Something that I’ve been struggling with lately is a huge creative dip. It’s probably because I’ve been down more than up over the last few months but when I look back I realise that it’s been coming a long time. Apart from Down Days, which is more of an outpouring of my thoughts and feelings than anything creative or crafted, there’s been very little work coming out of me. I have so many projects to be getting on with:
- The Adventures of Alan Shaw Vol 3
- Greaveburn 2
- A Cyberpunk novel
- Rewriting two old, terrible books from my early writing years
- A geek memoir-style book
- Scripts of Not Before Bed short stories for short film versions
- Script of a movie idea that I’ve had bouncing around for a while.
That’s a hell of a lot. Plus I have ideas for several other projects to come after that that are too numerous to mention. However, with all that to do, I can’t seem to get any of it done. Everything is at a total standstill. My brain just feels empty. Or perhaps I can’t focus properly. Either way, it’s frustrating as hell.
Then there’s the usual hurdle of not thinking that I’m any good even when I do write. I think this is pretty normal for creative types, at least on my z-list level (actually, I don’t think I’m on the official alphabetised list yet. I’m probably just a number determined by my amazon rating which is in the millions). Still, it doesn’t help. Everything I read is much more articulate, more imaginative. It feels like everything I’m doing has been done before and better.
This came to a head just last night when my lovely wife had bought me a copy of Matt Haig’s “Reasons to stay alive”. I’d never heard of it but the praise on the back cover included Stephen Fry and so I started to read it right away. Instead of making me feel better, I just felt ill. It’s brilliantly written, poignant and easy to read; everything that I hoped Down Days would be, and Haig even mentions things like poets in the first few chapters and describes the feeling of wanting to die so eloquently, so simply.
Basically, I started comparing myself to someone who obviously has more skill than myself, and I can’t help but think “why am I bothering?”. It’s all been done. Every story has been told and told better. I’m starting to think that I should just give up. Down Days is done now, and I won’t take it down, and I’ll probably keep writing this blog as I find it cathartic, but why am I bothering to fight against so many other people with better skills than myself, the millions of people who want to be writers, too, and the hundreds of publishers who only want work that is a safe bet, rather than the things that I’m trying to do. I feel like I’m sharing my soul through my books and…nothing.
Is it selfish to desire a little feedback? I don’t want the Rowling Millions (that she totally deserves for her excellent work), and I’m not expecting to be remembered in three hundred years in whatever version of the literary canon still exists; just a little sign is all I ask, something that says “keep going, you have something there” something that can make me feel less like I’m pouring my essence into a page that just eats and eats and eats.
Suffice to say, this author is in crisis right now. A turning point has been reached. I can either carry on the rugged cliff-side trail, clambering with bloody hands and feet, or leap off the cliff for a brief sensation of flying before hitting the bottom.
Thanks for reading.