Playing to My Strengths

I have a lot of moments in my life where I second guess the choices I’ve made and the things I’m pursuing. It’s kind of like having a creative existential crisis. I think a lot of artists get stuck asking themselves questions relating to these feelings. What kind of artist am I?  Am I good enough? Am I a real artist/writer/filmmaker? I’m kind of going through one of these moments right now.

I’ve spent about a year now concentrating my writing efforts on prose. I’ve written half of a novella, started pre-writing a novel, and written several flash fiction stories. It’s been fun, but through it all I think I’ve grown tired of it. This happens to me with a lot of things though. I’ll be very interested in something for a while then lose interest in it. I’m not sure if I’m just getting bored of this kind of writing because I’ve been doing so much of it or if it’s something I just honestly don’t enjoy anymore. Either way, I’m seriously considering setting it aside. Maybe just for a while, or maybe permanently.

This isn’t just one of those “I don’t think I’m good enough” inner critic moments. I’ve had those before. There are aspects of writing fiction that I have always struggled with. I’m not great at writing descriptions. That’s the big one. As hard as I try, I feel like any writing I do that requires a description of someone’s appearance, or of a setting falls short. I love the concepts I can come up with, I love my characters, but I have a lot of trouble describing the world they live in and how they interact with it. This is something that I think could get better with time, but I’ve been working on it for quite a while and it still feels like it’s not really improving. I also find myself reading writing advice blogs and seeing thousands of different little rules and pieces of advice to follow and it’s so hard to keep track of it all. I get really overwhelmed. The only time I feel like I’m having fun writing fiction is when I ignore most of the rules but then the end result is something I’m really not happy with. Even after I edit it and try to fix things up, I feel kind of bored and disappointed with what I’ve written. So, I think it’s time to accept that writing prose just might not be for me.

I want to be clear, though, that this isn’t me giving up on something. I loved writing short stories when I was younger, and writing them has been a ton of fun. I’ve had good experiences and learned a lot about storytelling and many other aspects of writing. Everything I’ve ever written has helped me learn more about my writing, my style, and my self. It’s just that this kind of writing, over time, never really became what I wanted it to be. I never got where I wanted to be, and I just don’t feel like I’m getting there. Maybe it’s because I’m impatient. Maybe it’s because, as I mentioned earlier, I get bored of things easily. Either way, I think it’s time to change things again.

This definitely isn’t the end of writing for me. I just want to concentrate on my strengths. The one thing I’ve always felt confident about is my ability to write dialogue. I’m not perfect at it, but it’s something I think I’ve gotten better at over the years. Which is why I’m going to concentrate on writing scripts for the foreseeable future. Over the years I’ve written five (ish) one act plays. I’ve entered two of them into contests and both of them have one. That’s not meant to be a brag, but I think in reinforces what I just said. Stageplays and screenplays consist mostly of dialogue. The description is at a minimum. When I write a play I get to tell a story that concentrates on conversation. I can move the story through people speaking. That’s obviously not the only thing that happens in a play, but I don’t need to worry much about describing settings and appearances. I can write a script while concentrating on my strongest writing skill, and improving it even more. I think I’m good and writing stories. I can develop characters and create interesting plots. It’s just that it’s tough for me to string those things together in a way that works in a piece of prose.

Now, this doesn’t mean the end of prose forever. I might write some flash fiction here and there. We’ll see if I grow tired of script writing within the next year. If that happens, I’m not sure what I’ll do.Unfortunately, I’m not going to be finishing Loki’s Gambit or Joanne. At least not for quite a while. Thanks to everyone who was reading those, by the way! And I’m still going to post updates like this and posts like my Marvel Comics piece from two weeks ago on this blog. But honestly, I feel kind of relieved at the moment. I allow myself to get really overwhelmed by taking on too many projects. If I dedicate myself to this one kind of writing, I will have less creative projects to worry about and less stress to deal with.  I think this is a good choice. It’s time for me to realize what I do best, and play to my strengths. I believe I’m a good writer and a good storyteller. I just need to find the style and voice that work best for me.

Thanks so much if you’ve read this rambling post. Thanks even more if you care about anything I say here! Weekly posts will keep happening regardless of changes. It honestly just feels nice to move forward, and try to do what I do best.

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