Today has been a little rough on me. Not in the country song verbiage, where the trucks leave and the dogs cheat and the wives break down on the side of the road. No, I’ve just run up against a general lack of interest in my funding campaign for Deus Hex Machina, and that resulted in a rather deep depression that didn’t leave me until a few hours ago.
This being the start of a new year, I have been endeavoring to write every day. For the most part, I’ve been working on the draft of DHM, and it’s gone along swimmingly. (If you’re interested in that book, you should read the first chapter here.) Tonight though, I was down in the dumps, and I’m still weighed down with that feeling of uselessness, so I don’t think I’d do Isidore any sort of justice if I forced myself to blather on.
Instead I thought I might take this opportunity to write a blog post. The trouble with writing a blog post without a topic is that it tends to ramble, especially when you run out of things to say. This same can be true for fiction. Sometimes you run out of words, run out of plot, and are stuck holding the proverbial bag wondering what to write next.
I guess you could call this writer’s block, although I’m quickly realizing there is no such thing. When I can’t write, it usually means I need to think about a problem, or there is something in my life that is keeping me from writing, as is the case tonight. In both situations my solution is the same: Consume media from outside your genre. Sometimes we just need to be inspired. We need to get excited about something. As writers we spend so much time in our worlds and in our niches that we forget that complexity can be found anywhere. We forget that we can learn from history, or movies, or TV shows or books written about completely foreign subjects. All of these things can provide the needed inspiration that will help you over your story writing obstacles. Or in my case, it will help you remember what you’re working towards.
I watched a movie tonight where all the characters were real, all the characters were authentic, all the characters were strange, and they all made sense. I want to create characters like this. I want people who act true to their natures, true to their flaws, even when those flaws will cost them dearly. This is what I learned watching a pulp action movie instead of forcing myself to write science fiction, and I think my science fiction will be better for it.
Now to figure out the problem of nobody wanting to read said science fiction. I’m definitely going to have to go outside my genre for the answer to this obstacle.