rockinlibrarian: (sherlock)
I'm sure I've mentioned that the reason I actually started WRITING stories as a child (instead of just playing make-believe-- I was plenty enough good at THAT sort of storytelling without any other prompting) was that I kept having awesome narrative dreams that needed to be written down and shared. In my teen years I actually came up with tons of stories that WEREN'T inspired by dreams, then in adulthood I mostly concentrated on rewriting old stuff in an attempt to make them publishable, then I had kids and lost control of my mental capacities.

Nowadays I never think of fictional story ideas during my waking hours. I'm just like, "I have no ideas. There's nothing I need to write about." Occasionally I think of things to BLOG about, and to be honest probably the only reason I allow myself this is that blogging is easier and it's so much more immediate than fiction.

Because my subconscious still ADORES writing fiction. I really do have epic, marvelously story-like dreams. I even work on revising and otherwise shaping the story to make it better while I'm dreaming it.

And then I wake up.

Anyway, here's what I dreamed last night. I was in a pet supply store. There was a sense of survivalism among the shoppers, and a couple of girls in front of me in line begging for leeway with their payments because they only had SOME of the money now but they couldn't wait because there's no time, "the DNA shift is messing everything up!" The "DNA Shift" was apparently affecting masses of people, changing their genetic makeup just enough to slightly alter the way they experienced the world. It had apparently happened to prepare humanity for a pending apocalypse. Only the shift affected everyone differently apparently depending on their moral values and choices, and only SOME of the shifting would actually result in survival, only nobody knew exactly how. And I was given a brochure about a holiday CALLED "Ramadan" but celebrated by Celtic Neo-Druids in early February and based on spring cleaning, both actual and symbolic-- and then I was in the midst of such a celebration, which was kind of fun and involved candy feather dusters and a video game about vacuuming up evil spirits. But they were still actually prepping for the pending apocalypse, and there was a gas that caused the DNA Shift that was incorporated into the celebrations, but because not everyone had been exposed to the gas/experienced the Shift yet, some powerful executives tried to exploit Celtic Ramadan to withhold the gas for only those they deemed Most Worthy (ie, those who had the money to pay), so now there was a whole thing about who could and who could not undergo the Shift, and rogues going out intentionally exposing people and other rogues going out trying to stop them, and... and...

I woke up. And immediately I think, "Gotta write this one!" and then almost immediately another part of me thinks, "It's TERRIGEN MIST, you were totally just stealing Terrigen Mist because you're a Marvel TV addict with no ideas of your own. And the fact that the survival-likelihood of your DNA shift is based on moral values has a weird religious tinge to it, what exactly are you trying to insinuate? And is Celtic Ramadan more offensive to Muslims or Neo-Druids? Why does your subconscious have to have such messed-up cultural appropriations? WHY CAN'T YOU GET ANY USEFUL STORY IDEAS?"

And THAT is why I can't write fiction with my conscious brain. BECAUSE IT WON'T SHUT UP AND LET ME.

Date: 2016-03-20 01:14 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] catarina niza (from
I have feels about this post and several others of yours, and I also can't write lately, fiction or otherwise, but I'd like to try really hard to write you a letter because just today I experienced something similar.

In my case - and this is hard to admit - I'm not the kind of person who Does The Thing (writing, painting, what have you) merely Out of Love, in a way it just gushes out of me, and it's just pleasurable to do and the hell to whether it's good or not, clichéd or not - what matters is the love and the enjoyment in Doing The Thing, it doesn't matter if it goes nowhere, yadda yadda yadda. Intrinsic Motivation, also known as Flow state. Nope.

No. I'm afraid of my own mediocrity. Everything I do must be amazing (yes, including politically correct) or I get seriously depressed/self-loathing. My standards for "acceptable" keep getting higher and higher as I slowly improve, which makes them unreachable, and me constantly feeling like shit about what I do. I can't enjoy writing a sentence, in pure fun, stream-of-consciousness-creative-writing-just-let-it-flow mode, because I keep thinking "this would never in a million years get past an editor #abyssofshame".

So I have a hard time actually enjoying the things I enjoy most (which makes me a great consumer but a terrible creator, and a person wrought with envy and amotivation). Fun times. But LEARN FROM ME! YOU'RE BETTER THAN THIS, AMY. I KNOW YOU ARE.

Date: 2016-03-20 01:28 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
:/ I relate to this. I also say, How am I better than this but you're not? YOUR inner critic needs to learn to shut up for awhile, too!


Date: 2016-03-21 01:55 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] catarina niza (from
Just yesterday I started a new painting and felt that amazing rush of paint to canvas again, but then the chippery in my brain began and I started getting lots of feels. That's when I realized... wow, this really IS great therapy. Because if it stirs the feels pot and makes me think about and confront things I wouldn't otherwise confront - along with it also being self-expression - it's therapy. And somehow realizing that made creating feel not necessarily less difficult, but a lot more important. At least one of the many voices - the "art is inconsequential, you're wasting money on trash, go do something of actual value etc" one - quieted down. And hey, one down is better than nothing.

From this point of view, one not of "I MUST DO THIS TO PERFECTION" but of "THIS MATTERS" I've even been disciplined enough to keep a diary - a very brief, "this was what I felt like today" diary, which now that I think of it, would have been unthinkable months ago. (And now I'm slightly scared I've jinxed it, but at the same time I remember since I'm doing it because it matters and not because I must, it's no crime to be too tired to write or just put in "don't know what to say. Just chilled today. It was good." Of course the wish to be special and amazing and published is still there, but since there's this other desire in the mix - the desire to get better - it helps.)

Maybe this is the right mindset to have while we work on embracing our averageness/perfectionism?
Edited Date: 2016-03-21 01:59 pm (UTC)

Kim Aippersbach here

Date: 2016-03-30 07:36 am (UTC)From: (Anonymous)
Forget the Terrigen Mist and the Celtic Ramadan (which—why the heck not? I can see a lot of cool possibilities in the Druid/Djinn pairing!)(also, spring cleaning by vacuuming up evil spirits is brilliant! (and fits in quite terrifyingly with a nightmare I once had about all the spiders I've vacuumed up still being alive inside the vacuum cleaner—shudder))—I want to know about the pet store. Why did they need the pets so badly? (Maybe you could write that scene and find out for me!)

You have to find ways to trick the Inner Critic into leaving you alone. One thing I do is write ideas down in a ratty old coil notebook. "These aren't serious ideas," I tell myself. "Don't worry, this isn't going to be the real story or anything; I'm just messing around. Nothing to see here, move along now." Or I tell myself that this novel doesn't matter: it's just part of the 10,000 hours I need to put in to master my craft. It's not like I'm going to publish it or anything.

And when nothing else works, remember that the Inner Critic is proof you're a real writer. Amateurs think everything they write is brilliant. ;)


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