All of these posts were originally posted on Wordpress. They've been collected here on one page with some minor edits. I understand the title says writing crisis, but there are a few posts here that go into my other hobbies, like art.

Ultimately, it turned out that I was burnt out, like I mention in the last post. I took a break for a few months and emerged feeling a lot better.

Do I actually enjoy creating? (7 July 2023)

This is something I've been asking myself over the past couple of months.

I've always been creating things. As soon as I could hold a pencil, I was drawing. As soon as I could write, I was writing stories. Then I learned about HTML and CSS and started making website layouts. Later, I got into conlanging and worldbuilding. Then a couple of years ago, I started acrylic painting. And now I write reviews.

I'm now starting to wonder whether I like doing this, or I'm creating simply because it's the only thing I know how to do. Maybe I need to take a creative break for a couple of months. I've written almost every single day for the past thirteen and a half years, at least. I don't even know if I'm capable of taking a break.

Maybe that's what I'll try to do in August.

The final writing crisis post (maybe) (21 April 2023)

Remember those blog posts I made last year about the writing crises I was having? Well, that's at an end. Hopefully. Maybe.

In March, I started thinking about what I wanted to write - in particular, the genres I wanted to write. I've been writing regularly since 2008, so I've had plenty of time to test out lots of genres and figure out what works and what doesn't. And what does seem to work, more than anything else, is still that falls roughly in the category of weird fiction or new weird. "Regular" science fiction and fantasy? Not so much.

This also made me realize that I absolutely need to clean up the various stories I've started vague plans for over the years and then never got back to. There are dozens of them! Some are barely more than a premise and a list of characters. I certainly don't need to keep everything, especially since there's some stuff I haven't looked at in ten years.

I'm not sure how long this cleanup is going to take. Possibly to the end of the year? But at the end of it, I'll hopefully have a much more organized story folder.

Yet another writing crisis (2 September 2022)

I finished reading The Left Hand of Darkness three weeks ago and was distraught for days - partially because of what happened in the book, but also because I had the realization that I may be writing the wrong stuff entirely.

Yeah, I'm having another writing crisis.

Samael is very different from what I'm typically interested in writing, and also from what I've posted on this website. For the past few weeks, I've had the horrible feeling that I'm wasting my time writing stuff that I don't actually want or even like to write. It would explain why I've had such little success actually finalizing stories ever since I started writing in my early teens.

Maybe what I've spent the majority of the last 14 years doing is...forcing myself to write stuff I have no actual interest in writing.

The Land of Two Moons was really easy to write. Not only was it easy, it was fun to write. The Book of Immortality was less easy, but I would still consider my time spent writing and editing it to be enjoyable. It didn't feel like a slog, which is what working on Samael currently feels like.

I'd hate to set Samael aside. I finished the outline and if I try very hard, I can have most of the story written by the end of the year. I really, really want to get this story done so I can have something to serialize on this website again.

I think I've bought into the sunk cost fallacy a little too much. I'm not enjoying this. I'm not being paid. The only thing I've invested into Samael is time, and I highly doubt putting more time into it is going to make me like it more.

I think I'm going to spend the rest of the month working on something that actually I actually enjoy thinking about.

An update on my writing crisis (4 March 2022)

Long story short, there really isn't a crisis anymore. I've simply decided to ignore the problem of genre and write whatever I want to write.

Honestly, I've been too busy this past month with non-writing things to worry about writing. I haven't even had the time to actually write anything. I suppose this is a good thing, since I'm focusing on "actual" problems in my life.

What do I even want to write? (24 January 2022)

For most of my life, I thought that the genres I wanted to write in were science fiction and fantasy - primarily science fiction. As I got older, genre conventions and limitations became something I cared less and less about, and I shifted to saying that I wanted to write speculative fiction. Speculative fiction covers science fiction and fantasy as well as a few other genres, so essentially anything I wrote could fall under it.

About three weeks ago, I had a thought. What if what I want to write can't really be considered science fiction? I honestly thought I was fine writing speculative fiction and not science fiction. Despite my best efforts, this thought took hold in my brain and has not let go.

I know these labels are a marketing tool. I know they don't actually matter while I'm writing. But I can't stop thinking that maybe what I thought I wanted to do isn't what I actually want to do.

Then, a week ago, I had some more thoughts that furthered this problem: what if I don't really want to write speculative fiction, either? What if I actually want to write weird fiction or literary fiction? Is that why I've been able to finish so few of my stories? Is it why I lose interest so quickly?

I seem to be going through the writer version of a mid-life crisis.

The problem with having too many interests (28 June 2021)

I have a lot of creative interests. I draw. I write. I paint. I worldbuild. I create conlangs. I (used to) draw comics.

