better story-knowledge or style-impressions) and forcing yourself to write differently (to establish norms, ideals, abilities, and experiments within unfamiliar narrative/poetic/whatever types).

    So what I'm doing now is basically building a labyrinth, very conscious of the monsters, traps, and treasures I'm setting there, with the intention of eventually releasing myself within (and concomitantly subconsciously producing awe and wonder in the written word).

  3. I think you're overthinking it, but it seems to be working. So...keep it up.

    I'm more straightforward: One day, after a lifetime of reading, I decided to write Science Fantasy Romance. And wrote it. Then I continued to do so up to the present time. Then $$$¢ appeared.

    I was glad and drank beer.

  4. Fair enough. I might have a few more stanzas in the writer's-life poem, but the conclusion is still the same.