Fair warning: This may turn out to be another one of those whiny “too much honesty from a random internet writer” kinds of entries no one likes. You are invited to skip it. There’s enough venom and vitriol flying around the internet, so if my adding to it would be too much, I wish you well.
I have been thinking about this entry for about a month, but now that I’ve sat down to write it, the words have floated away. Not sure they can be wrangled up, but we’re going to give it our best shot.
I don’t know who originated this. Heck, I couldn’t even tell you where I first heard it. Regardless, there is a saying in the world of creative pursuits. It probably carries over into all aspects of life. The first question you have to answer in your art is… why?
Why this story? Why this painting? Why this vase? Why this thing you’re bringing into this world? What motivates you to create? What drives you?
Why do you do this?
I’m not a young person full of creative energy. All those people are over on TikTok doing asinine dances, though I do enjoy the occasional comedy sketch some of them do there. Lately, when my writer-conscience tells me to get up off my fat butt and go to the computer to sit on my fat butt to write, my energy-deficient brain says, “Why should I?”
I used to have an answer for that. If I didn’t, my writer drive might have said, “because I said so.” (That always worked for Mom.) But now? I get no answer. So I stay on my fat butt watching my streaming services, trying to catch up on Doctor Who or some other show I won’t admit to out loud.
The only things dragging me over to the computer lately are things like paying my bills or my biweekly game night sessions.
As a result I skipped February’s and March’s blog posts. It was sheer force of will that prevented me from returning to my lazy default position after filing my taxes today. Otherwise, I may have skipped April, too. It’s already late.
(Side note, speaking of taxes: I was not a 3-figure author last year like I predicted I might. Still only 2-figure, but it was awfully close!)
Why am I telling you this? It’s simple. I seem to have lost my Why. I have characters whose lives are up in the air, waiting to be dispatched with impunity, and I’m more interested in exploring time and space with an alien and his human companions. (I haven’t seen any of 13’s adventure, so she’s not a she yet.)
With a goal of publishing this year and having nothing finished to edit and publish, that should be enough motive to kill them all and get the thing out there.
But it’s not.
I could claim that November’s extra crispy near-failure traumatized me more than I let on, but to be honest, I haven’t really thought about NaNoWriMo at all, aside from my friend already asking me what I’ll be writing this year. (It’s only April! I don’t plan that far ahead.) I can’t claim burnout — I don’t do enough to get burnt out on.
I just… don’t care. For now, at least.
The reality is that a lot of writers go through some iteration of this. Some of them come to the conclusion that writing is not for them, and they move on to other things. Others come back to it later with more vim than ever. Some just need a short break so they don’t burn out.
I don’t know yet what my deal is. For years I went through my dreary existence claiming not to be a writer, even though I play one in November. Eventually that got upgraded to being a writing hobbyist. For now, I’m a writer on hiatus. It may last another week, or it may last the next several years. The voices are not gone, so I’m pretty sure I will pick up a fictional bladed weapon at some point and create #StabbyMurderDeath again.
Until then, I will try to be better about writing these monthly blog posts that only one person ever reads.
But no promises.
There is much to report on this front, even as there is not. We have continued to meet every two weeks, though for quite some time we were without our workaholic member. On some other weeks, one of the other two would bow out for one reason or another.
We refuse to play our Pathfinder ACG campaign game without all four.
On the weeks without the workaholic we would alternate between Jackbox games and using the Watch Together feature of Movies Anywhere. I have bought a lot of movies in my lifetime, and that’s been paying off in the form of watching movies with my friends via a feature they call ScreenPass. We decide on a movie, I send them an invitation to watch it together, and when all three of us are ready, I start the movie. We have watched Big Trouble in Little China and The Maze Runner this way.
In one session, we just talked. Which was both weird and awesome.
And of course, for quite a few sessions straight, all four of us have been together, so we have finished Adventure 1 of Skull & Shackles. I still catch myself playing Rules Lawyer, because sometimes the others forget special scenario-specific rules. I’ve gotten better about my Alpha Gamer tendencies, though. I mean, to the point where sometimes I refuse to even offer my opinions on things. For example, with S&S being ship-based, we have to choose a ship at the beginning of each session, and I make the others decide which ship we use. Because all ship powers require shortening the built-in timer, I don’t use them — so my opinion is irrelevant anyway.
Always more to keep my guard up about, though, so that’s a work in progress.
As the theme song to Tig Notaro’s podcast goes, “Everybody goes through sh*t.”
I’m no different. Neither are you.
All we can do is ride it out. Be the best you can be at a given moment, but accept that you will not always know your Why. When that happens, keep a lookout for it, and if you know someone struggling with their own Why, try to help them find it.
You are awesome. You are wonderful. You are mighty.
Please continue to be the love the world needs.