Each of those things is fairly time-consuming. If I'm drawing, that's time I can't write. If I'm working on a conlang, that's time I can't be painting. Time spent working on one interest is time taken away from everything else. If what I'm currently working on takes longer than expected, it makes things even worse.

Back in May, I set a goal to complete 1 painting per month. That happened in May, but the end of June is quickly approaching and I haven't had time to even sketch out an idea. And since I will be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in July, I doubt that month will be any better.

I know most creative people primarily focus on one thing. It allows them to actually improve their craft and have hobbies on the side. Sometimes I wish I'd decided to do that instead of spreading myself thin over several different things.

If I'd focused on my artwork, would I be a working artist? Would I have learned and improved at a faster pace? Would I be making money with it? Would I have an audience?

I've been posting my artwork online since 2007. I've had very little attention on all the websites I used. Maybe that would have been different if I'd tried harder to find an art community instead of just doing the bare minimum - drawing - and then immediately moving on to different things.

I have the same feelings about my writing. Less so about conlanging. My particular feelings on not being able to draw comics any longer will be addressed in a different post (probably).

I know if I picked one thing and stuck with it, I wouldn't be as busy and wouldn't feel as guilty taking time for myself. But I want to do all these things, and I genuinely like doing them, too.

I guess I'll just continue onward. Slowly.

A few thoughts on my recent writer's block (21 June 2021)

I had a fairly good month in May with regards to outlining. I did a lot of necessary worldbuilding and made all of the character profiles I needed. I even made a couple of naming languages. I got all of that out of the way first so that I could focus on outlining and only outlining in June.

Since the beginning of June, I've barely done anything. I've "outlined" three chapters. What this means is that I organized my initial stream-of-consciousness ideas into something resembling a chapter outline I can actually used. There have been eight days this month that I've actually worked on this outline, which is...not very much. I work on outlines fairly slowly, but it's usually more of an every day thing.

I've been a lot more busy in June. I had a job interview and started a new job. I did a ton of (very late) spring cleaning and donated a bunch of old clothes. My air conditioning went out while it was 115F (46C) and it was a very uncomfortable 2.5 days where I could barely do anything at home. I've been slowly updating my wardrobe (necessary, since the last time I seriously did something like this was when I was in high school) and looking into getting a credit card (solely because I want a better credit score).

There's been a lot going on.

I'm starting to think that the vast majority of "writer's block" is simply my body refusing to allow me to tire myself out to the point of burnout. I've had problems with that before, primarily when I was drawing comics, where I had way too much to do for months on end and was constantly tired and uncreative.

So I think I would like to say...I think this particular case of writer's block is actually good for me?

The kind of art I want to make vs. the kind of art I like making (26 April 2021)

I've been an artist my whole life. Like a lot of kids, I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil. It was always drawing - never painting or crafting. Maybe it's because it was easy and inexpensive - all I needed were pencils and paper. Those were always plentiful because of school, and I filled tons of notebooks (not sketchbooks) with my drawings.

Once I got proper sketchbooks (around age 12-13) I proceeded to also fill those with my drawings. They were never elaborate - usually character portraits and designs. I never really drew animals or landscapes or furniture/other objects. That was something to work on in the future, not the present.

In high school, I set up a list of goals I wanted to achieve. One of those was to be comfortable with my art skill by age 25. It was so far away at the time - I had years to work on my art! I'd surely be able to learn how to draw anything by age 25!

I turned 25 in mid-2019. Needless to say, I was not comfortable with my art skill at the time. I hadn't improved as much as I wanted to. I couldn't draw landscapes or machinery or the things I wanted to draw. In fact, I wasn't particularly interested in drawing anymore.

Thankfully, I discovered acrylic painting a couple of months later. And then I discovered that I really like acrylic painting. I can paint landscapes and starscapes with relative ease! Those are things that would take me forever if I tried to draw them!

I'm actually enjoying myself when I'm painting, which was a thing that wasn't happening when I was drawing. Years ago, I might have been upset by this. Now I understand that it really isn't worth pursuing a hobby - a hobby! Not a job! - that isn't bringing me any joy.

The art I wanted to make was not the same as the art I actually liked making.

Maybe I'll come back to drawing sometime in the future. My interests and likes are fluid and have changed a lot over the past few years, and they're sure to change in the next few. Maybe I'll start over and actually learn the basics.

I've also found that this applied to my writing. When I was first starting out, I wanted to write all sorts of things! Then I actually tried writing in various genres, persons, etc. until I learned what I actually liked writing. I talked a little about this in a previous blog post.

I imagine everyone who's ever done anything creative has realized this at some point.