01781: A Lack Of Creativity

I've been thinking a lot about my writing these days and what might be holding me back from really pursuing it in earnest. And I think one of my bigger challenges, as strange as it may sound, is the very real possibility that I'm just not all that creative. I can write well enough when it comes to these blog posts, essays and other more factually-oriented pieces. But my creative work just continues to struggle and the best I've been able to do are the various short story pieces that I've been posting on this blog. They're okay, but they're not quite stories that I'm amazingly proud of.

Sure, every writer is his own worst critic, and I know I'm a pretty major victim of that. In high school I had gotten past 100 pages of my first draft of a novel. But when I actually read the whole thing from start to finish, I junked the whole thing in a big of a rage of disappointment. And I never truly recovered that story ever since.

My biggest struggle since then has been coming up with new ideas for stories. I'd spend a good amount of time to think about story concepts and I'd try fleshing out one or two of them but in many ways I was still going back to ideas first formed in my high school and college days. Something just wasn't clicking in terms of my personal writing engine or whatever you want to call it.

Since getting together with Tobie, I am glad that I'm at least able to write again. And while I've primarily been exploring old ideas, at least I've gotten a fair amount of creative writing done over recent years. But the one that I feel I struggle with the most is coming up with entirely new story ideas. And I still feel a tad confounded as to why the ideas don't just seem to flow.

Then I look at Tobie, whose primary job with Indigo consists of coming up with new game concepts day in and day out. And man, he can churn out 3-5 ideas within a day - or sometimes just within a few hours. And given all the different tabletop role-playing games that he runs, those are still even more story ideas that he just churns out on a regular basis. I swear, just considering the volume of his creative output on a weekly or even daily basis is truly impressive.

I think that's why I decided to jump into trying to run my own game with the on-going sessions for The Gossamer Order. But even there I'm feeling myself struggle with continuing the adventure for my players and truly knowing where I want things to go. I'm honestly afraid that I might just never get around to finishing the game's story. And thus it may become like many of my other stories that were begun but were never finished.

The prospects sort of scare me.

I'd like to think that there's still a creative part of my brain that's worth tapping for ideas. It's really just a question of training myself to exercise that part of my mind a lot more - or maybe even just figure out how to kick start it to come up with new ideas.

Or maybe I'm just not a truly "creative" person in that sense and I need to rethink this whole writing thing.


  1. I say just go for it love. Being creative is just a matter of throwing out ideas, and letting them develop in different ways. I've noticed I fail to tap into my creative mindset if I judge or critic things too quickly. So i just throw out whatever insanity I can think of, and leave the tapering and editing to later.

    Let the ideas flow. Write them out. Finish some. Leave most undone. That's fine. Just get used to trusting yourself to let the ideas come. You won't please everyone. So the least you can do is at least stop judging yourself and keeping yourself from exploring your own ideas.

    Write. Let it out.
    And watch them breed and inspire more.

    I believe in you love.
    You have it in you.

  2. Thank you love love for always being so supportive. I love you.

  3. I think the first question here is, "What do you mean by being creative?"

    If there's one thing I've learned about this whole writing things, it's this: Writers have different specializations.

    I've heard of brilliant wordsmiths who can't come up with "brilliant" plots. Conversely, there are the ingenious plotters who are just okay when stringing words together. The script doctors are great with story structure and line editing, but they falter when coming up with stories on their own.

    That thing they say about coming up with good ideas--the "what if" question--is true. At first I didn't get it, but I eventually did.

    But what happens after that becomes the challenge. What happens after the "what if" question?

    Press play. Let it go on autopilot. Be the gamemaster of your story by steering it, not controlling it. When you get stuck, press pause, throw in a monkey wrench, then press play again. What Tobie said is spot on--don't critic things too quickly.

    When pressing play, that's exactly what you'd want to do. Just play. :-)


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