I have wanted to try my hand at writing short stories for some years. Actually, many years. I have always dabbled in visual arts and music, but I have always been afraid of creative writing. My roadblocks are many:
- I have never written fiction before. I wouldn’t know what the hell I am doing. However, you only learn by doing, so it seems like discipline is required here.
- I am not sure of the form of fiction I want to write. First-person, third-person, multi-person, a play, a comic book (I’ve done a few short ones when I was young)? I tend to get caught up in the details too early.
- I tend to rapidly hate whatever it is I am creating. That’s very likely the biggest roadblock. I start creating things and soon enough, my destructive judgement kicks in and demotivates me. I often talk about motivation being worthless (or more specifically sh**). Perhaps it is also applicable to creative work. The first iteration (perhaps a story plan) may be absurdly bad. Perhaps the next 10 iterations will be garbage. Hell, the final copy will likely not be that good because I have no experience in creative writing. But experience comes with practice, and demotivating myself at every turn in the creative writing process, is a sure way to keep me from improving.
- I do not know what to write about. I have spent countless hours at this step. In the past, the only way I have started writing (and it was bad) was by diving straight away into an interaction between imaginary characters. Every time I try to approach the problem from the top-down (as in the snowflake method), I jot down hundreds of ideas and can never settle on one. This one is bad. This one has no potential. I don’t actually know anything about that one. But really, when I look at each idea, I can often think of at least one good story that has a similar domain or idea. So it is not like the idea is poor. I am just unable to decide on one and start working on it. The grass always seems greener on the other side and if I deem that my writing is going sideways, I tend to too easily blame it on the idea, thereby abandoning it in retribution. Also, it feels like every idea out there already has a novel, movie or another form of story around it. Perhaps there are no original ideas anymore. Or perhaps I should pick an interesting concept and simply explore it with my own voice. I may not need to reinvent the wheel. Great artists are said to steal. As a bad artist, perhaps I can too?
- Finally, I think for now I would not show my work to anyone but myself. Unlike visual art, it feels scarier to share creative writing. But I am likely getting ahead of myself. First, create something, then think about showing it to others. One thing at a time.
In conclusion, I am very unsettled about creative writing. It seems my fear tends to win. And years later, I have not written anything. I would like that to change. I think playing around with some creative writing is a great way to try something new, something I have never seriously done before. It is also a way to feel like a complete beginner again because the product will surely not be that impressive. I cannot go about hoping to write a Shakespearean play when I have no creative writing experience. Let’s get started, and create an awfully bad short story. Then two. Then three. Then maybe more?